Created with Sketch.
The Wrap – Australia’s fastest technology roundup – Pickr
5 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
The Wrap – A Trio of Earphones & New Phones
This week on The Wrap, get stuck into a trio of new truly wireless earphones, a couple of new phones, and a big change to the Apple Wallet. All that and more in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/f40fc51d-b266-4a08-8f9e-ad7400dc5389/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s the end of July 2021 and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, still seemingly stuck in lockdown but reporting on the latest in tech, and this week, there is surprisingly a lot of that. While you may well be stuck at home like this guy, it doesn’t mean you can’t go places virtually. Kinda sorta, because this week Microsoft released Flight Simulator on the Xbox Series S and X on its Game Pass service, which could make for a virtual fight to locations around the world provided you had one of those. Sadly, it’s not out for the standard Xbox One, but owners of the new models plus Windows PC will see it on Game Pass, allowing them to get a virtual flight on of sorts. Even if you can’t get that for a while, there’s plenty of happenings happening in the world of tech, starting with your phone. Or maybe even a future phone. There’s an expectation Samsung will launch two in two weeks, with foldables likely the centre of attention. It’s been almost a year since both the Galaxy Fold 2 and Galaxy Flip 1 I guess you could call it came out, and so follow-ups are on the way, with at least one set to include the Galaxy Note S-Pen. There’s no word yet on what else we can expect, not officially anyway, but with the announcement on August 12 in Australia, we’ll have something soon. Before then, Nokia has a new phone built to survive the rigours of everyday life in the Nokia XR20. It’s basically a mid-range Android phone built to survive drops of nearly two metres and big splashes of water, with two cameras and 5G, because those things matter. It does come with a pretty staggering price tag for a mid-range phone, hitting just under $900, which is basically a $400 premium on the spec sheet. ZTE also has a phone on the way that we may or may not get that has a selfie camera you can’t see. It’s under the display of the Axon 30, making it an all-screen phone of sorts. No word on if or when Australia will get this, but it’s a sign of things that could come. Hey, we might even see both touch and Face ID in an upcoming iPhone. For the moment, the iPhone does something new in Australia, with the Apple Wallet the first digital wallet in the world to support health insurance cards. It’s one more way to cut your physical wallet out of your lives. It can already hold your bank card and a credit card if you have one, and you may be able to use your phone as a digital driver’s license. But now Apple Wallet will talk to the health insurance cards from Bupa, GU Health, Medibank, and NIB, with HBF set to launch in August. No word yet on Medicare, as government cards aren’t really supported as part of the Apple Wallet yet. Maybe in time. Those health cards will work between the iPhone and Apple Watch, but there’s no word yet on when they’ll arrive on the Android equivalent. Give that time, too. Most of the week has felt focused on the gadgets for your ears, because with no less than three earphone launches, well, let’s just say someone’s been keeping an ear out for audio gadgets. First there’s what came from Nothing, which was, well, something. You’ve probably not heard of Nothing, but it’s a new brand from the founder of phone brand OnePlus. This week, the Ear 1 launched, and it’s a pair of truly wireless earphones — because they all are — that manages to come without the typical assortment of bulky plastic designs. Rather, Nothing uses a see-through plastic to let you see the hardware underneath, with noise cancellation technology inside. Essentially, they’re transparent truly wireless noise cancellation earphones, which itself is a bit of a theme. You see the other two announcements are much the same: truly wireless noise cancelling earphones. Next up is what Bang & Olufsen announced in the Beoplay EQ, B&O’s first truly wireless noise cancelling earphones made for a premium crowd. There are several microphones and offer a little over six hours of battery life with noise cancelling on, with an aluminium charging case. Of particular interest is the adaptive noise cancellation, which B&O says adapts the cancellation based on what it hears, something we don’t often see. No word on price for either these or Nothing’s earphones in Australia, but at least on the next one, we have that. Australian brand Nura also launched a truly wireless pair of earphones that can measure how you hear and make a profile of personalised sound based on that. They’re coming in the NuraTrue, a pair that shrinks down the large Nuraphones to a truly wireless noise cancelling pair of earphones that maps how you hear. Very different from the crowd, these work best when you run through the test, which uses otoacoustic emissions to understand the sounds heard from your inner ear, basically giving you a sound made just for you. It’s not Nura’s first try here – this is actually the third — but this concept will set you back just shy of $300 in Australia, and we should have a review of it next week. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The story The Wrap – A Trio of Earphones & New Phones appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
The Wrap – Big Sound & Bigger Fridges
This week on The Wrap, we’ll look at new approaches to speakers from Sony, new earphones from Oppo, and new fridges from Samsung. Plus MagSafe, Nanoleaf’s Element lights, Razer’s big new laptop, and more. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/fc511b75-62cd-4d25-b36a-ad6d00cb4e32/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript Near the end of July 2021, finishing the week with July 23, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, still stuck in lockdown, where we may be for quite some time. Despite lockdown, technology news and reviews are still coming in, because the world keeps going, we just might be viewing it more from afar than normal. However afar is largely what the world of tech is lately, and in a few weeks time, Samsung will be showing off a couple of new foldables from afar, as it announces another Galaxy Unpacked is happening in August. Yes, if you can believe it, we’re almost in August. Where has the year gone? Even though we all probably know the answer to that, we’ve also seen some pretty neat gear arrive, including more from the world of MagSafe. If you own an iPhone from the iPhone 12 range, you have MagSafe built into your phone, which is a ring of magnets that help hold your iPhone in place when it’s being wirelessly charged. You can add it to other phones with a gadget from Mophie, the Mophie Snap adaptor, but it won’t quite offer the same experience. However Belkin added some interesting uses for MagSafe this week, with a power bank that snaps on, a fitness accessory to snap your phone to an exercise bike, rower, or treadmill, and a new type of selfie stand that can track your head when you’re recording videos. That’s a little over the top, but sometimes we like over the top, which is certainly a way of describing a new speaker system from Sony. Called the A9, it’s actually four speakers that talk to each other independently, using microphones and good design to bounce sound and make four speakers sound like twelve. It’s a rather unique take on making speakers sound like they’re coming from all around you, but perhaps surprisingly, it won’t support the 3D movie sound offered by Dolby Atmos. It will support spatial audio from Sony, but not Dolby’s equivalent, and at a little over two thousand dollars, we don’t know why. Sony does have a soundbar with Atmos support coming in the A7000, but that’s a standard soundbar design with a 7 channel surround, both of which will grace stores and homes in August with fairly big prices. They’re not the only high priced gadgets we’ve seen this week. Razer has a super fast laptop coming in the Blade 17, sporting almost 5GHz of power, a fast graphics chip, a 4K touchscreen, and oh around a five thousand dollar price, because it’s not a cheap laptop by any stretch of the imagination. Rounding near the same price are a couple of fridges with a touchscreen built in, because yep, the internet fridge never really died. That’s coming in Samsung’s 2021 edition of the Family Hub Fridge, the sixth generation — if you can believe it — with a 21.5 inch touchscreen built into a French door refrigerator, showing pictures, a calendar, Spotify, a web browser, and recipes. It’s kind of like an oversized Google Nest smart display, except mounted on your fridge, and it can be used like a TV or a tablet, supporting the Ring doorbell, Uber Eats, and order groceries from Woolies directly from the fridge. It’s very much a first-world-problem of a fridge — because you can do all of this from your phone — but if you’re someone who wants to live in the future, the $5K and $6K price tags might just get you there. And Campfire Audio has two earphones for near the thousand dollar mark, focusing on the audiophile crowd in the Mammoth and Holocene. They’re not like your AirPods, that’s for sure, and they even come with cords, but while they sport a big price tag, the also come with glow in the dark features, because why not. Plus we’re also checking out a couple of gadgets as well. First there’s the Nanoleaf Elements, a sort of smart light made for folks who want to decorate their home in something a little like a fireplace, except not. The Elements are another one of Nanoleaf’s lights in a shape, and while normally they’re colourful polygons, the Elements are hexagons with a fake wood grain finish. You get a choice of warm yellows and oranges and white colours, a little like a fireplace, but mounted to your wall. And they deliver a burst of colour for your home, flashing colours based on noise sensitivity or just programmed light, but they can be a little fussy to setup and even fussier to remove. Finally, we’re checking out the Oppo Enco X, Oppo’s latest take on the AirPods Pro, offering noise cancellation, wireless charging, and IP54 water resistance, making them ideal for a walk in the rain, but not swimming. Not that you’d want to, because these are for listening, with balanced sound engineered alongside Denmark’s Dynaudio offering plenty of detail, but a questionable fit and controls that need work. We don’t think they have enough drive to beat the Sony WF-1000XM4, the current benchmarks, but at $349, they’re a good take for folks looking for an AirPod Pro not made by Apple and made more for Android than anything else. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The story The Wrap – Big Sound & Bigger Fridges appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
The Wrap – Keeping Busy In Lockdown
This week on The Wrap, we’re in lockdown, so we’re looking at some of the things you can do, from gaming to fitness to keeping the kids busy with value headphones. Plus new gadgets from Apple, SanDisk, and more. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/d6641602-e39a-4fd8-b0fa-ad6600e3c4f3/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the middle of July 2021, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while the lockdown where The Wrap is recorded is giving everyone a bit of a sad face, it’s World Emoji Day on July 17, so have a happy face instead if you can, or something else that describes the situation we’re in. An eggplant, maybe a pretzel, or something else that sums up this whole quagmire. While the week hasn’t exactly ended on a positive note for most of Australia’s population, there still has been plenty happening, though the importance may vary depending on if you’re allowed to leave the house. If you are and you have an iPhone, you might not be too happy with your iPhone battery. The 12 Pro Max is the best of the bunch, but the others might struggle to hit a day, and if you have one, Apple has released a MagSafe charge pack that can clip onto the back all too easily and charge it without any cables. It joins Mophie’s take on the same, and Belkin had its own variation on that theme to end the week with as well. So those are gadget for going out and about, but so many in Australia are going to be stuck at home, thanks to last year’s hot topic everyone is tired of talking about a year on. Yep, it’s still a thing. Fortunately, much of what was announced this week could make being at home a little more interesting, depending on what you look at. For instance, SanDisk has a way of backing up your phone so you don’t have to deal with the burden of having it lose that memory, and it will even charge your phone. If you have a wirelessly charged phone — which is every iPhone, and pretty much every flagship Android phone — SanDisk’s iXpand Wireless Charger Sync is a $200 approach to charging your phone and keeping a local backup. And let me tell you, losing everything on your phone is not fun, so if you’re not backing up to the cloud, the idea of automatically backing up your phone while it charges is close to magic. YouTube launched a short video feature meant to take on the likes of TikTok this week, arriving in Shorts, and it’s pretty much what it says on the box: short videos on YouTube for you to get bite-sized entertainment. That’s YouTube trying to cash in on what works for TikTok, while Instagram expands into video, as well. Meanwhile, there’s an interesting rumour going around that Netflix is slated to move into video games as well, so your Netflix subscription might come with interactive entertainment in the future, too. Netflix wouldn’t be alone in this category, though. There are a few game services in Australia already, including Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which provides a buffet of titles for the Xbox One, Xbox Series S and X, and Windows, while Apple Arcade does much the same for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Macs. Google has an equivalent for Android in Play Pass, and if you fancy the older style of games, something more retro, there’s Antstream Arcade, which pretty much just caters to retro gaming. To put it simply, there are options out there if you’re stuck in lockdown with little to do, provided you have one of the gadgets that makes it work. It won’t be for everyone, mind you. If you’re looking for something a little more physical to keep the kids entertained, Canon dropped word that it has a website called “Creative Park” that offers colouring book pages and paper craft projects you can download. You don’t even need a specific brand of printer. And there’s always plenty of exercise you can do, from the videos you can find on YouTube, videos on Apple Fitness Plus, though they need an Apple Watch, and if you have a phone — and we all have phones — you can grab a football and learn some AFL skills thanks to a project by Google. It’s called the Footy Skills Lab and uses artificial intelligence to track a football in your hand to work out if you’re getting better, and to teach you that, too. There’s always something you can do at home, even if it gets a little tired at times. If you have kids, you might want to check out a pair of headphones we reviewed this week, the JBL JR310BT, a mouthful of a name that basically means they’re small wireless only headphones made for kids. They come in colours with stickers, and sound better than you’d expect the $70 price tag to offer. Typically budget headphones aren’t great, but these buck the trend, which surprised us. Granted, you won’t find noise cancellation or wireless charging here, because they’re made for a price point, and there’s not even a 3.5mm cable either. But they do come with something that makes them a little kid-safe: a volume limiter. That means the JR310BT max out at 85 decibels, so while they can get loud, they don’t get too loud, and there are no volume buttons, so parents can get the volume on the device. In short, they’re a surprising pair made for little ears, and parents looking to keep the kids busy with a phone, tablet, and some peace and quiet. Ideal during lockdown, and when we can all take trips again. Here’s hoping that’s not too far off. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The story The Wrap – Keeping Busy In Lockdown appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
The Wrap – Earphones Galore & 5G Made Cheap
This week on The Wrap, covering faster 4G, inexpensive 5G, Nintendo’s new OLED portable console, and a couple of wireless noise cancelling earphones reviewed, all in five minutes. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/139caeb9-d3ef-4cbd-a240-ad60000ebb15/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the week ending July 9, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while NSW where The Wrap is recorded feels a lot like John Oliver’s white box in lockdown — nothing escapes but our constant chatter — this week there have been more numbers than just the number of cases rising. For instance, there’s the numbers 4 and 5 this week, both of which were accompanied by the letter G, because 4G and 5G are things people care about. 4G has been out for nearly ten years, and this week, if you happen to be a Telstra or Vodafone customer in major Australian cities, you’ll see improved download speeds. That’s thanks to Telstra and Vodafone working together to re-stack the 4G spectrum, resulting in better speeds overall. In the 5G world, we’re seeing more happen there, but for different reasons. 5G is supported by every major telco locally, but the big news is how inexpensive the tech is becoming. You no longer need to spend big to get 5G, with $500 netting a 5G phone these days. There are five in Australia, from the Realme 7 5G, TCL 20 5G, Moto G 5G Plus, Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, and the Oppo A54 and A74, the latter of which are the same, but with different memory and storage. So this week, we threw those five into a best-of battle, and came up with the winners. They’ll all get you those 5G speeds under a big screen, and all should get you over a day of battery life. They’ll all get you several cameras for under $500, but our reviews found Motorola’s G 5G Plus to be the better of the bunch, outpacing the TCL 20 5G slightly, with the rest just behind. Realme offers a fast screen, Samsung’s cameras seem a little better, and Oppo gets in with less expensive phones overall. But they all offer 5G for a relatively cheap price these days, meaning 5G doesn’t need to be an expensive feature at all. So that’s one number, but there’s also the number 120, which is the refresh rate select LG TVs will be supporting in the coming weeks. It’s coming to the C1 and G1 in the current crop of OLED TVs, supporting 120Hz HDR in 4K, handy for gamers keen to play games with super slick and smooth animations. It won’t be coming to every TV LG makes, making it kind of like its update to the webOS TV operating system. WebOS 6, another number, is a new version found on 2021’s TVs, but it won’t be coming to a TV you bought last year, or anything else before it. We asked about that at CES earlier in the year, and recently for the launch, and nothing has changed. It seems all the good stuff is coming to the new TVs, but only the mid and high-end models, because this year’s A and B series miss out on the 120Hz love, too. There’s also the number 540, which is how much a new Nintendo Switch will cost when it launches in October. That’s the news coming about the OLED version of the Nintendo Switch, upgrading the screen technology to support the same tech as what LG is using in those premium TVs, with organic diodes that switch on to show colours, and switch off to show black. The new Switch will cost $540 in Australia when it launches in October, and include a kickstand for keeping the console upright, plus a new dock with a wired Ethernet port for online gaming. Surprisingly, it doesn’t come with Bluetooth, meaning earphones will be plugged in with a cable. We’re not used to seeing earphones with a cable these days, but there were two models of wired earphones this week from Campfire Audio, producing in-ear monitors in the Mammoth and Holocene, which venture near the thousand dollar mark. They’re a far cry from two pairs of truly wireless earphones we checked out this week, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, both models with numbers in their names. Both also come with active noise cancellation and a good seven hours of battery life before needing to be thrown back in the case, but that’s where the similarities stop. At $159, Huawei’s FreeBuds 4i are an inexpensive take on entry-level noise cancellation, because noise cancellation doesn’t typically come under the $200 mark. There’s no app and little in the way of customisation, but the sound will be acceptable to most. Decent highs, acceptable mids, but bass that needs work, lacking detail. That’s distinct from what Sennheiser has achieved in the Momentum True Wireless 2, a $500 pair of earphones that promises strong sound, great balance, solid noise cancellation, and controls that can be customised with an app. They’re great earphones that are easy to fall for, even though the price is a little too high. At $500, Sennheiser has outpriced both Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4, benchmarks in the range. But with no wireless charging in the Sennheiser, it’s hard to say these are the best. But they’re more comfortable than the last gen and offer great sound overall, making Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 worth checking out if you’re looking for a great pair. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Earphones Galore & 5G Made Cheap appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
The Wrap – Spatial Audio & New Gear Aplenty
This week on The Wrap, finish off Mobile World Congress with 5G, fast chips, and new smart devices, plus the latest gear coming to your life, including cameras, earphones, and a speaker made for spatial audio. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/df387852-fc09-4ace-b52a-ad590002379e/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s the beginning of July 2021, the middle of the year is here, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as a tech show overseas draws to a close, all we can do is watch from afar, because we are in lockdown. Mobile World Congress saw some pre announcements last week, but there was more this week, with 5G still centre stage. You won’t get a boost of 5G from a vaccination, but you may see more reach as telcos improve the towers and reception. Telstra noted its 5G network is covering 75 percent of Australians, while 4G is in reach of almost everyone at 99.4 percent. 5G isn’t the only talk at a conference for mobility, with Qualcomm showing off the next fast chip it has in its arsenal, the Snapdragon 888 Plus coming to phones at the end of the year, while Samsung showed off what we can expect from its next wearable, at least with how it works. Samsung’s announcement kicked off what would be a week of accessories of sorts, because that’s what the wearable is, even if it’s one for your wrist. While Samsung has previously used its own Tizen OS, this year will see it replaced with Google’s WearOS, which will include apps that look more like what they do on your phone, and even have a way of designing watchfaces for developers. There’s no word on the watch itself, but that’s expected in the next couple of months with a Samsung Unpacked event. Lenovo also announced a few accessories of sorts, with some tablets that can stand up by themselves thanks to a kickstand as the company looks back at an old Lenovo tablet design, as well as a new smart clock. That’s Lenovo’s take on the Google Nest Smart Display made small. Made for right next to your bed, even. With a 4 inch display and speaker, it’s a tiny bedside smart speaker, and this time will support a wireless charging pad. No word on price in Australia, but we’re expecting around the hundred mark when it launches later on. Dell had an accessory not long after, handy for folks working from home looking for a better webcam for their remote working world. It’s a webcam modelled off a properly big camera, coming in the Dell 4K Ultrasharp webcam, which not only brings more resolution, but also some tricks to keep you centred and brightly lit in the frame. That’s more than you can say for your regular laptop camera, we’re sure. Of course, there’s always a real camera, and there’s another of those this week, as Nikon launches the Z FC, a camera that looks more like a Nikon from the 1980s, the Nikon FM2. While we’re not sure the new camera will be as beautifully built, Nikon is taking that old film camera and modelling its digital camera on the retrolicious style, with controls up stop, a leather textured body, and 20 megapixel sensor with support for 4K video capture. And there was quite a few accessories for your ears, too, but we call them earphones. Campfire Audio launched a couple of bright and bold earphones, though they’re wired. We don’t see many of those anymore, but the Honeydew and Satsuma earphones definitely stand out, both at under $400. Meanwhile, Sennheiser launched a pair of truly wireless earphones that do away with the cords entirely, because that’s what most people expect, in the $200 Sennheiser CX True Wireless, which aim to be balanced and well-priced. And there’s something else in the wireless earphone world coming from a brand you may not have heard of, Nothing — that’s the name — set to launch on July 27. We’re not quite sure what Nothing will launch, but the early rumours are it’s “something” big. We doubt it will be quite as big as a speaker we’re checking out, though, as we put a 360 degree speaker from Sony through its paces. You might have heard about this whole surround sound music thing that’s going around. Sony calls it 360 Reality Audio, and has for some time, while Apple calls it “spatial audio”, and there are now music services that deal in it. You don’t need special headphones or speakers for it, because it’s a new way of engineering music to sound more dimensional. However the better the headphone and speaker, the more impact it makes. And Sony’s RA3000 is a speaker built specifically for 360 sound, though it comes with some catches. It’s a tall and chunky cylinder that’ll set you back nearly $500, with a few speakers inside, two of which are designed to send sound ricocheting around your room, creating the feeling of dimensional sound. However it doesn’t work with every music service, playing the 360 sound from Tidal, but not from Apple Music because Apple Music doesn’t support Chromecast. If Sony had thrown in AirPlay, that might have been a yes, but that’s not the case. When you do get music to work, the sound is big and bold and balanced, too, but the 360 audio can be hit and miss. Some tracks were brilliant, and yet others fell flat, sounding like they were played through a wall. The thing is spatial audio sounds great through headphones, but we’re not sure the speaker really nails it the same way. It’s just not there yet, but might be in version two when all the kinks have been ironed out. Maybe next year when spatial audio has been around for a bit, but right now, we’d stick to a good pair of headphones you already love. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Spatial Audio & New Gear Aplenty appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
