CNET Tech Review
Will the Xoom make you unfriend your iPad?This week on the CNET Tech Review: the Motorola Xoom goes on sale with a hefty price tag; protecting your privacy on public Wi-Fi; the Top 5 reasons people don't "like" you; and it's iPhone vs. iPhone in this week's Prizefight.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review. The Motorola Xoom and gives iPad phone something to think about. Find out how to surf safely on public Wi-Fi. Did you get unfriended on Facebook. Odds are, it's not me, it's you, and hot iPhone on iPhone action on this week's Prize Fight. 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 the tech plus offer our unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start with the good. Today, we've got a couple of new products that could make your mobile computing life a little bit easier. First up on Motorola Xoom, our CES best in show award winner for 2011. That hit shelf this week and we got on our hot little hand, cannot live to the height, and after that a new Sony Viao with the AMD fusion platform built in, CPU and GPU all in 1 chip processor at a price. -Hey! I'm Donald Bell, and today, we're taking a first look, an official first look at the Motorola Xoom. This is an Android-based tablet with a 10.1-inch screen, 32 gigabytes of storage and a price tag of $800 off contract or $600 with a 2-year commitment from Verizon. It's about the same size as the original iPad, although it has more of a wide screen dimension, and the bezel around the screen isn't as wide. It's definitely heavier than the iPad which sounds like a small complaint. The tablet is not some thing you spend a lot of time holding. On the bottom, you have connections for micro-USB and micro-HDMI though you'll need a dock if you wanna get video out from this thing. On the top, you have a headphone out and a door that covers up the microSD memory card slot for additional storage and a 4G SIM card slot for the 4G support that's coming later this year. There is volume control on the left side, and on the back, you get a 5-megapixel camera and flash and a pair of stereo speakers. You'll also see the power buttons over here on the back. Now, it's a little weird to have the speakers blasting out away from you, but it's nice that you don't actually run the risk of covering them up with your hands. You also get 2-megapixel camera on the front that works with video chat apps like Google Talk. One of the biggest differences between the Xoom and all the Android tablets we reviewed in 2010 is the lack of tactile navigation buttons on the home screen. This is a good thing. Controls your back, search, and menu have all moved on to the touchscreen thanks to the latest version of Android made specifically for tablets. Verizon and Motorola are the first to have Android 3.0 and is a big part of why this tablet is so special. You get all the stuff that makes the Android great. There's full support for Android market, official Google apps for Gmail, Maps, GPS navigation, and calendar. A lot has changed though, the browser has this tab interface that works more like a desktop browser than a smartphone. You get this nice big keyboard. Notifications and settings are down here on the bottom, and generally, all the included apps have been overhauled for the larger screen of the tablet. So now the big question, is this thing a real competitor to the iPad. For my perspective, there is no doubt. It's fast. It's pretty and you can see that a lot of that went in to the execution. It's not cheap though. And with so many tablet options coming out this year, I stay away from contracts like the plague. Verizon and Motorola have the lock on Android 3.0 for now, but the many eager contenders are on the horizon. So that's the Motorola Xoom from Verizon. For cnet.com I'm Donald Bell. -Hey there, I'm Dan Ackerman, and we are taking a look at the new Sony VAIO YB. Why is this worthwhile Sony product? Take a look at because it's one of the first laptop that we've seen with AMD new fusion platform. That's a combination of a CPU and a GPU graphics chip together built into the laptop, so you don't have to get a CPU and then separate dedicated video card to get this an HD video playback or basic gaming. We've seen a few other AMD fusion laptops usually in this 11-inch size HPs Pavilion DM1 is very notable one. This is the Sony version, so looks little nicer, also cost a little more. You get essentially the same performance out of this guy as you would on of that HP DM1, which we also like a lot, but the HP 450 bucks; this guy is 599. For that, you will get a little bit more RAM; that's 4G in this model, larger hard drive, 500GB hard drive in there, but you really think for build quality which is excellent and of course the design, the Sony always has great design. I like their island-style keyboard a lot. A couple of the keys do get short change, however. Take