We reviewed the BMW M3 Coupe with a manual transmission and the full load of cabin tech back in April, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to test out another one, this time the 2008 BMW M3 Convertible with the new double-clutch transmission. Although our convertible M3 lacked the cabin tech options, not even having the programmable M button on the steering wheel, it still proved a remarkable car to drive with all the performance capabilities of the loaded version. And we didn't think it possible to improve on the M3's performance, but the double-clutch transmission … Read more
Except for its price, the 2008 BMW 128i Convertible may be the least BMW-like car from the automaker. Oh, it does have all the cutting-edge tech found in BMW's other models, including a pop-up LCD that is surprisingly immune to glare. But where its turbo-charged brother, the 135i, feels glued to the road, the 128i Convertible's wheels seem to stretch away from the car in the corners. And where the 135i leaps forward with smooth and hard acceleration, the 128i Convertible's power delivery feels uneven.
Maybe we've been driving too many very nice cars lately, but the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL550 didn't excite us much when it arrived in the garage. It's hard to follow acts like the Maserati GranTurismo and the BMW M6, and we tend to like shorter, more nimble sports cars. But the SL550 won us over with its handling on winding mountain roads and its striking looks with the sun blazing overhead and a nice ocean-scape in the background.
We were also prepared to be disappointed in the car's cabin electronics when we saw the old-style Mercedes-Benz interface, … Read more
The simple, blank faceplate of the JVC El Kameleon KD-AVX44 belies a plethora of features, including in-dash DVD/DivX playback, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB digital-audio playback, and that's just the beginning of this receiver's abilities.
All signs point to a new crop of iPods in September, and while I'm as interested in the rumors and blurry "leaked" photos as the next fanboy, I'm also preparing myself for disappointment. Deep down, I know there are iPod features that will never see the light of day. Sure, Apple always trots out a few iPod-related surprises like iTunes movie rentals and Cover Flow, but I've all but given up on the following innovations.
1. Subscription music
Since most people wearing Bluetooth headsets already look like they're talking to themselves, it won't seem that much odder when they start talking to their actual headsets.
They'll now be able to do that (and get something out of it) with BlueAnt Wireless' new V1. The device, which the company calls the first voice-controlled Bluetooth headset, lets users sidestep the buttons and instead control functionality with phrases like "pair me," "call home," "call favorite," "call Goog-411," and "accept or ignore call."
But this is no passive Bluetooth … Read more
Q: I'm curious as to whether Bluetooth headsets also emit radiation, which could prove harmful to one's health. What can you tell me about this? - Craig
A: Bluetooth headsets do emit radiation, but they do it at a much lower power than a cell phone. In fact, it's so low that it's almost negligible. Keep in mind that while cell phones need to connect to a tower that could be a couple of miles away, a headset has an effective range of just 30 feet. However, if the prospect of Bluetooth radiation really worries you, … Read more
Apple event for September 9 http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/08/25/rumor-apple-event-for-september-9th
Network notary system thwarts man-in-the-middle attacks http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080826-network-notary-system-thwarts-man-in-the-middle-attacks.html http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/New-Firefox-Extension-Thwarts-MITM-Attacks-97239… Read more
After spending time with the top-of-the-line 2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring, we found much that we liked; however, we also found almost every positive thing we had to say about the SUV came with a caveat.
Inside, the CX-9's leather seats and ambient lighting give the appearance of luxury, but the materials feel cheap compared with a true luxury vehicle. The spec sheet touts an impressive amount of cabin tech, but the components don't work well together, creating a confusing experience. Overall, we formed a positive impression of the CX-9, but the vehicle lacks the final bit of … Read more
Today, at 11 a.m. PT, you'll be able to ask me any question you like about Bluetooth headsets, cell phone accessories, and more in our Ask the Editors Live forum. Come on by!