CNET Tech Review
Steve Ballmer in Windows Phone heavenThis week on the CNET Tech Review: Windows Phone 7 handsets debuted and reviewed; Ina Fried sits down with Steve Ballmer; and how to download your Facebook data.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, Steve Ballmer shows off new Windows Phone 7 models, find things on Facebook that you would probably rather forget, Sony's internet TV is one screen worth watching, and an ASUS monitor that probably isn't. It's all coming up right now. Hi, everyone. I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech and offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of our Bottom Line, but let's start with the good. Way back in February, Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 7 series at Mobile World Congress 2010. Fast forward to October, and the new Zune-like handsets are finally ready for their debut. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer was on hand to personally unveil nine different models and our own Ina Fried sat down with him afterwards to talk about them. -I'm Ina Fried with CNET here in New York for the launch of Windows Phone 7 where Steve Ballmer is about to show off Microsoft's answer to the iPhone and Android and all the other smartphones that it hopes to compete against. -We think there's a lot of things that you'll see today that will help you understand how the Windows Phone is different, but I'd focus on two key themes--Always Delightful and Wonderfully Mine. We'll have nine phones available when the Windows Phone ships here in the United States in November. There's a range of phones here from LG, from Samsung, from HTC, and from Dell. -All Windows Phones, in fact, have at least a full gigahertz processor and has several other great standard features under the hood and we're thrilled to be launching the Samsung Focus on November 8th and the HTC Surround and the LG Quantum just a few weeks later. U-verse Mobile is an application we launched earlier this year to let our U-verse TV customers download and watch hit TV shows on their smartphones. Starting next month, we'll bring this capability to Windows Phone 7 customers and if you don't have AT&T U-verse TV, we're gonna let you do that nationwide for any Windows phone for a low monthly fee. -One of the key features for making the phone really wonderfully yours, really deeply personal, is being able to put the people that you care about right up there on your start experience in a live tile and these tiles are live because, as Steve updated his Facebook post, you can see, if he posts pictures, I'll see them right there. I don't have to go in and out of a whole lot of applications to see all these sorts of things. It's aggregated for me right on the home screen. As Steve said, we want the phone experience to be always delightful, whether you're using our software, third party software, or no matter which phone you buy. We're trying to make it easy for end users but also for developers. The Pictures Hub has automatically customized with pictures of my twins. You see my Xbox Live avatar. These games were developed using XNA which is a development framework that works both on the Xbox and on the phone. These phones are gonna be amazing game machines and with games developed that are happening on the Xbox platform as well, we think people will have a terrific experience. -Well there you have it. It's mostly what we expected but a few things that one should pay attention to--one, copy and paste coming in early 2011. Also, while the first models are gonna hit AT&T November 8th, some of the models for both AT&T and T-Mobile will be somewhat later than that and then, also, all the AT&T phones are gonna be priced at $199 for those with a new contract. -I'm Ina Fried with CNET here with Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft who just introduced Windows Phone. Steve, you've talked about how Windows Phone is a different kind of phone. What do you mean by that? -Different kind of phone in the sense that we think we can help people get in and out and back to life quickly. It all begins with the Start screen. We see the start screen really brings the set of activities and people and websites that are important to you right to the forefront of the user interface. It starts with being very personal. We have devices in various shapes and forms, keyboards, no keyboards, AMOLED screen, very durable devices, machines that are-- phones that are optimized with surround sound, Dolby sound, so you get a wide variety of choices and yet a consistent delightful user interface that's about you. -Do you guys feel there's an opportunity to have, it sounds like more variety than Apple but perhaps not as much variety and not as much fragmentation as in the Android world? -I think we currently have a lot more variety than Apple has. There's really one choice in the Apple world. Big screen, little screen, we got a lot of choices. I think the problem, if you don't have