a look the shift button over here on the right side is very tiny. The tab is also little bit small, made touch typing a little bit difficult. I like the large touch pad with a separate button, but you know the 2-finger scrolling gestures that every laptop has now seems really want on this side a really hard time going up and down along with pages and documents. The screen is 11.6 inches, 1366 x 768 resolution, that's what you're gonna find pretty much every laptop between 11 even all the way up to 15 inches these days. That's fairly standard, and of course, you get some of the extras you'd expect to find on a slightly pricier ultra portable like this like Bluetooth and getting HDMI output. Of course, being a Sony laptop, designed to SD card slot. You'll get a memory stick slot just in care you're one of those guys using a memory stick If you wanna save a little bit of money, you could definitely get an AMD Fusion system for about 100 to 150 dollars just like that HP DM1 we mentioned a couple of times. This guy is a little bit pricier, but certainly looks nicer. You get some hard drive space. I'm Dan Ackerman. That is the Sony VAIO YB. -Well, sure you could spend less, but would still get pink. I do like the pink. Now, whether it's a laptop or tablet, if you're planning on taking your portable computer out of your house any time soon, you would do well to listen to these tips from Sharon Bachman. She is helping you protect yourself when you're using public Wi-Fi. -If you're using Wi-Fi at places like Starbucks or your local bookstore and go about your normal computer activity, it's time for a serious wake up call. Hackers, even amateur ones, are sitting around waiting for Wi-Fi happy people like you to connect to these unsecured networks and reveal their personal lives. I'm Sharon Vaknin with a how to on safely using public Wi-Fi hotspots. The first thing you should be aware of is that if a hotspot doesn't require a password, it's not secured. Don't be fooled. If a hotspot does ask for a password or guides you through a log in screen, you're still not secured. Here are a few things you should always do when connecting to a public network. Check to see that your firewall is enabled. It's like locking your own house. Windows and Mac both have built-in firewalls that are enabled by default, but here's one thing to modify: make it block all incoming connections. You can do this by going to your computer's security settings. Now, you should also disable file sharing, which allows people on your network to access shared files and folders. When you connect to a network for the first time in Windows, your computer will ask you what type of network it is or where you're connecting. Be sure to select public. This will automatically turn off file sharing for that network. If you're on a Mac, go to your sharing preferences and un-check those services. With these settings in place, you're already much safer, but there's always room for more security. I suggest installing a browser add-on called LastPass. It'll secure your passwords by storing them in the cloud instead of on your computer, where they're in plain sight for hackers LastPass will also defend you from keyloggers, which record everything you type. HTTPS Everywhere is another great browser add-on that will force websites to give you a secured connection, so any activity will be confidential to you and the website. And if you're really paranoid, you can surf the hotspot through a VPN, or a virtual private network, which will make you complete invisible. SecurityKISS and Hotspot Shield are a couple of free VPNs. If you take these precautions, you're in good shape, but you still need to get in to the habit of doing things like checking the network name. Hackers will often setup fake networks like Free Starbucks Wi-Fi or Free Public Wi-Fi to lure you in. Check with an employee to confirm the name. And here's my last piece of advice: treat all open networks as a security risk. Don't do any banking, online shopping, or any activity that could potentially expose your personal information. If you wouldn't do it with a stranger looking over your shoulder, it can wait until you get home. For CNET.