The Wrap – 5G, Windows 11, and the 2021 Apple TV 4K
This week on The Wrap, find out what’s so special about Windows 11 and how it could change life on your computer, plus news on 5G, computers, wearable screens, and the new Apple TV 4K reviewed. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/4562340a-d980-4a09-ac9b-ad520000c272/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For just about the last week of June 2021, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we’re almost at the middle of the year. That means nearly six full months have gone by, and this week that finally included a bit of a tech trade show, even if it’s one Australians couldn’t get to. We probably don’t need to remind you why, but it’s a sign that the world is gradually returning to normal, even if the news wasn’t thoroughly exciting. While COVID started last year with the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, this year MWC is back, even if it came in the middle of the year. You can expect to hear a bit from it next week, too, but this week, there have been a few announcements timed for the show, most of which have centred around 5G. While you won’t get it from a vaccination, you will see 5G in more and more devices this year, with Intel talking up how it’s expected in more hardware, and Lenovo saying it will be an option in some of its laptops, as well. Lenovo also talked up other upgrades, with one of its thin ThinkPad X1 models seeing an optional high-end graphics card in the form of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 models, up to a 3080, meaning gaming could come in the form of super thin laptops. That’s true for many a laptop brand, too, with Razer talking up similar hardware in its also thin Razer Blade 14. While neither is expected to be remarkably inexpensive, they’re both signs that every thing is getting smaller and easier to carry, which is always good news for when life returns to normal. And when life returns to normal, you might even be able to sit on a bus or train, covering your face with a screen rather than a traditional mask. That’s kind of the idea TCL is trying to show off at Mobile World Congress, where it’s launching a pair of glasses that have a screen built into them. TCL’s Nxtwear G looks more like a big pair of sunnies, but instead of regular lenses, there’s a pair of Full HD micro OLED screens at each eye, allowing you to watch content from your phone, tablet, or your computer in the glasses. They’re not a pair of VR goggles like you might think, and this is more of a head-mounted display — an HMD — meaning you’re just watching stuff, not having the experience move all around you, but because of the distance from eye to screen, the glasses will create a big screen 140 inch experience at close range, and will work with hundreds of devices, too. And they’re coming to Australia shortly, too, where TCL told us they’d be available for under a thousand when Nxtwear G launches locally. And there was more this week had to offer, including D-Link launching a wireless range extender for regular networks plus its own mesh networks, Samsung launching a smart monitor that combined its TVs and monitors for something for the desktop, and Oppo teamed up with Danish HiFi company Dynaudio for a couple of wireless noise cancelling, as well. Oh, and Windows 11 launched. You might expect a bit of big hoopla with this one, because it has been over five years since Microsoft launched Windows 10, and finally Windows 11 is ready. Almost. Kinda sorta. The next version looks a little like what would happen if Windows and macOS had a baby, with a centred icon screen, a different approach to design, widgets in the desktop, and a slicker layout. Microsoft’s next version of Windows goes beyond that, though, because it’s adding support for Android apps. It’s thanks to something called Intel Bridging technology, which will work with AMD computers, and means Windows can run Android apps. That’s good news, because it not only expands the apps Windows has available, but brings what the M1 Macs have: support for a major mobile operating system. On the M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, and iMac, you can run select iPhone and iPad apps. And now, you’ll be able to get the Android equivalent running on Windows, too. There’s also something in there for gamers with support for faster storage and HDR, and Windows finally gets a stable way of having apps run across multiple monitors. It’s the little things we get excited about. Even when those little things include a gadget that has seen little changes, which we’re reviewing right now with the Apple TV 4K. Or rather, the new Apple TV 4K, because it’s a little different from the old one. You’d never realise it simply by looking at it, because from the outside, the last Apple TV and this new model are identical, but there’s a new chip, some faster WiFi, and that’s mostly it, save for the new remote. Designed with both a touchpad and a click pad, it’s a little easier for everyone to get across, even if it’s chunkier. Mostly, the 2021 Apple TV 4K is the same great Apple TV with a minor update, and that makes it a hard argument for a genuine upgrade, especially if you have the old one, or you have a smart TV you like. It’s still a great device, and the remote is nice too, but if you have the old one, you’re still good. And if you want the new remote, you can buy that separately for even less. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – 5G, Windows 11, and the 2021 Apple TV 4K appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
The Wrap – Big Games & Small Earphones
This week on The Wrap, we’ll jump into what’s coming from IKEA, what’s coming in games, and all the audio goodness you can sink your ears into. All that and more in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/00c5ed6d-ef9c-4fc4-b4f0-ad4a00cb5ed6/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the week ending June 18, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week we’ll start our gadget fest with IKEA. You might not think that everyone’s favourite house of flat pack love could get into tech, but in the past few years, it has quite a few gadgets and surprisingly, not many require an Allen key. This week’s addition is one Australians won’t see until next year, but it’s one that could make the sound in your home a little easier on the eyes. You see right now if you have a speaker in your home, there’s a very good chance it’s on display. Whether it’s a dome or a cylinder or a box of some kind, speakers aren’t shapes everyone likes, and that’s where IKEA is trying something different, turning a Sonos-compatible speaker into a work of art… of sorts. It’s a work of IKEA art, with the Symfonisk Picture Frame WiFi speaker being basically what it says in the name: an art frame with a flat speaker covered by a grill covered in art. They’ll work with the Sonos system, in line with IKEA’s other Symfonisk speakers, but you can’t bring your own art yet, as these will only have IKEA art made for them. It also won’t be in Australia until next year, where we’re expecting a price of around $300 when it does see the light of day locally. There was also loads of game news this week from E3. Granted, it was digital only for reasons you can probably guess, but it meant there was plenty on the cards for games on the horizon. For instance, Xbox showed off 30 games, 27 of which will come to its subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, and includes some sequels to games that have been running for ages. A new Forza, a new Halo, a new Age of Empires, and a new Psychonauts, plus some originals. Nintendo meanwhile announced quite a few games were coming to Switch, including a new Super Monkey Ball, Mario Party, Metroid, Mario Golf, a new Legend of Zelda title, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the latter of which is also coming to other consoles, too. Sony didn’t partake in the big game shindig, but publishers did, so we know that there’s plenty coming for every major console, and PC and mobile, too. It’s not just games, but other gear that could make games pop. Bang & Olufsen has an expensive new TV in the Contour 55, a 55 inch LG OLED with B&O design and audio gear that’ll sort you back around 12K, while Razer has a new laptop in the Blade 14 sporting a high-speed AMD chip and GeForce graphics, with THX sound. It’ll start at around $3K in Australia for a 14 inch gaming machine. And Razer also has a pair of $170 noise cancelling headphones in the way in the Opus X, but we’ve reviewed other earphones this week. First, we looked at the Realme Buds Air Pro, AirPods clones that offer noise cancelling for the $200 mark with a little more bass than we normally Iike, but a comfort level we struggled with. Realme is normally responsible for mid-range phones, but the Buds Air Pro show the company is trying out noise cancelling earphones, too, and that’s one area that isn’t too bad, provided you can get them to fit. We found the shape of the earphones was so bulbous, we struggled to get them to hold, so the noise cancelling seal wasn’t amazing. The sound also lacked detail, but there was a low latency mode for mobile gamers, so that’s something. You may be able to find Realme’s Buds Air Pro for less, and that may make them better value, but we’d probably keep our eyes open, because there’s a lot of choice in noise cancelling earphones. Or you could skip noise cancellation and go with something different altogether, which is what we saw in a new brand launching, Ag. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Ag before, because we hadn’t either. It’s a new brand from high-end audio company Final which normally makes pricey headphones. Its first earphones in Australia are the Ag TWS Zero Four K, a pair that offer a simple design and a slightly larger charging case. That charging case is big for a reason though: it features a big battery. While the earphones can last for up to nine hours per charge, the case offers up to 20 charges, boasting as much as 180 hours of life. That may as well be several weeks of use, if you listen for a few hours per day, and the case holds a neat trick: it can also charge your phone. Alongside those tricks, the Ag TWS04K is also a decent pair of earphones, offering detailed and spacious sound, but needing a little more bass. It’s basically the polar opposite of the Realme Buds Air Pro, because these sound very good, even if they lack noise cancellation. But they come with near the same price, hitting $200 locally, which we think is very good given the value proposition. Of course, there are loads of choices out there, but if you’re looking for an amazing battery alongside great sound, this new brand, Ag, might just have it. And otherwise, you can always wait, because it’s the middle of the year, and there’s plenty more on the way. We’re still expecting a new generation of AirPods Pro, Beats has something new soon, and Sony just launched a pair of noise cancelling earphones. There’s a lot happening for sure. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Big Games & Small Earphones appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
The Wrap – Apple’s Updates & Sony’s Best Earphones
