Monthly Archives: December 2013

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition pumps impressive video

Depending on whom you ask, GoPro’s action cameras are the best available or they’re all marketing.

Regardless of where you fall — or if you’re still undecided — it’s impossible to ignore GoPro’s position in the category. The release of 2012′s Hero3 models seemed to propel them far in front of competitors and the 2013 Hero3+ models aim to keep them there.

The Hero3+ Black Edition is the top of the GoPro lineup, followed by the Hero3+ Silver Edition, and the Hero3 White Edition, with the White being the only one unchanged from 2012. (Oh, and despite the colorful names, the cameras are all silver and black with just the “3″ on front in the corresponding color.)

As the highest-end model, the Black Edition has the most shooting options including a Protune mode for high-bit-rate video with neutral color and 24 frames per second recording for professional video production, the highest resolution capabilities up to 4K at 15fps, and includes a Wi-Fi remote.

Compared to the Hero3, the Hero3+ has a lighter, smaller housing, longer battery life, faster Wi-Fi for use with the GoPro app, a SuperView mode for more immersive wide-angle video, an Auto Low-Light mode, and updated lens for sharper video.

Yes, at $ 399.99 it’s expens… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Vote for the Tech Car of the Year

As the end of the year closes in, the Car Tech staff takes a look back at the cars we have reviewed, challenged with the task of determining the best tech cars available. As the preliminary stage in coming up with the Tech Car of the Year for 2013, we picked out five nominees from a year’s worth of reviews. To qualify as a Tech Car of the Year nominee, we had to have given each car a full review, with plenty of drive time and exploration of cabin tech features.

One trend that stood out for us this year was autonomous driving. No production car currently allows fully autonomous driving, but many show driver assistance features leading in that direction. We also looked to connected tech in the cabin, a big consideration in previous years, and general excellence in cabin electronics. Drive systems, from the engine bay to transmission and suspension, also came under consideration.

Check out our list of nominees and editors’ comments, place a vote for your favorite, and discuss the cars in our comments section. Our CNET jury will place their votes, and we will announce the winner on December 18. We will also be announcing the Car Tech 10, ten other awards for notable achievements in the automotive space.


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Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Big Infiniti QX60 gets renamed, not redesigned

The 2014 QX70′s engine room offers no surprises. The midsize crossover is powered by Nissan/Infiniti’s 3.7-liter VQ-series V-6 engine; the same mill that makes an appearance in nearly every vehicle in the automaker’s lineup smaller than the QX80.

The power plant makes 325 horsepower in this incarnation, sending its 267 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed automatic transmission on the way to the automaker’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. This rear-biased AWD system defaults to 100 percent rear-wheel drive, but can direct up to 50 percent of available torque on demand to the front wheels when slip is detected on one of the rear wheels. Of course, the QX70 is also available standard with plain-vanilla rear-wheel drive, as well.

That the QX70′s all-wheel-drive system doesn’t feature any special off-road programming or settings and that its torque split is so rear-biased are both indicators that Infiniti wants you to keep this one on the tarmac. There is, however, a switch to activate a “Snow” driving mode on the center console, but this is a throttle control system for carefully creeping through slippery conditions without wheelspin, not a specific traction program.

The single-option seven-speed automatic transmission does have a few extra modes. There’s the standard drive program, a sport program, and manual gear selection. The VQ’s 325 horsepower so… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Automate your Android phone in the car with NFC, Bluetooth

Here's everything you'll need to automate your phone in the car.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

A few weeks ago, Garmin released a car kit that uses NFC to automatically launch the Navigon navigation app when a compatible smartphone is placed within its arms. Being an Android fan and a tinkerer at heart, my first thought was, “I could DIY something better than that,” and now I’m going to show you how.