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin, and I'll see you on the intrawebs. -Of course, none of these tips are gonna stop you from getting crumbs from your stone inside your laptop's keyboard. If that's a problem for you, maybe a tablet like the Xoom as a better way to go. Okay folks, I know we brought it up last week, but it is still tax time. If you haven't done them yet, it's time to get organized. Luckily, our own jasmine friend is here to get you organized and ready to go with the best tax prep software in website out there. - We hate to be the bearer of bad news but it's that time of year again--tax season, and it literally makes me sick. As simple as it might be, filing your taxes is unavoidable. The good news is that with the plethora of online and desktop tax prep solutions, most of you can avoid hiring an accountant. Even better, every web-based program offers a free federal e-file if your tax needs are simple. I'm Jasmine France, senior associate editor for CNET.com and I'm here to give you an overview of the variety of software options available for the 2010 tax season. More specifically, we're going to go over the 4 best-known solutions, TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxACT, and CompleteTax, and figure out which one is right for you. So let's start with the option that seems the most budget friendly on the surface, CompleteTax. This service offers 3 ways for you to file completely for free--one, if you lost your job over the past year; two, if you end up owing money, and, three, if you successfully import your 2009 return from one of the competitors. However, if you don't meet one of these criteria, TaxACT is actually the cheapest offering, plus CompleteTax has the most date interface of the bunch and it doesn't provide much in the way of tax term description or general help. Most users on a budget will be best served by TaxACT which has the lowest overall pricing, especially in terms of state filing. Whereas the competition charges about $30 for state, TaxACT only charges between $8 to $15. TaxACT provides a clearer interview process and now provides audit support for the 2010 tax season. It also offers a handy tool called Answer Center where you can find help for specific questions, access various calculators, and view tax-related documents. TaxACT doesn't offer as much hand holding as TurboTax or as much personalized care as H&R Block but it should be the top consideration if you have a solid understanding of your tax needs and don't anticipate any major issues with your filing. Of the 4 options, H&R Block provided the most enjoyable interview process with plenty of visual cues and clear explanation of tax terms. H&R Block also offers the most generous customer support including one free tax topic discussion with an expert. If you want professional help without the expense of a full-on accountant, H&R Block is the choice for you. Finally, we come to TurboTax which can be the priciest option depending on your needs. TurboTax offers a slick interface with lots of links and descriptions for various tax terms. In fact, the interview process is overly detailed in places so TurboTax may be an annoyance if you want to fly through your filing. However, TurboTax lets you import practically everything, from last year's return to W-2s to investment information to quick end data, plus the service paired up with mint.com this year so if you use Mint, TurboTax can automatically import interest income, and if you only need to file a 1040EZ, their SnapTax, a mobile app that lets you simply take a photo of your W-2. In other words, if you hate data entry, TurboTax is the solution for you. So there you have it, tax prep for 2010. It's a lot of information to take in, I know, so here's the breakdown. Consider CompleteTax only if you fulfill one of the free filing requirements and would otherwise be comfortable filing by hand. Log on to TaxACT for an inexpensive experience that lets you fly through the tax filing process. Check out H&R Block if you're after personal attention and a user friendly interface, and get on board with TurboTax if you're a mint.com user who hates data entry. If you want more detailed information on any of these options, head to download.com to check out our full reviews. I'm Jasmine France for CNET. -Speaking of Jasmine France for CNET. I'm sorry to report that Jasmine is moving on to greener pastures with thrilled for her, but I'm sorry, she had to go out on a tax prep video. I love babe. And with outlets, thank you for Greg to work on our good luck Jasmine greeting card, but we'll right back with more Tech review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech review, our weekly video digest of all things, good and bad, we have seen here at CNET TV. It's time to check in and see what's going on in the bad. Now, it's not often your hear a 27-inch monitor compared to Ross Perot, but I let the incomparable, Eric Franklin, explain just to make sure you cover your eyes, and after that Brian Cooley is here with a very helpful top 5 that will hopefully help you remain popular on Facebook. It's the top 5 reasons that people unfriend people. - Let's say you're in the market for an affordable new car. Within the range of prices you're looking at, there's most expensive model that also offers the most bells and whistles. There's a cheaper option that skimps on a few features and then maybe there's this weird third option that hits in the middle of those two in price, but offers the least in features. You know, the option, no wonder the right mind would actually