This week on The Wrap, find out what’s coming for the iPhone, iPad, and what Apple Music subscribers now get for free. Plus we’ll review Sony’s latest pair of truly wireless earphones that may well be the new benchmark. All in five. This week on The Wrap, find out what’s coming for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, plus what Apple Music subscribers now get for free. Plus we’ll review Sony’s latest pair of truly wireless earphones that may well be the new benchmark. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/ce765c7a-5ea1-4486-b119-ad440003b3a1/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s near the middle of June and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week, you can expect a lot of Apple news, thanks in part to the Worldwide Developers Conference, which was online this week, and delivered a lot of Apple. You might call it The Big Apple, even though this news was direct from California, so clearly not the same thing. But there’s big news with Apple talking up what you can expect on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even the Watch, plus a little something more for your ears. On the iPhone, if you have one, you can expect the next version of iOS, iOS 15, to let you scan the text from photos, and then search that across your phone. Snap a recipe or something with a phone number, and your iPhone will know what to do with it. Apple is also rolling out a focus mode to keep you, well, focused, and if you have a new car, you might even be able to use your iPhone as your car keys shortly, too. Plus there’s something there to let you share what you’re doing with friends. Throughout this whole isolation thing, we’ve had to learn to live away from each other, but Apple’s SharePlay will bring togetherness experiences back using a phone, and also using an iPad, which will see the same feature. In fact, it will be shared across phone, tablet, and Mac, so you can share music, movies, TV shows, and even apps. There’s a little more happening on the tablet and Mac with accessories on a MacBook working across both thanks to a feature called “Universal Control”. That’ll connect accessories between the two, while Apple will let you make iPhone and iPad apps from inside an iPad, something you’ll do it from within Swift Playgrounds, the app that teaches kids to code. MacOS will get that Focus thing and a way to program macros with Shortcuts, something already on the phone, as well as a new version of Safari with tab groups, while FaceTime will blur the background and clean up your sound. And the Apple Watch will soon track sleeping respiratory rate and have a new portrait watch face, plus a home app to let you talk to a network. It’s an assortment of bits and pieces, though we might be more excited for what Apple Music unleashed this week, with both high-res lossless and Dolby Atmos surround sound music added free to Apple Music. You have to pay extra for that on Tidal, but Apple is doing it for free, which is a win in our books. For those not down with the jargon, lossless is basically a high res file for people who want more audio quality, while Atmos offers a more spacious sound for the music you love. The track list isn’t big to begin with, but it’ll grow, and could change the way you listen to your music. And that’s not all that happened this week, because if you own a recent Google Pixel phone, there’s something a little bit extra for you as well. Owners of the Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 4a with 5G, and Pixel 5 now have support for an astrophotography night sky mode that also captures a video, something new giving you a little bit extra of an evening you decide to spend some time taking photos of. That’ll roll out shortly, as will new TVs from Hisense, with 4K, 8K, and Mini LED screens on the way. There are a few models coming, with one getting an 85 inch 4K TV down to below four thousand, while Hisense’s 2021 8K TVs will start from the five K mark. And there were a couple of audio gadgets announced this week, ideal for folks who might be eyeing new earphones. High-end brand Final announced something a little more low-end for most folks, announcing it was bringing its “A-g” brand locally, with a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a pair of truly wireless. They both come in under $200, though the truly wireless Ag TWS04K aims to get attention with one feature alone. While there’s no noise cancelling tech here, it comes with a staggering 180 hours of battery life. If you want noise cancelling, you might want to turn to the Sony WF-1000XM4, which was announced this week, and something we’re reviewing right now. And these come with high expectations, because we’ve called the XM3 the best earphones for two years in a row. The new pair, the XM4 comes, with a more bulbous design that mightn’t fit your ears, but does an extraordinary job for sound. They’re warm and brilliant, and the noise cancelling is solid too. The transparency mode might be among the best we’ve heard, and basically gives you a personal soundtrack while listening to the world. They’re also smaller than before, with a case that supports wireless charging, and provides a total of 24 hours of life. In fact, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are better in just about every way, though the fit can be hard. They do come with a new foam material for tips, but you still might need to spend some time getting them right. But they are the best so far and easily the new benchmark. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Apple’s Updates & Sony’s Best Earphones appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
The Wrap – Big Headphones, Fast Laptops, and Atari Returns
This week on The Wrap, we’ll look at what’s new in the world of laptops from Intel and AMD, plus Australia’s new music service, a pair of big HiFi headphones, and the return of Atari, all in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/b66f6063-a903-4db4-a667-ad3c00d7a595/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s the beginning June 2021, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with next week likely to be dominated by all things Apple, courtesy of WWDC, the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, this week we’re going to try to focus on things not made by Apple. All while trying to speak after having a cold. That’s why we might sound a little different this week. And not because we’ve been up writing about Computex, the world’s mid-year computer show, which has seen new computer and graphics chips launch, giving us an idea of just what’s coming in new laptops very, very shortly. And speed is it. Specifically, Intel is launching chips for thin and light laptops that can hit as fast as 5GHz, meaning lots of speed could well be something your next ultra-portable will have. That’s good news for people creating content, but if you’re someone who happens to game, there’s news there, too, with both AMD and Intel launching new hardware for gamers in laptops at the show, as well. What it all means is that your next laptop won’t just be very portable, but very capable, too. There are a few computers set to arrive with this tech, including some from Asus and Alienware, but we suspect we’ll hear about more very soon. And that’s just a sampling of what’s new this week, because there’s fair bit more, too. For instance, Australia is getting a new music service to choose from this week, as the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and Qobuz have another player, coming in “Moodagent”. Yes, that’s its real name, and it’s a little different. While most music services allow you to pick a song or artist, Moodagent is about matching your music to specific moods, and shaping the sound of what you hear accordingly. If it sounds a little like Pandora for when you’re happy and sad, you’re somewhat there, and it’s a service that will work on your phone and computer, and cost $12 per month. Moodagent isn’t all that’s new. Canon talked up what’s coming in its next major camera, the EOS R3, which will offer 30 frames per second RAW photography and sharper focus in what is basically a big full-frame mirrorless camera for the brand. Huawei has a new Watch and tablet coming with its own operating system, Harmony, given that Android is largely out of the picture still. There are new smart lights coming shortly from Nanoleaf that look a little like wood panels mounted to a wall. You’ll find those in the Nanoleaf Elements, while Atari is bringing the wood another way, and returning to homes with a neat little console cross movie platform. It’s called the Atari VCS or Atari Video Computer System, and it’s basically a computer wrapped up in a wooden box made to look like a classic Atari console. It can play the classic Atari games and comes with a classic joystick, but it can also be used as a computer, with Windows or another operating system loaded. Atari’s VCS will also support streaming services, so it’s kind of like an Atari made like a gaming console for today. Priced at $850, Atari’s VCS won’t be for everyone, but retro gamers who prefer old games to new ones just might be convinced. You’re probably more easily convinced with phones that cost that much because that’s pretty normal. Flagship phones tend to command prices over the thousand dollar mark, even if we’ve not seen a whole heap in Australia this year, largely leaving it to Oppo and Samsung. However another player is entering the ring, this one you might not have heard of, with Vivo launching something interesting in the X60 Pro. Another of those 5G phones, Vivo’s X60 Pro is its second big phone in Australia, after last year’s X50 — which you also probably didn’t hear about — and the focus this year is on, shock horror, the camera. Simply put, Vivo has teamed up with the Zeiss of Carl Zeiss to make this camera, so much that it has Zeiss lenses and a portrait mode inspired by old Zeiss lenses. There’s even something in there to hold the camera tight when it’s moving, potentially giving you more control. It’ll come in the three camera 6.56 inch X60 Pro for a little over a grand later this month. And our final gadget of the show is one that costs over a grand, closer to the $1500 mark. In fact, it’s a pair of headphones that is less gadgety than normal, but still very, very good. They’re a pair of French headphones from Focal, the Celestee, and they may actually be some of the best headphones around. They’re clear and balanced, and offer a sound that really delivers. But in a wireless world, they can be a bit of a hard ask, because the Focal Celestee are wired headphones only. You’ll need to plug these in, you’ll probably want an amp to do it, and the cable is too short to matter. At $1399, the price isn’t bad for a pair of genuinely great HiFi headphones, but with so many great wireless headphones out there and more on the way, we’re not sure these will appeal to anyone but the most ardent of audiophiles. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Big Headphones, Fast Laptops, and Atari Returns appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | May 28, 2021
The Wrap – Big News, Big TVs, and the Biggest iPad
This week on The Wrap, it’s a big show packed with big gadgets. From the biggest iPad Pro to big TVs, a big camera, and the biggest news about how USB could change in a big way, this is a big show you won’t want to miss. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/b93cdc54-9a66-4adb-bb30-ad3600185808/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the last week of May 2021, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week, there’s big news and big reviews. Literally. The stories this week are on items that are big, big, big, and yet we only have five minutes, which is a little amount of time, so let’s get stuck in. Starting with the big news in USB, a technology we all use all the time. You use USB on your phone to charge it up, and you use USB for so much else. USB charging is on headphones, speakers, cameras, game controllers, and so much more, and may even be on your computer. Most laptops made in the past few years can take a USB Type C connection to charge from, and it may go beyond that very soon. The folks behind USB have announced this week that it could soon sport up to 240 watts of power, meaning meaty laptops, select desktop computers like the iMac, and big monitors could soon take a USB cable to charge from. Right now, the limit is 100 watts, which means some big laptops can charge from USB, but this increase means that our world will be more USB friendly in the years to come. TVs might not get there, mind you — they’re big and powerful, but they’ll probably be a different cable — and there are new models on the way. Sony showed off its new OLED TVs this week, not expected for a month or two, but it also has LED backlit TVs, too. We checked out the X90J this week, and it’s a nice screen, though it mightn’t be as nice as the crazy big screen LG announced recently. Mind you, LG’s crazy big Signature R1 OLED isn’t that big — it’s 65 inches — but it comes with a positively massive price, asking for $130,000 when it launches in July. You might be wondering what exactly makes a TV cost that much money, particularly when it’s not cinema-size. After all, the most expensive OLED right now is LG’s 88 inch Zed X, and it’s an 88 inch 8K screen for $72,000 dollars. The Signature R1 is smaller and yet almost twice the cost. Well, to make it more expensive, LG is including technology no other TV has, because the R1 OLED rolls up. Think of it as a TV that can do a disappearing trick, rolling out from its stand and appearing before you, and then disappearing into its base when you don’t want it there. That trick will set you back a cool 130 Gs, making it the most expensive TV when it arrives in July. We’re not even sure if this technology will trickle down, but OLED is getting less expensive overall, and you can find it on more TV choices this year, so much that it will start at a little past the 2K mark in Australia this year. It’s not the only tech to trickle down to other models. Epson’s work-focused EcoTank tech is coming to photo printers this year, with both an A3 and A4 model meaning photographers may not have to rely on printer cartridges and can instead opt for ink they just refill directly to the printer. Panasonic is also trickling some of tech from its high-end movie cameras to models you can hold in your hand, announcing the Lumix GH5 Mark 2, which gets broadcast-like live wireless streaming for a camera with interchangeable lenses, and cinema-like video capture modes for 4K film-making. And Snapchat — you know, the social media app — is connecting augmented reality to people more than ever, with AR there if you plan to shop using your phone in the near future. You might even be able to digitally wear clothing to see how it looks on you before you order. We live in a crazy world where you don’t actually need to try something on to know how you look in it, and it’s a world where an iPad can cost almost the proverbial arm and a leg. That’s what we’re checking out this week in our review, with the 12.9 inch iPad Pro being put through its paces, a seriously big tablet with a seriously big price. Starting from the $1600 mark for the 12.9 inch model and $1200 for the smaller 11 inch, these are serious tablets for people who need them. But more than ever, the new iPad Pro is also kind of like a computer thanks to what’s inside. You see Apple is using the same chip from its MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, and the new iMac, with the Apple M1 at the heart. That makes it fast and capable, and there’s a hyper impressive Mini LED screen like from some of the new TVs in the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Yet what it doesn’t have is support for Mac apps. Even though the M1 Macs can run both Mac apps and iPad apps, you only get the latter on the iPad, and we think Apple needs to change that. The new iPad Pro is so good and so powerful and so expensive, but you just need to be given the chance to decide how to use it the way you want to, because right now nothing really takes advantage of all that hardware. Maybe Apple will change that at its Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC, in the coming days. We’ll know more when it does. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care. The story The Wrap – Big News, Big TVs, and the Biggest iPad appeared first on Pickr, written by Leigh :) Stark.
5 minutes | Jul 23, 2020
The Wrap – The Best Phones of 2020 So Far
It’s the middle of the year, and it’s time to wrap up the year’s best phones so far. If you had to buy a new phone now, what should you consider? Find out in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/94637a84-2ce0-4cee-a3ea-ac0100e73f7c/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s the middle of the year — can you believe it’s July? — and this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and I think it’s pretty safe to say no one quite expected a year like this. A year that hasn’t gone according to plan. Any plan, really. 2020 has been strange, and we all kind of know why: COVID-19, the coronavirus, something that has dented pretty much everything, from travel plans to jobs and economies, health, politics, you name it. COVID has had an effect, and 2020 has been poorer for it. That means the regular year of tech hasn’t quite been the same, even if it started in much the same way. First there was CES in Las Vegas with a bunch of new devices being shown off, TVs and computers and security and whatnot, but with Mobile World Congress cancelled a month later, phones have largely been left in a strange position. Instead, mobile companies have been announcing and releasing them gradually, more gradually than we’ve seen in some time, and that has meant 2020 has been a little strange for phones. We’re in July, the halfway point of the year, and while we’re normally flooded with mobiles by this time, right now feels a little more bare than has been. There are certainly phones on the way, but if you had to buy a new phone now — if you had to buy a phone today — what would you get? We’ve assembled some of Australia’s best tech journo minds for that very question, to find out what’s worth spending your money on, and whether new technology like foldables is where you should plonk your cash if you had to. Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold 2020 has been a weird year for phones. In the premium space foldables have kind of flopped. Sad but true. So if you’re looking at the best premium phone, probably the Oppo Find X2 Pro, great all rounder hits all the sweet spots at quite a decent kind of price. That’s Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer and Host of the Vertical Hold podcast, who told us that the Find X2 Pro was his favourite flagship so far, and he’s not alone. Alex Choros, Managing Editor of WhistleOut The Find X2 Pro is the actual flagship that makes the least amount of compromises. They’re a little underwhelming this year, but Find X2 Pro delivers excellent cameras and a stunning display at a pretty reasonable price. It’s just a shame the battery isn’t a little better. That’s Alex Choros, Managing Editor for WhistleOut, who agreed with the Find X2 Pro, and it’s one we agree with as well. While Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra are both good phones, if you had to spend flagship dollars on a mobile in July, the X2 Pro delivers a solid phone with 5G, a great set of cameras, and water resistance. It just needs better battery life and wireless charging. If you don’t want to spend flagship money, you might want to look at something a little unexpected: an iPhone, or more specifically, the iPhone SE 2, which we thought was a real winner, and Alex Choros did, too. Alex Choros, Managing Editor of WhistleOut As for the iPhone SE it’s just great to see a new affordable iPhone, and more importantly, an affordable iPhone that will continue to get software updates for years to come. It’s easily the best value phone you can buy right now. It’s an opinion shared by Alex Kidman, who agreed, but added another option for anyone looking to spend closer to the $700 mark. Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold The iPhone SE 2 is a real standout insanely powerful for its price, although the battery life really does suffer as a result. I’d also highly advocate for the Realme X3 Superzoom: great camera on that for the money, nice design, overall nice performance.. That covers the high-end and the mid-range, but what if you wanted to spend a little less? Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold it’s in the budget space that I think the real excitement is, because you get some amazing phones for about $200-$300 and the models there that I’d suggest you look at are things like the Realme C3 or Oppo A52 or Alcatel’s 3L: they’re all really terribly affordable phones that just absolutely hit all the basic things that you need out of a phone and hit them pretty well. They make a real challenge to both the mid range and premium phone markets. The point of all of this is that even though the phone world can feel a little slow at the moment, there are still phones out there that can fill the gap. Of course you don’t have to buy anything at all. You might have a phone that works wonders already, and might just be biding your time, which is fine. A lot is coming, and some of it in the very near future. Samsung’s Galaxy Note range looks set to launch in the first week of August, while Google’s follow-up to one of last year’s best phones, the mid-range Pixel 3a, is due any minute now. And that’s before you mention the Pixel 5 some time this year, Apple’s new iPhones expected in the iPhone 12 range, and whatever else is coming from LG, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Realme, TCL, and others. We might even see HTC make an appearance. Simply put, there’s no shortage of phones, but if you had to get something now, we’d probably look at the iPhone SE or the Find X2 Pro. Thanks to both Alex’s for coming on the show, and you’ve been listening to a special half year episode of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will return next week for more technology in the space of five, but until then have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – The Best Phones of 2020 So Far appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jul 16, 2020
The Wrap – Fast Charging & Mobile Extras
Your phone might be your life, but what about all those mobile extras? This week, we’ll talk about how mobile charging is getting better and the accessories we can’t live without, plus review Google’s Pixel Buds 2. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/d248c464-3884-48fb-92a2-abfa0173e27e/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the middle of July 2020, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and even though you might not be as dependent on your phone as you once were — thank you coronavirus and this whole life working from home — you’re probably still just as reliant, just in different ways. We still use phones for apps, for games, for texting, social media, web browsing, the camera, listening to music, and even sometimes making and taking phone calls, too, and even if we’re not out and about like we once were, we likely still have the same issues, such as battery life. It’s an issue that isn’t easy to fix, especially as screens and features get better for phones, the worse the battery life. The higher quality the screen, the more pixels the phone has to fire, the more the battery is likely to suffer, and that’s just the start. If you have a 5G phone, you’re likely going to see battery life drop a bit, and the more you use the camera or GPS, too, the same applies. So what’s the solution? Well it might be a bigger battery, but that’s not always going to help. We’ve seen big batteries in 2020’s phones, and the battery life hasn’t stretched that far into the second day to really count for much. But the battery charger might be a solution, particularly if companies can get the charge time down. Oppo and Realme have come up with an answer in that this week, unveiling 125 watt chargers that can recharge a big 4000 milliamp battery in 20 minutes. That’s a full charge, from zero to 100, but it can handle a third of that big battery in three minutes. No joke: three. It’ll need a USB Type C plug and a pretty high-powered adaptor, which Oppo calls flash charging and Realme calls UltraDart, but it’s the same thing across the brands, which are siblings to each other. While the jargon might be confusing, all you really need to know is the battery recharging is fast when used with one of these gadgets, and can charge laptops and tablets, too. It should be compatible with phones from Oppo and Realme now, and there’s also a wireless version which is fast, just not as fast. However these aren’t the only extras that can help your mobile, and there’s plenty out there, some of it from this week alone. If you’re an Optus customer, one of those extras is unlimited data if you pay for it in a $5 daily add on. That’s unlimited data for five bucks a day, whether you’re using 4G or 5G. Data isn’t the only mobile announcement this week, as Apple unleashes the public betas of iOS 14 for iPhone and iPad ahead of the releases later in the year. They’re not yet final, and not going to be for everyone, with the releases only great if you’re okay with living a little dangerously, because betas have bugs. We’ve found iOS 14 on the iPhone more stable than we expected, but the camera has been a touch buggy, and occasionally the phone needed a reset to make the WiFi work again, but that’s it. We don’t think every iPhone owner should upgrade to the beta of iOS 14, but when it comes out later in the year, it’s shaping up to be a very interesting upgrade all the same. It’s not the only upgrade that’s interesting, either. Belkin has updated its nightstand and desk-bound wireless chargers, now adding support for both iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, making for an ideal accessory for