You’ll need:

  • An NFC compatible Android phone. I’m using the LG Nexus 4, but check your specs to make sure that your personal handset is compatible with the technology.
  • An app that can receive instructions from NFC. I’m using Trigger — the app formerly known as NFC Task Launcher.
  • An NFC tag. You can find them for cheap online, but I’m going to be reusing an old transit pass. If you have one lying around, give it a try and you may save a few bucks.
  • Some sort of car cradle. I’ve got dozens of these lying around my desk, but any suction cup or adhesive mount tha… [Read more]

    Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Voxan debuts hulking electric motorcycle at Salon de la Moto

Voxan Motors debuted its massive Wattman battery-powered motorcycle at the Salon de la Moto in Paris. The 772-pound, 200-horsepower machine has a 12.8kWh battery. (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

PARIS — The usual suspects like Honda, Yamaha, and BMW were at the Salon de la Moto, but the motorcycle that really stood out was a massive all-electric machine called the Wattman from Voxan Motors.

The French company debuted the unusual machine here at the sprawling show dedicated to motorcycles, scooters, and off-road four-wheelers. Although bystanders gave it a lot of attention, don’t expect it to unseat any of the industry’s incumbent players: they’ll be built by hand, one at a time, for an “exclusive international clientele.”

For a full gallery of the machines at the show, check CNET’s photo gallery from the Salon de la Moto.

Salon de la Moto, Paris’ motorcycle show (pictures)

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Ford’s 2015 Mustang is lower, wider, faster, meaner, better

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Mustang and Ford is celebrating with a rebirth of the model, unveiling the biggest step forward the iconic pony car has seen in decades. A turbocharged, 2.3 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine joins the traditional V6 and V8 options, while the quarter-mile-friendly live rear axle is finally being deleted in favor of a proper, independent setup. The new car is lighter, lower, leaner and, we think, very nice to look at.

The 2015 car’s roofline sits 32mm lower, while the rear track is pushed out 70mm, 15mm at the front. It’s an incredibly muscular posture and the sculpted body is far more modern than the outgoing fifth-generation, which now looks a bit clumsy by comparison. This new sixth-gen still has the retro flair that a Mustang buyer will want — long hood, tri-bar tail lamps, analogue dials on the dashboard — while still looking quite progressive.

2015 Ford Mustang

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Volvo to unload 100 self-driving cars onto city streets

Volvo plans to bring 100 self-driving cars to Sweden's roads.

(Credit: Volvo Car Group)

While Google’s self-driving car has garnered most of the headlines, a handful of car companies are also working on their own renditions of autonomous vehicles. Volvo is one of the latest car manufacturers to join this list.

The Swedish-based company announced Monday that it has launched a pilot project dubbed “Drive Me — Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility,” which will bring 100 self-driving Volvo cars onto city streets. The project will take place on about 50 kilometers of busy roads in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

“Our aim is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe ‘harbor’ if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control,” Volvo technical specialist Erik Coelingh said in a statement. “Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users.”

Volvo’s goal for “Drive Me” is to ta… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

The Jaguar C-X75 is too much for its time

Jaguar’s C-X75 : XCAR drives the Hybrid Hypercar that never was

Picture the scene: it’s the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the new Bentley Continental GT has been launched; Lotus has announced a stupidly overambitious all-new, five-car lineup; Renault has revealed a concept Zoe EV. It was all good stuff, but nothing that would light your face on fire. Until you got to the Jaguar stand. You see, Jaguar had brought the C-X75 — a concept hypercar that had an all-electric drivetrain and jets to provide the electricity. JETS.

Jaguar said it was going to make it and was set to reenter the supercar market for the first time since the XJ220. The C-X75 looked unlike anything else around and the world wanted Jaguar to make it a reality. It wanted Jaguar to win.

Fast forward a little while and the C-X75 is in development. Gone are the jets and two of the electric motors. Jaguar had teamed up with Williams F1 to develop the car, ensuring the tech inside it would be top notch. Sitting over its spine is a 500 bhp 1.6-litre turbo and supercharged four-cylinder engine, as well as two electric motors which put out just shy of 200 bhp each. That means there’s nearly 900 bhp to play with.

The brief for the C-X75 was pretty complicated. It had to have the same emissions as a Toyota Prius (89g/km), the same electric cruising range as a Chevy Volt (40 miles), Veyron-esque performance, and the same look… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET