By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:24 | Categorized As | With 8 comments
Along with Beeker and Fozzie Bear, Animal ranks among my favorite Muppets characters. So it's great not only to see him starring in his own iPhone game, but to report that the game's a blast.
At first blush, The Muppets Animal Drummer from Disney looks like something out of Rock Band: you've got five drums that light up and change colors (and occasionally catch fire); combo bonuses and power-ups that appear as you progress; and Animal himself (itself?) banging away center-stage.

A little bit Rock Band, a little bit Simon, The Muppets Animal Drummer is all fun.
(Credit: Disney)
However, the gameplay's a bit different: Animal bangs out a series of beats using different parts of the drum set and different intervals. Your job is to play back the lick (by tapping the drums) using the exact same phrasing.
It starts off pretty easy, but quickly gets challenging (especially for rhythm-deprived individuals like myself). Even so, I find this a lot more fun than, say, Tap Tap Revenge or Rock Band, ... Read more
By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:22 | Categorized As | With 2 comments
(Credit: 20th Century Fox)
In this week's preholiday edition of the Digital City Podcast, we all get ready for our one long break of the year, accompanied by special guest smartphone guru (and new CNET East Coaster) Bonnie Cha.
Scott and Joe have seen James Cameron's "Avatar"; Bonnie and Julie haven't. We also discuss Intel's new Atom Netbooks, 3D Blu-ray on the PS3, holiday smartphones, and upcoming laptops and phones at CES 2010. Best of all, Scott gets a chance to show off his one and only Batjew T-shirt. Watch it on video or you'll miss it.
Plus, don't forget to enter a comment to win a 16GB Zune HD of your very own. Happy holidays!


By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:21 | Categorized As | With 2 comments
Aston Martin DB9 in NFS:Shift

EA Mobile has released the second iPhone game in the Need for Speed series: Need for Speed Shift.
You may remember that we took a look at Need for Speed Undercover not too long ago and found it was a fun, arcadelike take on racing with a decent number of fully customizable vehicles. Shift is an evolution of that game but with more realistic racing physics in place of the hokey storyline. Also new to Shift are customizable racing views. Users can now select between chase-cam, hood-cam, bumper-cam, and cockpit views. The cockpit view is unique to the vehicle you're driving, but unfortunately there are no working gauges. The cockpit view is also the only view that features damage modeling in the form of a windshield that gets more messed up the as you hit things.
Nissan Z interior in NFS:Shift
This Nissan Z features an accurate interior, but no working gauges.
(Credit: Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET)
On your first outing with Shift, you'll be treated to a quick tutorial that teaches you how to drive with an iPhone. Shift pretty much plays like Undercover, but with a few key differences. Its steering is still controlled by tilting. The vehicles still auto-accelerate and brake when the screen is tapped. However, the race-breaker, slow-motion feature is gone and the controls are supposedly more realistic. In practice, this means that you can no longer win races without touching the brakes and that the transmission is now manual, which can be frustrating for novice users who just want to drive.
Fortunately, there are driver aids that can be activated that automatically brake and shift for you and assist steering that make your ham-fisted inputs smoother and more accurate. Users who want an easy to play, arcade-style racer can turn on the driving aids and win a few medals on the bus ride to work; and users who want more of a racing-sim experience can set all systems to manual for more control over the game. Driving aids or not, drifting is maddeningly difficult this time around. I prefer the drifting mechanics of Undercover.
By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:19 | Categorized As | With 2 comments

The Mitsubishi LT-249 has a built-in 16-speaker sound bar.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
At CNET, we never review the audio quality of a TV, because, frankly, it's usually terrible. As we said in our How We Test TVs page: "We believe that anyone who cares [about sound quality] would be better served investing in a separate audio system." However, Mitsubishi's LT-249 series is an LCD TV designed for people who do care about getting decent sound without having to fuss with an external audio system. Therefore, we tested the Mitsubishi's sound the same way we test other sound bar home theater systems.
What's the verdict? When paired with a subwoofer, the LT-249 can belt out audio as well as the smaller sound bars it resembles, which should sonically satisfy fuss-intolerant, decor-conscious buyers. The high-end Mitsubishi also has solid picture quality, although it won't match the better LED-powered LCDs and plasma TVs available in its price range. It also has a compelling suite of interactive features including Vudu and Pandora. However, this HDTV is all about the speaker; so if you don't mind paying more for better sound, the Mitsubishi LT-249 series deserves a place on your wall.
By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:16 | Categorized As | With 0 comments
Magellan Premium Car Kit (Credit: Magellan)
Following the launch of its turn-by-turn navigation app for iPhone, Magellan has released its Premium Car Kit for iPhone and iPod Touch. The Premium Car Kit features an amplified speaker for spoken directions, a Bluetooth speakerphone for hands-free calling, a built-in GPS receiver that should improve positioning over the iPhone 3G's and add positioning to first-gen iPhones and the iPod Touch.
The kit will give users somewhere to mount their iPhones while driving, rotate to portrait and landscape orientations, and charge the device while moving from point A to B. Essentially, it will behave exactly like TomTom's Car Kit, which we've previously reviewed, but with an adjusting arm that will allow the Magellan kit to accommodate an iPhone or iPod Touch with a protective case.
The Magellan Premium Car Kit will retail for $129.99. When TomTom's kit debuted for slightly less than that price, it was universally regarded as too expensive, so we can already guess what sort of reception Magellan's kit will get.
Magellan's Premium Car Kit for iPhone is available now for pre-order.
By Đinh Quang Huy On 09:12 | Categorized As | With 0 comments
Flip MinoHD (second generation) (Credit: Pure Digital)
For our penultimate 2009 Crave giveaway, we've got the Flip Video MinoHD. This is the current second-generation model that was introduced in the fall of 2009. It's a nice refinement of Flip's handheld camcorder design that records 720p HD video and offers HDMI output for quick and easy connections to any modern HDTV. David Carnoy rated this model an enthusiastic 4 stars when he reviewed it earlier this year.
We'd also like to give a shout out to Shopper.com for helping set up this Crave giveaway. Shopper.com powers CNET's price-comparison engine, and it's a great site for finding the best prices on products. (See all of Shopper's deals, coupon codes, and rebates).
Normally, the Flip Video MinoHD (second generation) would cost you about $230, but you have the chance to get it gratis.
So, how do you try to win this Flip Video MinoHD (second generation)? Let me enumerate the basic rules. Please read them carefully; there will be a test.

  • Register as a CNET user. Go to the top of this page and hit the "Join CNET" link to start the registration process. If you're already registered, there's no need to register again.
  • Leave a comment below. You can leave whatever comment you want. If it's funny or insightful it won't help you win, but we're trying to have fun here, so anything entertaining is appreciated.
  • Leave only one comment. You may enter this specific giveaway only once. If you enter more than one comment, you will be automatically disqualified.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will receive (1) Flip Video MinoHD (second generation). Approximate retail value is $230.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified via e-mail. Winners must respond within three days of the end of the contest. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries can be submitted until Wednesday, December 23 at 6:59:59 a.m. EST.
And here's the disclaimer that our legal department said we had to include (sorry for the caps, but rules are rules): NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENT OF ONE OF THE 50 UNITED STATES OR D.C., 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT DATE OF ENTRY INTO SWEEPSTAKES. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, ALL U.S. TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Sweepstakes ends at 6:59:59 AM EST on December 23, 2009. See official rules for details.
Good luck.