a minimum kind of standard, the brand means nothing to the user. Our brand means something to the user. It means something to the developer. It implies a certain level of consistency and high quality which I think is important for the Windows Phone. -What do you do on the phone? What are the things that matter the most to you that you're like I wanna do this when I'm using the phone and I don't really wanna do X, Y, or Z? -I do-- There are very little I won't do when I'm on my phone. I certainly do the typical e-mail messaging. I make phone calls, not surprisingly, a lot of them and I don't want those calls dropped. I, actually, kind of fairly active on Facebook. I'm kind of watching what's going on in that world. I do, in fact, travel a lot so the fact that I can kinda take my office with me is important and I can take some videos to watch and music to listen to. It's all great for me, actually, as a mobile person. -Are there things that you think we'll be doing on our phones a couple years from now that we don't do today that you guys wanna be positioned to do well in the future? -I think we're gonna see a continual evolution in the way these things interact. I mean, this will be a projector someday, hold it up or put it down on the kickstand and project. We'll be able to do more and more with sensors to capture images and, you see what we've done with Xbox Kinect. You can let your mind run wild on kind of what that might be in the context of the mobile device. I see a lot of opportunities. -Thanks a lot, Steve, I appreciate it. -Thank you. -For CNET, I'm Ina Fried. -You can find the rest of Ina's interview with Steve Ballmer over at CNETtv.com. But, okay, enough talking about Windows Phone 7. Let's see some phones. Here's Bonnie Cha with a look at some of the new handsets that are headed your way. -Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and we're here in New York for the Windows Phone 7 launch and, today, AT&T announced three phones that will be coming for the holiday season. All will cost $199.99 with a contract and the first one we have for a hands-on look is the HTC Surround. This is the first mobile device to have Dolby's surround sound and so just put down the screen and you've got a little speaker system. It also has a kickstand on the back so you can lay on a flat surface and watch video and listen to music as well. Other highlights of the Surround include 5-megapixel camera as well as video recording and, actually, all the AT&T phones will come with the AT&T U-verse mobile which is a video streaming service so that will be on all the Windows Phone 7 devices from AT&T. Overall, the design looks really nice, very solid in the hand. HTC has had a good history of making great designs so looks like the Surround follows that path so let's go check out the other two devices. Here we have the Samsung Focus. This is gonna be the first one to launch on November 8th. Like a lot of the Samsung Galaxy phones, this one has a four-inch Super AMOLED screen which is gonna be great for the Xbox experience as well as Zune and, again, the AT&T U-verse. Other highlights of the Focus include a 5-megapixel camera, 8 gigabytes of internal memory as well as an expansion slot so that's really nice to see. And finally, we have here the LG Quantum which is a little more business focused than the other smartphones. It has a slideout full QWERTY keyboard and it feels pretty nice to use so it'll be great for e-mail and messaging. Windows Phone 7 also offers a virtual keyboard which I found actually is pretty easy to use despite its looks. Other business highlights of Windows Phone 7 included Outlook integration as well as other e-mails protocol. It also has the Office Suite so you can view and edit Office documents such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. Just a quick rundown of some of the other design features. You've got the hardware buttons down here which are required in all Windows Phone 7 devices which is the back/previous button, the Start button, as well as search. You've got a little micro USB port here as well as a camera on the back and flash. Volume rocker and camera activation key and, just as a reminder, all three phones will be available from AT&T. The Samsung Focus will launch first on November 8th and the rest will follow the holiday season and they're all gonna be $199.99 with a two-year contract. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look of the Windows Phone 7 phones for AT&T. -Now, for all you iPhone folks who've been feeling burned by AT&T's service and are looking for another excuse to switch, maybe now is the time. Let's see what Bonnie has to say about these Windows phones for T-Mobile. -Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and we're here in New York for the Windows Phone 7 launch and, today, I've got the HTC HD7 which will be available through T-Mobile in November. This is a Windows Phone 7 device and it's actually got the biggest screen of all the Windows Phone 7 devices. It's 4.3 inches diagonally, so it will also have the largest virtual keyboard. Really beautiful screen here. T-Mobile's gonna take advantage of the screen and bundling some entertainment apps with it including Netflix as well as T-Mobile TV. It'll also have a family app where you can send out group messages and shared calendars as well. Design-wise, sort of like the Evo 4G, a very, very solid design. We've got the three shortcut buttons down here. On the back, you've got a 5-megapixel camera which HD video capture and it's got a kickstand which we always love. So the HD7 will be available in mid-November. Pricing has not been announced yet. In addition to the HD7, T-Mobile will be launching the Dell Venue Pro so we're gonna go take a hands-on look at that next. Alright, we're here with Dell. They will be bringing the Dell Venue Pro to T-Mobile for the holiday season and, Julie from Dell, can you give us a few highlights of the Dell Venue Pro for us? -I'd be happy to. So, as we said, this is the Dell Venue Pro. It will be available for holiday. What's unique about this phone, it is the only one with an integrated QWERTY keyboard but in portrait mode. A lot of the Microsoft operating system is optimized more for portrait like the start screen. Certain applications are in portrait only as well. But just some key features about the phone, like I said, it does have the integrated keyboard for those that like to actually have a physical keyboard. The portrait mode actually lets it be optimized for one-handed text messaging as well. It also has an on-screen keyboard if you prefer that. It has a 4.1-inch AMOLED display so you can see it's very vibrant. The resolution is great, the pixels per inch are good. It also, I don't know if you can tell here, but it's got a curvature to the lens which actually is more like an aesthetic. It has Gorilla Glass on it which makes it extra durable. It has a 5-megapixel camera on it and it does come with 8 gigabyte and we'll also be selling a 16-gigabyte version as well. -Alright, those are the two phones that will be available from T-Mobile this holiday season. The HTC HD7 will launch in mid-November and the Dell Venue Pro will be available some time for the holidays. I'm personally really excited about the Dell Venue Pro because of the form factor but we're looking forward to reviewing them both. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro for T-Mobile. -And if that's not enough Windows Phone 7 frenzy for you, head on over to cnettv.com for Bonnie's look at some handsets for the international market and Jessica Dolcourt's demo of some noteworthy apps. But don't go there yet because we still have a lot more Tech Review coming up including our first look at Sony's internet TV with Google TV built in. That's coming up in just a minute so stick around. And welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV. Continuing on in the good, we certainly kept our New York team busy this week. In addition to the Windows Phone 7 launch, we were also on hand for the premier of the Sony Internet TV with Google TV inside. Here's David Katzmaier with a decidedly thorough overview. -Hi, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET here with the Sony Internet TV with Google TV. It's the first product of its kind. It's a television that builds in Google TV service right into the TV so there's no need for any external settop box or anything like that to get you Google TV functionality. This is a standard edge lit TV with not too many bells and whistles. No 120 Hz or anything like that. The main feature on this thing is Google TV. Google TV, for the uninitiated, allows you to basically search internet video sources as well as your own TV sources from cable, settop, or antenna, right from the same search window so you can just go in, type in a search for a show title, up will come results from the internet, from the various TV services, as well as from your own cable or satellite, so it's the first of its kind to incorporate all of those sources into one easy-to-search window. The Sony TV comes with this remote here that's kind of a little handheld unit, little reminiscent of the PS3 controller. It's got a built-in QWERTY keyboard so you can type in whatever you wanted in the search results screen. It's also got what I consider a pretty cool little touch sensitive mouse that allows you to drive your cursor around on the screen and select items. There's also standard up/down/left/right arrows that allow you to select items a little more easily so, all things considered, it's a pretty slick remote, although it is a little bulkier than your standard TV remote and it will probably take a little bit of getting used to. The remote incorporates RF technology so you don't need line of sight between the remote and the television. The TV can also control your other devices including the cable box and a couple of other AV devices via IR blasters. It