choose. Hi, I'm Eric Franklin from CNET and the Samsung SyncMaster P2770FH is the weird third option for monitors, not cars. Now, saying that no one in the right mind would actually choose the FH maybe a bit hyperbolic, but compared to both the lower price Asus VE276Q and Samsung's own more expensive P2770HD, the FH just doesn't offer enough for its price, but I'm getting ahead of myself. To be fair, let's see what the FH does offer. The FH is a 27H monitor, so right off the batch that's more screen real estate than some smaller monitors for the same price, a definite win for the FH. Also, it includes both swivel and tilt HDMI and DVI connections. Not to mention, both optical audio and analog audio out ports. Also, the OSD offers a lot in terms of options including individual color controls and 7 different presets. Lastly, it's well pretty. I mean, it's a design we've seen several times before from Samsung, but it still holds up. Now, all this probably sounds great. That's just me leading you to the twists lackluster performance. Specifically, the FH's proclivity to fire green gamma rays directly into my eyes is making me more and more angry. Even though, I've told the monitor over and over again, it wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Yes, the FH has a green push, which means there's an over abundance of green on the screen for most of the time. This would all be forgivable if there won't clearly better options like the aforementioned Asus and the P2770HD available. Not that their performance is much better, but from a total package standpoint, they do offer more. We were able to diminish that green effect by adjusting the color controls, but at the end of the day the FH couldn't measure up to a reference monitor, the Samsung PX2370. Meaning, that among $300 to $350 of 27-inch monitors, the FH is a third choice. It's like the Ross Perot of monitors, which you know, all things considered isn't the worst thing in the world. Once again, I'm Eric Franklin and this has been a first look at the Samsung SyncMaster P2770FH. -Used to be you unloaded a friend by gradually not hanging with them. They got the message. Now, you unfriend on Facebook ? and in an instant they can?t access you wall, see your embarrassing picture or read name posts. You showed them! I'm Brian Cooley with top 5 reasons people unfriend people on Facebook. This list is drawn largely from research done by University of Colorado Denver doctoral Student, Chris Sibona, who surveyed 1,500 Facebook users in 2010 to find out why they do the dirt of the 21st century saying goodbye on Facebowok. Number 5: It's actually nothing you do on Facebook at all. Sibona found that 57% of unfriendings happen because of something that happens in the real world. How quaint. Number 4 I'm going toss out a jump ball here. I think it's because of Facebook pullback. As we use Facebook more and more, I hear from a lot of people who are using it less and less. It's because they come to the intersection of the novelty wearing a bit thin and they realized how much about themselves they are exposing, and in the process of taking that back, they whittle down their friends list to, well, actual friends. Number 3, racist or vulgar posts. This is kind of no brainier. We've all got those morons in our crowd who go there and then there you are with their mortifying utterances on your wall where all your enlightened friends can see you also hang out the losers. Number 2, posts about politics and religion. Social networks do not change one of the great truths of human relations that is lay off politics, God and gun control if you want the party to stay polite. Before I get to our number one reason people unfriend people on Facebook. Note that unfriend is Hillvile in English. It's a real world. In fact it was Word of the Year in 2009 as named buy the new Oxford American Dictionary, which said, it has both currency and potential longevity, and its just a handy great. Okay, the number one reason that people unfriend people on face is persistent inane posts! No kidding. Farmville updates alone are enough to inspire genocide. Please, people, post something you think the rest of us at least might care about, not another day another on golden egg. For more Top 5's like this head on over to Top5.cnet.com. I am Brian Cooley, thanks for watching. -Amenity is such a subjective thing though, really? I mean you guys care about my split ends, don't you? I have beholder? No? Well, at least it's not Farmville. Alright, let's go ahead and check out this week's bottom line. Coke versus Pepsi, Play Station versus Xbox, Jacob versus Edward. Some debates will just never have a clear winner, but when it comes to which iPhone is better, Verizon or AT&T, there can be only one true victor. Let's finally put this debate to bed and in an iPhone Prize Fight for the ages. What's up Prize Fight fans, I'm Brian