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Unboxing the Asus PadFone Infinity, Episode 44This week on Always On, we unbox the Asus PadFone Infinity, and the BlackBerry Q10 gets a day at the spa in our latest torture test. Plus, Molly Wood looks at the future of e-bikes and rides one up a really, really, steep San Francisco hill.
-I can do a lot of this. Open that up. Oh, oh, oh. -This week on Always On-- -Oh, oh. -Oh, how exciting. It's like a double unboxing of Infinity Station. Oh, it's helping. It's helping already. Oh my god, it's totally helping. This is amazing. Welcome to Always On, I'm Molly Wood. -And I'm Jeff Cannata. -And this is the show where we take a look at the tech that's part of your life. -And your future. -On this week show, we have the crazy PadFone Infinity from Asus. It turns your phone into a tablet. -Yeah. This is really cool. It's basically a 2-in-1 device. We're gonna unbox it so you can see for yourself. -Inside this pretty, big, exciting box is the Asus PadFone Infinity and I know that PadFone remains the most mockable name on Earth. But, they've actually made some en routes with this thing and the PadFone Infinity is the newest version of their convertible phone plus tablet. So, let's get to that. All right. Infinity. It's pretty impressive specs and it's pretty expensive, but may be a little, you know, prove worthy. Look, 2 separate boxes for 1 Transformer style device. Oh how exciting. It's like a double unboxing. Here's the Infinity Station, which is the tablet part. Infinity Station. Oh my gosh, where to begin. How about the phone? The phone is the guts of the whole thing and it is-- Wow! Look at this. It's going to be an interesting size 'cause it's a pretty big phone, but it's not very wide. It's not quite as phablety as I expected it to be, to be honest. Instead of Asus, they've actually gotten with PadFone branding here. But look at that nice, brushed aluminum back. That's kinda hot. Inside this box, we have the sort of expected charging brick, USB, micro USB, which I love for charging and some headphones. Anything else? Headphone changes and that is all. Let's what inside our Infinity station box. Running out of room here. Okay. So, here's the docking station. Really a lot of plastic in this packaging. Can I just take another minute and say that. So not quite the same brush aluminum that you can see the space here to dock it. And then other than that, it's a very, very iPad-looking tablet, but I fingerprinted up pretty much immediately, not very oleophobic screen there. Let's see here. Yes, slides right in. We already have a red dot. Turn it on. Hello? Anyone? Oh, there we go. This is kinda neat. I have to admit. If you really want a tablet or you wanna take it on the plane, it's kinda cool. All right, but let's run down the specs and see if those also impress. The Asus PadFone Infinity is made up of a 5-inch LTE smartphone that becomes a 10.1-inch tablet when it's docked into the Infinity Station. The phone part of the PadFone has a 1.7 gigahertz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad-core processor. Pretty impressive power there. Graphics are powered by an Adreno 320 GPU. It also has 2 gigs of RAM to help out that snappy performance. The phone runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2. The phone's display is a 5-inch Super IPS screen. It has an impressive 1920 x 1080 resolution delivering 441 pixels per inch. Basically, the screen looks good. It has a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera with an LED flash. Asus is talking up this camera. It apparently has lag-less shutter speeds and a dedicated image center for improving low light photos plus it has burst mode of up to 100 photos in a row while recording 1080p HD video. I have to try that out. The front-facing camera is no slouch either at a full 2 megapixels. Storage is also decent. The PadFone is available in either 32 gig or 64 gig models and it comes with 50 gigs of free cloud storage for 2 years. The phone has a 2400 milliamp hour battery so expect decent, if not awesome battery life. As for the tablet, the 10.1-inch display offers a pretty impressive 1920 x 1200 resolution. The tablet's front-facing camera is a disappointing 1 megapixel though if you're into tablet-based video chat. Other than that, there's a micro USB 2.0 port and that's about it. Luckily, since this is 2 devices in 1, the PadFone Infinity show supports a 5000 milliamp hours battery, which is so says can deliver 40 hours of 3G talktime on the PadFone as docked. But if you want to be a Transformer, you have to pay for it. The Infinity set cost at least $950. Ouch! Check out our full CNET hands on over at cnet.com. Now, the one thing that's really bombing me out about the PadFone Infinity phone 'cause I kinda one start using it today is that it's the first non-Apple phone to use nano sim. So, the regular micro simcard that you're using in your AT&T or T-Mobile phone is not gonna fit. They're gonna cut it down or take it to your carrier store and have them cut it down for you. So, I've been playing with the PadFone Infinity long enough to figure out how to change the language to English and get it all docked and I have to say I'm getting kind of a crush on it. I can kind of see it. I see the promise because I use my phone for everything and then I could just plug it in here and have a totally synchronize experience with at least according to Asus 64 hours of battery life. Now, it's possible that I'm just developing a crush on how pretty it is, but no, no. Of course then, I just remembered how it cost a thousand dollars. I'm probably out, but it's neat at half the price. Time for us to take a quick break. When we come back we take the BlackBerry Q10 to a tranquil setting for our