allows it to incorporate, for example, search results from the TV itself including an EPG. You don't get full integration, however, unless you hook up this thing to a dish DVR which allows you to search the DVR and also incorporate a couple of other control features including control over IP as opposed to infrared. The Sony NSX-GT1 series is available in four screen sizes. I'm with the 46-inch here. There's also a 40, a 32, and a little 24-incher. All of them have that LED edge-lit backlighting except for the 24 which is a standard CCFL display. Price points range from $599 for the 24 up to $1399 for the 46-inch so prices are actually pretty good and in line with a lot of the other well-featured HDTVs on the market today. Sony is also announcing a Blu-ray player at the $399 price point. It's the NSZ-GT1. It incorporates all of those Google TV features and, of course, it doesn't have a screen but it does have a built-in Blu-ray so you can get all of your Google TV goodness, including the remote, from a separate standalone Blu-ray player. That's for people who already own a TV and wanna get the Google TV experience. We'll walk through a couple of the features on Google TV. It does include Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Twitter, and a few other apps right out of the box. We expect more apps to come in the feature such as Facebook, but the real killer app with Google TV is its access to the internet so you can actually go out using its built-in Chrome browser and search a variety of internet video websites. For example, the comedycentral.com, pbs.org, and a lot of other places that have internet video that aren't easily available on a lot of the other internet-enabled TVs and Blu-ray players out there. One big missing link right now, however, is hulu.com. You cannot search the hulu.com website or play any of its videos right now on this device. We're expecting Google to announce compatibility with Hulu Plus in the future but they're still in talks at the moment. On the other hand, you do have Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, and the ability to search Sony's Curiosity VOD service. That's a proprietary feature of this TV. Sony also offers a few other content options familiar with its Bravia Internet Link service including Howcast, blip.tv, and a few other niche video websites so that's a content offering a step above the Logitech Revue which is the only other Google TV box on the market right now. One other big difference between the Sony and the Logitech box is the Sony, at the moment, does not allow you to stream video and audio over a DLNA connection so you can't use the Sony TV to go out and play streaming video directly over your home network. Speaking of apps, in 2011, Google says it will allow access for Google TV products to go out and use the Android market which has thousands of apps designed for smartphones. It will be interesting to see how those apps apply to the big screen but it is potentially unlimited content development for the Google TV products. That's a quick look at the Sony Internet TV with Google TV functionality. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET. -Wow. Yeah, that remote is definitely something to be reckoned with, but considering that the standalone Google TV box from Logitech is $300 by itself, $1399 for Sony's 46-inch model, not too shabby at all. Alright, but now, let's give some of our SF peeps some face time as we move along to the bad. When it comes to pronunciation, some tech companies have names or products that are open to interpretation. Nokia comes to mind. Nokia, Nokia, or OS10 versus OSX. The same goes for ASUS, but as Eric Franklin found out, having a funny sounding name is far from the biggest problem with this new monitor. -Hey, guys, this is Eric Franklin from CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the ASUS VE276Q. The ASUS looks fairly slight for a 27-incher with a thin profile compared to other monitors of its size. The ASUS' bezel is low to the desktop, making accessing its connection options kind of a hassle. Those connection options include one HDMI port, a DVI port, VGA, and DisplayPort. The display also includes an ambient light sensor, VESA wall support, and built-in speakers. Sounds from the speakers was adequate, although much too low even at max volume. The onscreen display includes several preset options as well as brightness, contrast, and sharpness options. Also, with a Night View Mode, you're given the option of adjusting the saturation and changing the skin tone from natural, yellowish, and reddish. Why this option is only available in night view mode is a mystery to us as it would have been useful in other presets. In movies, we noticed a green tint push but only when the monitor was seating next to the BenQ M2700HD which didn't have the same tint problem. The ASUS' theater preset was not as apt as the BenQ in displaying dark detail in dark scenes either. In games, we found