iPhone owners that can work with some other devices, too, It joins an updated Bang & Olufsen A1 speaker, which is still flat and round, but now has water resistance, a longer battery life, and support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. And there’s also a new pair of earphones out in Australia, as Google joins with a pair of its own. Yes, the Pixel Buds have returned, and this time, they’re actually not half bad. The first Pixel Buds rocked up in 2017, and weren’t fantastic. Hardly cordless and not worth the price, they were easily missable, which is distinct from this year’s approach to the Pixel Buds. Instead, Google has taken an approach similar to Apple and Jabra in the new Pixel Buds, cutting the cord with tiny wireless earphones that fit in a small case. Less like the AirPods and more like Jabra’s 65t and 75t, the Pixel Buds are a $279 pair of earphones with no cords that play nicely with either iPhone or Android, but best with Android, to be sure. On Android, you can find either the app or the controls built in, and that gives you control over some of the features, including an adaptive volume mode which raises the volume based on what they hear. It’s not like noise cancellation, but it’s a kind of solution that you can turn off. With or without it, the Pixel Buds offer touch controls which kind of work, and a type of sound which is comfortable to listen to, but needs a bit of work in the bass. They’re definitely an improvement over the original — they’d have to be — but at just under $300, you can see Google is basically building a version of Apple’s AirPods for Android, complete with a little water resistance. But there are easily better wireless earphones out there, all you really need to do is look. There’s plenty out there, we might even wrap it in a future episode, but right now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap returns next week for more technology in five, but until then, have a great week. Stay safe, and take care. The post The Wrap – Fast Charging & Mobile Extras appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jul 9, 2020
The Wrap – A SciFi Now
It’s 2020 and there’s no flying cars, so where are they? And is 8K more than just a high-res dream, plus how is TV changing to become more social? All that and more in five minutes. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/076137e2-030c-49eb-96e2-abf30164597f/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the week ending July 10, 2020, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while it can feel a lot like the year hasn’t quite gone according to plan — thank you Coronavirus — some things are beginning to firm up. It’s 2020 and we still don’t have flying cars, so the science fiction element hasn’t quite come to life yet, but a part of rural New South Wales will at least be used to Electric Vertical TakeOff and Landing vehicles, suggesting flying cars are at least on the way. Gradually. Bit by bit. While we wait for our science fiction future, we can settle on a slightly more accessible present, which includes things this week that might feel a little sci-fi all the same. Take two things announced by Samsung this week, with one delivering an almost dry cleaning system for your home, while the other is a very special kind of TV. The dry cleaning one is first, and it’s called the AirDresser, which is a standalone box for your bedroom, office, or anywhere else you typically rest your clothes, and uses steam to refresh your clothes and get rid of odours, bacteria, and viruses. Think of it as a steam-based washing machine in a box for clothes you don’t want to risk running through a tumble cycle, because that’s largely what it is. There’s no chemical or solvent, so it won’t clean the way a dry cleaner will. But Samsung’s AirDresser does read as a way to refresh and revive clothes which may smell a bit too much like a night you’re trying to move on from. Samsung’s other bit of sci-fi this week comes from its TV department, which has released its unusual Sero TV in Australia. You may recall these from earlier in the year when Samsung first announced the idea at CES: the Sero is basically a TV that can rotate, providing a widescreen image for regular TV viewing, but can rotate to become a tall widescreen device when it’s used with a phone. This is a bit of a weird one, truth be told, and is more of a social TV. We’re not sure if TV is a social experience in general, but Samsung’s Sero aims to make it happen, provided you have a cool $2300 lying around, which is how much it will cost locally. Feeling SciFi might come from how you connect with the world, because that’s changing, too. Google recently added augmented reality to its searches, so now some of the things you search can almost appear like they do in the real world, except through your phone. All through the magic of augmented reality. You can bring dinosaurs to life with a recent development, showing just how small you’d be against a T-Rex or Triceratops using a phone or tablet and augmented reality. Snapchat and Gucci teamed up for some of that this week, with the collaboration allowing you to try on Gucci shoes digitally through the Snapchat app. You’ll still need to wear socks and you can’t walk around in these virtual shoes, but it might just save you a trip to the store, and we’ll be curious to see if any other brands do something similar soon. And there’s things happening in the world of 8K, too, a video resolution which largely feels like the stuff of early adopters, but is gradually becoming real and legit. While last year might have kicked the world of 8K off with a slow and very cost-prohibitive start, 2020 is seeing more TVs and more choice. We’re going to see more monitor support on computers, too, thanks to the availability of Thunderbolt 4, which will look like Thunderbolt 3 and that Type C USB connection we’ve all gotten familiar with, meaning the changes are under the hood. That’s better for you, because it means the ports you use won’t change, just improvements to the technology. 8K still has a problem with content, because good luck finding any. Right now, if you buy an 8K TV in Australia, you’ll basically just be upscaling any content you find, because there is no 8K content anywhere. But you can always make your own. There are 8K cameras in quite a few of this year’s phones, and there’s now a proper 8K camera on the way from Canon, the EOS R5. It’s another one of Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera, part of the company’s “R” series, but this one sports a crazy 45 megapixel sensor and support for that 8K video capability. Aspiring Steven Spielbergs and Ridley Scotts will see the draw in that, but photographers may be inclined to check it out simply because you can cut out a 35 megapixel image out of an 8K video. That’s some real versatility there. The R5 will also get a very impressive image stabilisation system working in both the body and lens, and that gets shared to Canon’s other new camera, the R6, a body sporting 4K video and a 20 megapixel sensor, but just a little more in the low-light department. Both cameras are geared at enthusiasts and pros, and they come with price points to match, with the R6 netting around five grand, while the 8K capable R5 will steer the argument closer to the seven grand mark. Those are not cheap cameras to be sure, but if you need this level of quality and definition, we can definitely see why you’d glance this way. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. We’ll be back next week for more technology in five, but until then, have a great week. Stay safe, and take care. The post The Wrap – A SciFi Now appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jul 2, 2020
The Wrap – Staying Connected
This week on The Wrap, we’ll talk connectivity speeds and options, plus uses, covering NBN, 5G, augmented reality, gaming PCs, and more. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/aefb91b2-7196-4ba1-8a16-abec016d682d/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the beginning of July 2020, the start of a new financial year, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week, we start the show looking at connectivity. It’s something we’re reliant on day in and day out, and depending on where you happen to be, you’ll likely rely on a different type. If you’re out and about, gradually returning to a world that has seriously changed in the past few months, you’re checking up on things using 4G or 5G. That can be fast, and it can also be expensive, because depending on who you’re with, prices might be changing. That’s certainly the case for Telstra this week, which will see a few plans rise by five bucks this week, while Telstra’s suggestion that it would charge for 5G access won’t quite pan out, provided you’re on a $65 monthly plan or higher. If 5G is a priority, Telstra isn’t the only option out there. Vodafone is playing with 5G in select places, as is Optus, the latter of which is now testing the more advanced millimeter wave technology, which is also being tested by Telstra, as well. We’re seeing more 5G devices in Australia lately, which is good news for people who want that fast mobile connectivity, but what if you’re at home? Many of us are spending a lot of time at home, particularly in Victoria where the lockdown isn’t quite over, so much that NBN Co has even come out with stats showing data consumption is up. Speed may not be the same, though. If you’re watching all the Netflix and Stan and Disney and so on, and streaming all the music, and sharing it with a household, you may see those 25 or 50 or even 100 megabit max speeds drop. Fortunately, we’re seeing some change, with faster plans in Australia. There are 250 and 1000 megabit plans now, both of which offer up to those speeds, with Vodafone joining the handful of companies who do just that. Those are some impressive speeds if you can net them, and while a megabit isn’t the same as a megabyte, divide by eight, and you’ll get the amount. That means a 250 megabit connection is sharing 31 megabytes per second, while a 1000 megabit is sharing as much as 125 megabytes per second. That’s good news if you’re going to use it for gaming, and suggests near to no lag should be possible if you do this, though making sure you have a good gaming PC is part of that, too. There have been a few of those recently, with two models from Dell arriving for folks keen to spend a little less than the flagship Alienware computers. You’ll find them in the G5 desktop and G7 laptop, priced from $1600 and $2400 respectively, and they’re not alone. Acer recently offered its own take on new machines, with options for gamers, creatives, and even a variant for folks who need their computers to be a little more rugged. Choice is always a good thing, whether it’s in the variety of computers you have to choose from, those telcos we mentioned earlier — and a whole lot of others — down to the sheer number of phone options you have when it comes time to buy something new. And this week, there is indeed something new, as Oppo’s sister brand Realme announces the X3, a more premium take for Realme, which includes some pretty spiffy flagship parts with a price tag that may not feel quite as top end. There are two front cameras here, plus a camera system on the back capable of using digital zoom to hit 60 times superzoom, though it’ll do 10 times optical when you’re using it rather normally. That makes it a fairly capable camera system for a phone, and the hits don’t stop there. The Realme X3 includes a fairly high-end Snapdragon 855 processor, 8 or 12GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of storage, and a 120Hz 6.6 inch screen, one of those ultra-fast displays you’re seeing on phones that typically cost over a grand. Yet the Realme X3 doesn’t quite hit that. Locally, it’s much lower, sitting at $699, and giving bargain hunters a potentially interesting option to consider in their search. It’s not the only really interesting thing this week, with augmented reality one of those other interesting things rolled out this week. You may not be familiar with augmented reality, but it’s known by the term “AR”, and basically means throwing the digital world into the real world. You don’t need a VR headset, though; your phone can do it, and this week it can do a little more, as Google rolls out life-size dinosaurs in Google search, while Snapchat will let you try on Gucci shoes using your phone. Both concepts use augmented reality, which means your phone shows something through your phone’s camera, allowing you to see on the screen. This sort of stuff isn’t going away, either, and will need solid connectivity, whatever you can get, but right now, an internet connection and a recent phone is all you really need. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next week for more tech in five. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – Staying Connected appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
The Wrap – What’s Next From Apple?