torture test. -And we have the future of electric bikes, which is nice when you're trying to get up the hill. -Turns out. Yeah. Welcome back everybody. Now, we all know that BlackBerry is where CrackBerry came from, the idea that you cannot put your smartphone down no matter where you are. -That's right. And when you find yourself in strange locations with your phone, that sounds like a good place for a torture test. -Time for our torture test of the BlackBerry Q10. Today, I booked myself a spa appointment 'cause I was thinking the thing about the BlackBerry is its CrackBerry. You can't put it down no matter where you are. Let's see what happens. I'm Molly Wood. I'm checking in for my treatments. -Okay, great. So, we had them all checked in. -Massage time. I'm just gonna go ahead. Don't leave my phone right here because you never know when I make it an important email. Kind of a big deal. Okay. -So, this is the line, you see it? -Cool. Oh my gosh, that's most amazing. Oh no! Oh no. I got it all over the phone by accident. That can't be good. Sorry about that. Oh, thank you. -You're welcome. -This key seemed very greasy, but I'm just gonna real quick see if I can type anything. Reminder, do not drop oil on phone. Keyboards are nice. It's okay. They really need me to soak for a long time in these tubs, but luckily my phone is still okay from the oil so I can do-- Oh, it's slippery though. Oh, Oh. Oh, oh, oh. You know, I noticed already actually that the row of buttons, these ones are darker at the top, which I think may be from the oil. Now, the whole screen is gonna kinda dark and is-- Oh, I'm freakin' out. I can't say it's doing all right actually. It's freakin' out. I'm so relax right now. I hope my phone is okay, though. It's still a little slippery and oh-- It's not very silent or relaxing. Oh, that came off. There's a lot of oil in it. There's a lot of oil. Screen seems okay, though. You just want more? Uh huh. It's like, you know, it could happen. The corner is really decubitus. I'm learning. Oh. Oh. But you know what, no damage at all. All right. It can take like a minor drop, but let's be honest the oil in the bathwater are gonna kill it. We will dry it out and check back later. Time to check in on the BlackBerry Q10 and see how it handles today at the spa. I came away very relaxed in case you're wondering. It's been in a little dry bag here. All right. But we took it apart. Now, this is sometimes the thing that saves these things with the battery back in here. I'm gonna plug it in. Oh, we have red light. This could be good news for the BlackBerry. Let's see. Come on a little guy. You'll never call it yet. Let me just charge it for like a minute-- 1 minute. Okay, it's been charging for a minute or 2 and the light just sort of keeps coming on and then going off. I'm gonna give it one last try, but I don't have a good feeling. In the end, all that's left is the iconic BlackBerry red light and nothing more. I'm just saying, put your phone down at the spa. Now, you know for sure. -Well, at least you were relaxed at the spa, right? -Very true. -All right, moving on to future tech, I got to check out the future of bikes and that future is electric. -This might be the perfect bike for hilly San Francisco. -Oh yeah. -The number one selling electric vehicle in the world might come as a surprise to you. It's a bike. Electric bikes are a hot new cycling trend. You get the benefit of a little motor helping you uphills, but all the traffic-free health benefits of riding a bike. -This is amazing. We can try to keep up with what we have a little extra power. Not all e-bikes are created equal, but they all share similar tech. It has a motor, a battery, and a control system. The two main types of e-bikes are pedal-assist, which provides an electric boost to your own pedaling and power-on demand, which operates via a twist throttle kinda like a moped. Most are designed to go about 20 miles per hour and a good one can last 60 to 70 miles on a single charge. At San Francisco-based Faraday, they've created the Porteur which is a pedal-assist e-bike. The Faraday Posteur cost $3500. It has a 250-watt motor and a 195-watt hour battery. It has a range of 15 to 20 miles with pedal-assist riding and it weighs 39 pounds. -It's effortless. It just feels you're riding a bike, but if you decide you want that assist ride, you can switch it on into kind of a normal mode right there without [unk] measure how hard you're working and match that. And that's pretty awesome. -We will cruise along, kind of I'm gonna flash to you like this at 17 to 18 miles an hour. One of the really cool things you can turn it off completely and ride it like a regular bike. -Wow! I feel like I can't shift back and I have to keep up with that almost Wow. I feel like that girl. I feel like I'm gonna tell more on this bike. It's totally noticeable when it kicks on. -Oh yeah. -Like there's that 1, 2 paddles where you think I'm riding a bike. -And then it's there. And then the cool thing is that it's just goes fast. The faster you go-- -Yeah. -the faster it wants to go. -The more it-- I know. Oh, full power. -Full power. -Boost mode. This bike is so fun. -There are dozens of e-bike manufactures making bikes for millions of riders all over the world from Grace to Baroni to Hero Eco and the bikes range from Elegant Cruisers to this All-Terrain Monster called the Stealth Bomber. The Stealth Bomber cost $10,000 to $14,000 depending on the options. The motor is 4500 watts. The battery is a whopping 1500-watt hours and the range is 40 miles on a single charge. It weighs a surprising 116 pounds. -Tell me about the Stealth Bomber. What is this in the nutshell? -The Stealth Bomber is a kind of a hybrid between a motorcycle and a traditional bicycle. -Uh huh. -And what