the display to deliver a bright image with a good level of vibrancy. However, when directly compared with the BenQ, we, once again, did notice a slight green tint to the image. Again, we need to stress that this isn't something we'd likely notice if the two monitors weren't sitting right next to each other. The ASUS isn't a particularly bad monitor. It just doesn't offer enough in terms of performance and features to warrant a stronger recommendation. The biggest thing the Asus has going for it is its price. At $330, it's the lowest price of the recent 27 inchers we've reviewed and includes a useful assortment of connections and built-in speakers. Unfortunately, the speaker sound is muffled, there's a slight green tint to the image compared to the BenQ, and it has less connection options than the BenQ as well which cost only $20 more. Unless that $20 is a big deal for you, we recommend the BenQ M2700HD over the ASUS VE276Q thanks to its better performance and more numerous features. Once again, this is Eric Franklin and this has been the first look at the ASUS VE276Q. -For the record, if you ask ASUS, they'll tell you it's pronounced "azus." Either way, it sounds like it's a pass on the ASUS but be sure to check out Eric's review of the BenQ M2700HD which, although more expensive, sounds like a much better value. Alright, now, let's turn our attention to the Bottom Line. There's no denying that Facebook has changed the way we interact with people. We share our thoughts, our activities, we schedule events and then post photos and videos of the events afterwards, but if you've ever been curious to see everything you've ever posted to Facebook, or you just wanna back up items that only exist on the site, then check out this super handy tip from Josh Lowensohn. -Hey, I'm Josh Lowensohn with CNET.com and I'm going to show you how to use Facebook's new "Download Your Information" feature. It lets you grab an offline copy of everything you've ever sent to the social network including photos, videos, as well as your entire private message inbox and a list of events. To get started, log into Facebook and head to the Account button in the top right, then click on Account Settings. Near the bottom of the page, you'll see a Download Your Information setting, and click on Learn More. Here, you'll be asked to re-enter your Facebook password. If you're using a computer that you don't normally browse Facebook from, it will have you solve a CAPTCHA, too. The first time you ask for this information, Facebook needs a little bit of time to collect it for you. For us, this took about 10 minutes from hitting the Download button to when it was actually ready to download. Facebook then sends you an e-mail link when the download link is ready. What you end up with is a file that unzips with a folder. For us, this was 270 megabytes, but it can be much larger or much smaller depending on how much media you've uploaded. Included in the folder are subfolders for your photos and one for videos as well as something called index.html which you can click on to view an offline version of your profile. This includes everything that's ever been posted to your wall, photo and video pages, a full list of friends, every event you ever RSVP'ed to, and the entirety of your private message inbox. For both the message inbox and the wall, you get everything that's ever been posted on one long page. This can be a little hard to parse so if you feel like saving some time, use your browser's on-page search feature if it has one. Worth noting is that you'll get the original quality of the videos you uploaded even if they're in high-definition, but that's not the case for photos which are the same size as what you see on Facebook. This isn't a problem with photos you may have uploaded since Facebook added support for high-resolution shots, but it's something to keep in mind if you think you're going to get the originals back. Another thing to keep in mind is that there's a ton of personal information in this folder and while Facebook has gone to great lengths to keep the wrong people from downloading it, once you have it, it's a big unprotected jackpot of information. We recommended using the file level password protection that's built into your machine. For more information on that, check out our other how-tos. I'm Josh Lowensohn and this has been a quick how-to on using Facebook's information downloader. For more, check out CNET.com. -The Bottom Line this week, nice job, Facebook. For once. Finally a feature that's actually useful but doesn't expose your private info to prying eyes, until you forget to log out of your account and someone comes along and downloads your whole life. That couldn't happen, right? Could that happen? Okay, folks, it is time for me to go. Join us next week when we'll have our Apple's Back to the Mac event coverage. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETtv.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.