Tong, and this is a Prize Fight that you the people have been asking for. It's Prize fight punch out between the Verizon iPhone 4 and the AT&T iPhone 4. Our judges for this are senior associate editor, Nicole "ice cold" Lee, senior associate editor Jessica "Duke It Out" Dolcourt, and myself. Brian "Landing" Tong. Now, we'll take all 3 judges scores an average them out to the nearest tenth each round. The final prize fight score winner average of all rounds using the same decimal system. We are not going to go over every single feature because the phones are so similar, but instead, we'll focus on the differences. It's a 5-round throw down show down. Round 1 is design. The iPhone 4 is still the sexiest-looking phone on the planet with its clean design and sharper than sharp red in display. The AT&T phone was notorious for its intended design, so the Verizon iPhone changed the location of the scenes of if you squeeze hard enough, you will still have similar problems even if it's been way overblown. We're calling this round even at 4.7. Next round is control and user interface. We can say it any more than we already have. The iPhone is the easiest mobile OSD used, swiping, double tapping, engine zooming, it's all here and it just makes sense. Now, when my one 1-1/2-year-old nephew can navigate the apps in you tube, you know it's a good thing. Round 2 ends up in another tie with a perfect 5 from all of our judges. After averaging 2 rounds, we're even at 4.9. Next round is feature. Finally, a round where there is differences to compare. The Verizon iPhone gives you the personal hotspot feature, which leaves the phone act as a wireless monochrome [unk] devices for 20 dollars a months and early adaptors will get access to their unlimited data plan. The AT&T iPhone 4 is expected to ge the hotspot in the future, but its main differentiator is the ability to use voice and data simultaneously, something that current Verizon iPhone can't do, then there's a calling limitation on the Verizon iPhone. You can only comments followed up to 2 other people while AT&T goes up to 5 of your best friends in the whole wide world and other Verizon [unk] is that you aren't able to place a call on hold between 2 people. Plus AT&T is a GSM phone, which is more friendly internationally compared to CDMA phones that have limited use overseas. AT&T takes this round with a 4.7, and Verizon get a 4. Next round is web browsing multimedia. Whether it's Verizon or AT&T, the iPhone 4 still hands down the best multimedia experience on a phone with its topnotch media player in interface. Movies look amazing on its screen and iTune store gives you access to both loads of content you wound find anywhere else. Then the Safari browser is still one of the best mobile browsers even without flash support. It's another tie and a perfect 5 for both phones. So, after averaging 4 rounds, the AT&T iPhone 4 leads by 2 tents of point, but the final round that decides it all is all for the app performance. We've tested both phones in a variety of locations in San Francisco and outside of the City. One is clear, the Verizon iPhone is better in making phone calls and experiences less drop calls. Concall is pretty solid and very clear for both phones when you have a solid signal, but one area where AT&T has the advantage is with the data speed. Now, in San Francisco, Verizon had vested AT&T in some case, but in many other areas around the country, it's clear that AT&T DDS reach are faster and in some cases even twice as fast. We know what's that most important part about a phone is the fact that it makes phone calls. In the final round, the Verizon iPhone gets a perfect 5 and the AT&T iPhone gets a 3.3. So, to average out all 5 rounds and then in epic battle where we were tied 3 times, AT&T wins around 5 with a lead, but Verizon came back strong with a perfect score taking this battle 4.7 to 4.5 and is your Prize Fight winner. You can almost call this a win-win since the iPhone is now both carriers, but the decision isn't really clear. If you have sole AT&T coverage, you're a heavy data user that cares about speed and you travel internationally, there's no need to switch, but if you want call reliability, unlimited data and a wireless hotspot, then the verizon iPhone is for you. I'm Brian Tong, thanks for watching. I will catch you guys next time on the other Prize Fight. -The bottom line this week and the winner is Apple. They are still something on the kind of iPhones no matter what carrier they are on, and with that, I promise, we'll never mention the iPhone 4 again. Oh, am I kidding? You guys keep watching the video. We're gonna keep on making them. And that's is our show for this week, would never fear, will be back next week with a brand new CNET Tech Review. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNET TV.com. See you next time everyone and thank you for watching.