makes it more bicycle like 'cause it has a 9-speed sequential gearbox and what that does is basically gives you the ability to pedal it like a normal bike and gears 1 and 2 wherein the gear line, the top highest gear, the hardest gear to pedal, you can still pedal faster than a motor can go. So in all the way from 0 to 45, 55 miles an hour, you as a rider is still pedaling the bike, unlike a motorcycle where you just basically along for the ride. -All right, I wanna see you tear up on this. -Okay, I'll do my best. Of course, most people are not going to be riding the Stealth Bomber. If you're like me, you just wanna know if e-bikes can handle the hills. We visited the new wheel, which is an e-bike only shop in one of San Francisco hilliest neighborhood. They told me they had the perfect bike for going up one of the steepest hills around, the German made Kalkhoff. The Kalkhoff Tasman Tour C8 Premium cost $3399. The motor is 250 watts and the battery is 396-watt hours. -Its range is 40 to 70 miles and it weighs 55 pounds. -So, it senses how hard your pedaling-- -Uh huh. -which I've heard before, but it does more than that? -It does more. It also takes into account the cadence of your pedaling and the speed of the bike so that it has a more complete picture of how you're riding. So, you turn it on there and then you set a power level from low to high, but you can set it all the way to no assist, but no light eco, which is very, very low-- -Uh huh. -and then power which is gonna take you of absolutely anything quickly. -I can't like. I really like the sound of absolutely anything. So, I'm gonna start by attempting to ride a little way up this hill on a regular bike with no assistance just for, you know, purposes of comparison and pain to see how far I get. Okay. I'm on the lowest gear. Okay. Okay. Here I go. This is gonna be no problem. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Oh my god. Yup that hurt. Okay. I'm ready for electric. Now that we painfully determined that it's not a good idea to try that hill on a regular bike, let's try it on an electric bike. You'll pardon me if I'm slightly skeptical, but I'm willing to give it a go because I have assurances that this bike can handle any hill even this one. Oh. Oh, it's helping. It's helping already. Oh, I feel it's helping. Know what they say when you fell off you ride back on. Oh my god, it's really helping. This is amazing. Oh wooh, you guys. I own this hill. This bike is awesome. See, this is how you sell electric bikes in San Francisco. -E-bikes are a technology that your app has enthusiastically adapted as an eco-friendly alternative to cars. I can only hope the U.S. will catch up in the future. -I can so see why e-bikes are taken off in Europe. It is such a great feeling to get that little help. -I really wanna try one of these. It looks really fun. -Yeah, I really wanna buy one and I would love to know what you think about them. In the meantime, let's see what we have in this week's mail bag. -Our first email today comes from Aliah who writes, "Hi Molly and Jeff of Always On. I have a torture test idea. It actually happened to me. I was in my living room messing around on my Chromebook Pixel. My mom then told me to go do my laundry so I got up and drop my laptop on my clothes pile and went to put more clothes on to the pile. Long story short, my brand new Chromebook went through the washer and then the dryer. -Oh, what? -How would be does your laundry have to be do not notice some laptop on it? Now, shockingly enough, she writes it survived. How about that for a torture test idea? I really do have Always On and would love to be part of the mail bag. -I'm not-- -You are. -Yeah, I'm not gonna lie. You made it to the mail bag, but I am deeply skeptical. -Are you calling shenanigans on this one? -I am. -Oh. -I think I am. I mean, I'm not saying I don't wanna do a dramatic reenactment. -That would be wonderful. -But-- -But imagine that clinging in that dryer-- -[unk] -I do not hear that. -Yeah. -All right. Moving on, talking about upping the ante on the torture test ideas, "Hi Molly, my name is Meredith and I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. -Wooh. -Yeah, you can already tell what was going. Last winter, I lost my iPhone 4. I dropped it in the snow in November, which is the beginning of our ridiculously called weather. -Oh man. -In April, I received a call on my terrible replacement phone from someone who wanted to know if I had lost a white iPhone 4. -Wow! -A construction worker had found my phone in a piling snow that had started to melt. He plugged it in and it actually worked. -Oh my god. -As far as I can tell, the only thing that was affected was the speakers, which no longer work consistently. I feel like it's a small price to pay. You will have to torture test the iPhone 5 in 5 months of snow and some 50 below Fahrenheit weather. -Meanwhile, some fat Alaskan bear lost the phone and he'd been using for the last 5 months. -He'd been snuggling with it. Thought it was his baby. All right, keep the feedback coming on really any topic. You know, we love to hear from you. You can email us at Always On at cnet.com or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. And that is a wrap on Season 4, my favorite one so far. -Yeah. -And in fact coming up next week, we will have some of the best moments of the last season for you. -And many of you have been asking us to run down the most durable gadgets that we have ever tortured, we have that coming for you soon as well. -That's right. See you next time on Always On. -Thanks for watching. -Three, false. -Everybody is-- -Good save. You win. -Yeah. Pedaling without assistance, it's so nice-- -It really is. All right, let's move on to the hair brush. Damn it. Okay. All right.