This week on The Wrap, we’ll find out what’s happening in the world of Apple with iOS, watchOS, macOS, and more, plus what else the week of tech entailed. All that in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/568e1504-ac04-4a00-b6de-abe5017b8250/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript It’s the end of June 2020, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and if you’re someone with an Apple device or someone who wants one, there are a lot of changes coming, which we’ll be covering shortly. It wasn’t just an Apple week, though. Other things happened, like with Olympus, which won’t be making cameras anymore, it seems, or at least not in the way it once did. Olympus first started making cameras in the 1930s, and this week, the company has announced that it will sell its Imaging division to another company. It will still support current and older models, and there should be new models of Olympus cameras on the way, too, it just might not be the same. We guess we’ll leave the Micro Four Thirds cameras to Panasonic, which clearly has quite a foothold in this category. This week, Panasonic even added one of those to its list with the G100, a camera focused on content creation with 4K video and an audio system that can capture and track sound from where it’s coming from, potentially making for better movie making in a camera you can hold. That’s a more professional style of filmmaking, even in something small, but if you’re looking for movies online, that’s something else entirely. In fact, if you’re looking for films online, Google is planning to help out, launching Google search features if you ask the search engine what you should watch. Much of what comes out of this is based on what’s popular and trending around the web, though Google told us that it could also come from your search history and any trailers you’ve watched on YouTube, which is great if you search for yourself, and possibly a little more G-rated if you search for things for your children. And before we get into Apple-everything, if you’re missing the pub trivia night, you might be keen to try a little feature on Amazon’s Alexa-enabled speakers if you have one, with trivia added there. You can ask Alexa to give you an easy quiz or even a pub quiz, but you won’t win a meat tray or anything fun like an iPhone. Fortunately if you already have an iPhone, or anything else made by Apple, it might feel like a new product later this year thanks to some updates that are on the way. That’s the big news from Apple this week, using its Worldwide Developer’s Conference WWDC to talk up all the big things the iPhone maker has in store for the year. And what a series of announcements it was, with updates for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and the Mac, as well. In the world of the iPhone, you’ll see iOS 14 later in the year, and it will see some changes, some of which may feel a little like other mobile operating systems. You’ll now be able to load in tiny apps in the form of widgets, and throw them on any home screen, much like how Android has worked for years. The approach is familiar, and there’s even a Smart Stack widget that combines a bunch of familiar apps and lets you flick between the ones you want quickly, while an App Library screen will offer an easy way to see all your apps categorised in one place. There are other things, such as a slimmer design for Siri and phone calls, and some hyper local weather forecasting, plus a way to turn your iPhone into a set of car keys for new cars, but it’s not the only Apple device getting neat features. iPad OS will see support for handwriting with scribbles and more smart home control, while Apple TV will be able to talk to video doorbells and get video notifications while you watch TV. If you own a pair of Apple’s excellent AirPods Pro, you’ll soon get a form of spatial audio allowing you to experience 3D surround complete with head tracking, moving your head in the sound stage. It’s something specific to the AirPods Pro, though if you have other Apple or Beats recent earphones, you also will get a form of multi-device playback, with Apple switching from device to device for you. And the Apple Watch gets a change, too, now able to track and countdown the time it takes you wash your hands, which is clearly a big deal. It will also track sleep, something that’s quite important, and will let you share watch faces. Perhaps even more interesting, you can download Apple Watch faces from websites, too. Finally MacOS will also see a sleeker design with smart home control thrown in, plus more privacy and security from Safari, and even more support for apps made for iOS. That’s a big deal because Apple is also making one other change, and will move away from Intel inside its computers. Within the next two years, Apple will be changing its computers to make the jump to its own chips, similar to what’s in its phones. It’s a change that should deliver solid performance, and will mean iOS apps may run on both iPhone and Mac without major change, which will mean Apple’s phone and computer can come together. That’s coming in the future, and is just one more thing to look forward to. The chip change is a little bit down the track, but the OS updates should be here in the next few months. And don’t worry about current Intel-based Macs either. Apple still has some on the way, and will be supporting a Mac you might own for the time to come. However big things for the Mac are on the way. Things to look forward to. Right now, though, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next week for more tech in five. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – What’s Next From Apple? appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
The Wrap – Inexpensive Phones & The PlayStation 5
This week on The Wrap, we’ll explore what makes mid-range phones all about the value, and review Moto’s G8 for you. Plus we’ll talk about laptops, headphones, and Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 5. All that in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/43bb9946-ab84-4ab9-be13-abde017b9859/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the week ending June 19, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and there’s change in the air. Change if you’re getting a little tired of both your phone and your video game system. We all have one of the former, and many of us have the latter, and there’s change for both on the horizon. Phones seem to change more often than any other category, and we tend to spend a pretty sizeable chunk of change on them, but you might not need to. While the highest price points of between a thousand and three are where all the amazing phones each year typically are, amazing can mean more than one thing. Amazing might mean amazing value, and there’s quite a bit happening in that world lately. We are, of course, talking about the mid-range, a part of the market that basically positions phones at between $300 and a thousand. It might seem broad, but these days when you’re shopping for a phone, this area is a big deal, because not only are you spending less, we’re seeing the technology trickle down from the high-end, making phones more affordable for everyone. What you can find in this category is interesting. A few years ago, buying a phone for cheap often meant enough for your dollar, but that was about it. These days, the mid-range may well be the place to be. We took a look at 2020’s mid-range phones this week, and looking at Oppo, Realme, Motorola, Alcatel, LG, and Samsung, there’s a pretty clear trend towards the big things, with a big number of cameras, big screens, and a big battery. In the camera department, you can usually expect one big standard camera accompanied by much smaller really specific cameras, usually for ultra-wide shots, macros, and portraiture, while big screens measuring 6 inches and higher are fairly common. And you get a big battery to last you all day plus a decent amount into the second day, too. And this year, you even get Near-Field Communication, which means mobile payment support. There are one camera options in Apple’s excellent iPhone SE, not to mention Google’s Pixel 3a which is due for a replacement in the yet to be announced Pixel 4a, and these are premium phones that basically sit as great mid-range phones bordering on flagship. They add to the mid-range, though, and alongside the other great options, make this category really, truly compelling. We’re talking big value in the mid-range, with prices that feel more like regular phone cost, and don’t hit into laptop territory too easily. The worst part about phones is easily the price, and the feeling that you could get so much more for your dollar, which is what mid-range is meant to solve. The sheer availability of choices also means it’s harder to get a dud, though we’ll always tell you to check reviews. Like this week, we checked out the Moto G8, Motorola’s $329 mid-range phone sporting a large screen, large battery, and a relatively large really neat three camera solution, complete with a cute little macro camera, though the megapixel amount isn’t enough to matter. The Moto G8 is Motorola’s latest attempt at the mid-range, and it’s a nice feeling phone with a 6.3 inch screen, a relatively capable battery life hitting close to two full days, and a quite clean version of Android. It’s a nice phone, but not an amazing phone, and it misses something we think the mid-range needs this year: NFC. There are no mobile payments on the Moto G8, which is a weird omission, given competitors are supporting it. At a little over $300, we think Moto could have done better, and given what’s coming out from Alcatel, Oppo, and Realme, would suggest having a look around. Having a look around in other categories will get you a few other things, too. For instance, Grado has hemp-infused headphones in a special edition release, while Lifeproof has released recycled ocean plastic in the form of smartphone cases. Razer also has an super pricey portable workstation in the Blade Studio Edition, and ahead of its Worldwide Developers Conference next week, Apple has updated the 16 inch MacBook Pro to support even more capable graphics, ideal for animators and game developers. That’s good news for folks making games for next gen consoles, because there are two on the horizon, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. Both are on the way to stores for the holiday season, and while we’ve not yet seen the games for the new Xbox, this week, Sony gave a glimpse to what you can expect from the PS5. There’ll be two versions of the PlayStation 5 — with or without a Blu-ray drive — and they’ll be powerful, rocking faster new hardware and some very capable graphics for the next generation of gaming. Both will play nicely with 4K TVs, and you can expect them to largely represent what gaming looks like from here on in, some 26 years after the first PlayStation arrived. Of course there are new accessories aplenty and a new controller, but there are no prices as of yet. We don’t expect the Playstation 5 will be cheap, so you might want to start saving right about now. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap goes online every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and will be back next week for more tech in five. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – Inexpensive Phones & The PlayStation 5 appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | Jun 4, 2020
The Wrap – Big Sound & Budget Phones
There’s a lot happening lately, from big phones without a big price, to big sound coming home. This week on The Wrap, we’ll talk why big phones with lots of cameras are getting cheaper, and the latest big sound you can get at home from Sonos. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/36a35bc7-941a-43f8-9a7d-abd001875a2d/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript For the first week of June 2020, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we start this show with a look at phones. That’s not so unusual these days, as phones are a massive part of what we use in our lives, but these days, it feels like phones are becoming more economical. And that’s not a bad thing, either. You’re always going to have some people happy to spend on the latest and greatest, of course, but if you could spend less, we’re fairly sure quite a few people would. And while 2020 has its problems, inexpensive phones doesn’t appear to be one of them. Mobile World Congress might have been cancelled this year, thank you coronavirus, but phone companies are still churning out and releasing products in a big way, and one of the main areas they’re serving is the budget and mid-range. Or to put it simply, phones prices between $300 and $700. That is effectively the mid range, and anything below it gets to a properly budget category. In recent weeks, we’ve seen quite a bit come out in these categories. There have been phones from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Nokia, Oppo, and Realme, and they’ve all typically had one thing in common. Well, more than one thing, but one major thing that becomes obvious when you see them: they all sport more than two cameras. It’s definitely a trend this year, and after you get past Android phones being Android, and having big screens and big batteries, not to mention budget prices, the other key feature appears to be multiple cameras. So what does this mean for budgets? Do we instantly get great photos for not much cash? Well, kind of. Depending on how much you choose to spend in a 2020 phone, you could see more versatility in your smartphone camera. Take the Moto G8 range launched this year, which get you a 16 megapixel camera alongside ultra-wide and macro cameras. LG, Oppo, and Samsung step it up a bit to four cameras, some of them with bigger sensors and depth cameras for those portrait shots. And what this means is that slightly more versatility is within reach even if you choose not to spend as much on a big smartphone. Not everything in the mid-range works this way, though some of the single camera phones are clearly the ones to beat. The iPhone SE has one camera only, but it’s a very good camera, basically acting like the camera on the iPhone XR, but in a somewhat budget approach. Google’s Pixel 3a is due to be replaced very shortly, but last year when we reviewed it, we liked what its one camera could do. The long and short is that if you want more out of a phone camera this year, you may not have to spend big to get it. Not like in sound, where you typically want to do just that. The bigger and more expensive the headphones or speakers, typically the bigger and better the sound, though there are other factors. Take home theatre audio, which has a new style of sound coming to it thanks to a new format. Or new-ish. It’s been in cinemas for several years now, but the technology is fairly new at home. It’s called Dolby Atmos, but the proper name for it may as well be 3D sound, because that’s what it is. It’s sound that fires up and around you, bouncing off walls and ceilings, and able to deliver audio in the space you sit, doing a little more than regular surround. This week, it’s coming to another speaker, as Sonos looks set to release the Arc, a big soundbar for big rooms that comes packing Dolby Atmos, and it’s something we’ve been checking out. At a buck under $1400, it’s not necessarily inexpensive, but it comes packing the sound, thanks to eleven drivers and eleven amps. They fire from the front and side, while two fire up for 3D sound, and the result is an impact that really delivers, practically everywhere but the back. If we had to cite one place the Sonos Arc doesn’t do well, it’s the rear, but because it’s part of the Sonos system, you can fix that by throwing in a couple of Sonos speakers back there. It can get a little expensive throwing in two rear speakers, but do that, and the surround sound is complete, so much that it’s like having your own theatre sound system at home. What the Sonos Arc brings to the table is a dimensionality of sound and level of volume that feels more versatile than a traditional surround sound system. To make Dolby Atmos work, Sonos is using upward firing speakers alongside some pretty rich and capable drivers for front and sides, and while they never really hit the back, the sound stage is staggering. There’s more bass to this system than it feels there should be, and there’s even support for Atmos Music, a new format that feel like it sits you in the centre of the sound. All of this results in one of the best soundbars we’ve experienced yet, which helps that value get delivered. It’s not only Sonos’ best speaker, it’s damn fine soundbar, too, and highly recommended. And that’s all the time we have for this episode of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap goes online every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more of what we deliver, technology in the space of five minutes. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – Big Sound & Budget Phones appeared first on Pickr.
5 minutes | May 28, 2020
The Wrap – Easy WiFi Wins
This week, we’re looking at easy WiFi wins for home, and how you can make wireless that much better in your life. We’ll even talk to Google and D-Link to find out how. All in five. https://traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/820f09cf-2ace-4180-a92d-aa4c0008f5fb/7d692c1f-5ae5-484f-a4a9-aa4c0176adbb/8cb093d4-b5e6-4d62-92cc-abc901587207/audio.mp3 Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts… Transcript The working world has changed and its taking a toll on your WiFi. Somewhere between your phone, laptop, and all the other devices in your life, your WiFi is struggling. So how do you fix it? On this episode of The Wrap, we’re going to look at easy WiFi wins and how you can get the best out of your home’s WiFi right now. Wireless networking has long been one of those set and forget things. You might still be using the router that came with your internet connection, and have never really given it a second thought. Until now. We kind of just expect wireless networking to be good no matter the situation. But we’re using more devices than ever before, because if it relies on the internet, there’s a good chance it’s wireless. It’s not just your computers or phones, it’s everything. If you have smart speakers, it’s that. Wireless security cameras or a smart doorbell, it’s those, too. It’s your smart TV, your smart lights, video game systems, and so much, and eventually, your wireless router is going to struggle. Whether it’s an issue with range in your home or performance, your wireless router might not be doing the best it can, and now that so many of us are working from home, it feels worse. But there are things you can do to fix your WiFi, and that will almost always start with your router. Graeme Reardon, Managing Director, D-Link Australia & New Zealand Certainly, you have to start to diagnose any Wi-Fi issues at the router first, because it’s generally the first device into the home. That’s D-Link’s Graeme Reardon, who suggests testing devices on your router either by plugging and seeing what speed you get, or using an internet speed test to get a gauge on what sort of connection you should be getting. If the router says you should expect high internet speeds, it may be that your router needs upgrading. The older the device, the less likely you can expect it to support lots of devices and higher bandwidth connections. Newer technologies support more on both, and that’s typical with common WiFi woes. Graeme Reardon, Managing Director, D-Link Australia & New Zealand If you’re an ‘average’ household, then you probably have at least 17 devices, according to most major research firms, and that’s only going to grow looking ahead. As such, these days, I recommend if you’re in need of a new router, buying a new device with a minimum of AC2600 Wi-Fi speeds, and gigabit on the switch ports. Those letters and numbers make a difference in the world of WiFi. The first two letters tell you the connection type: AC is an 802.11ac connection, which isn’t the latest WiFi, but is still fairly high up there. The 2600 tells you how much overall bandwidth the router has to work with. In this case, 2600 translates to 2600 megabits of bandwidth to share. That’s 2600 divided between how many devices you have, and megabits aren’t quite megabytes. The higher those numbers go, the more bandwidth a router has to offer, and that potentially means a better connection all around. You can get lost in numbers and prices pretty quickly in WiFi, and typically the higher the number, the bigger the price, but there is an easy WiFi win for people who need it. Graeme Reardon, Managing Director, D-Link Australia & New Zealand Definitely the quickest win is to invest in a Mesh System. It’s a quick and easy way to upgrade your Wi-Fi at home, in the simplest possible way, whilst giving you great coverage and decent speeds from the get go. Mesh networks create what is basically a Venn diagram of wireless activity, allowing you to create a network for your home or business by setting up special access points that talk to each other. Instead of being one router that sends a signal out, mesh creates a more strengthened network for the entire home, and it’s the sort of technology big names like D-Link and Google are getting behind. Sanjay Noronha, Product Lead for Google Nest WiFi, Google No matter where you’re sitting in your home, or even perhaps as you’re walking through your home, while taking a call or something, your devices roam seamlessly, very similarly to a cellular network. So this is why we think mesh systems are really awesome. And they can really help you with spreading signal through your entire home. That’s Sanjay Noronha, Product Lead for Google Nest WiFi, which is a Google take on a mesh network. Mesh systems will cost money, and mean you’re setting up a new wireless network, so they’re not going to be for everyone. If you can’t afford to spend on a newer WiFi network, Sanjay suggests one tip that could make all the difference. Sanjay Noronha, Product Lead for Google Nest WiFi, Google Try to place your router centrally in your home. I think that could have just the biggest bang for the buck without investing any more money in new equipment. But it might be hard to do this. It might be hard to string an Ethernet cable through your home, so in that case, what we’d say is if your modem is coming into the home in some corner of the home the best thing you can do is consider adding a mesh system into your home. Mesh is an answer because of how it works, spreading WiFi more evenly and giving you control of how that happens. But if you can’t afford one, try that tip about a more central approach, and start exploring your router’s features. And if you have kids, you may want to play with the Quality of Service feature on your router, telling it which devices to give priority to. Starting with you. That’s it for this special episode of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find out more episodes at thewrap.com.au, and a new episode goes live every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. For now, we hope your WiFi improves, and have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. The post The Wrap – Easy WiFi Wins appeared first on Pickr.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021