Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – December 30, 2017

Apple’s iPhone X reviewed and the best gadgets and games of the year. It’s the last Wrap of 2017.


For the end of 2017, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest roundup of technology, and as the year draws to a close and we run out of news to report on before the January onslaught that is CES, we turn to one of the gadgets that we didn’t get much of a chance to look at until late, the Apple iPhone X.

Sure, it’s been out for a good month or so, but it’s also been a phone that has been in relative short supply, and that’s because of how in demand it has been.

Quite simply, it hasn’t been easy to find Apple’s latest iPhone, and that’s because it has been hot property, and on the lips of everyone.

So what is the iPhone X, and is it worth the hype?

First, it’s probably worth pointing out why it’s such a big deal, because this is Apple’s first major departure from the design language of the iPhone in ten years. Throughout that time, we’ve seen changed to the hardware and design, but the front has largely stayed the same, with thick bezels at the top and bottom and the home button on the very bottom.

And yet that changes with the X, as Apple embraces Samsung for the iPhone X screen, going full-screen like so many devices we’ve seen this year. We’ve seen it from Samsung and LG and Huawei, HTC, Google, and so on, and in the X, it’s time for Apple.

The iPhone X isn’t just Apple’s take on the Galaxy S8, though you can see how it might look that way. With a 5.8 inch fullscreen display that doesn’t curve to the side and a pixel clarity greater than any other iPhone to date, it’s basically Apple’s take on what a modern phone should be, and it goes beyond that lovely screen.

You’ll find two of Apple’s best cameras here, letting you get up close with the telephoto lens or pull back using the wide, plus there’s optical image stabilisation for video and the very cool soft background effect of the portrait mode with lighting.

And funnily enough, that also works on the front, too.

A first for Apple, the front facing 7 megapixel selfie camera also gets the soft background portrait mode thanks to the combination of sensors and cameras that make Face ID and Apple TrueDepth.

These two technologies replace the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone X, because with no home button, there’s no fingerprint sensor, so Apple has instead turned to your face, unlocking a phone with a simple glance as the iPhone X does the complicated thing of scanning your face with thousands of little red dots you can’t see.

And the result actually works, with a good 90 percent of the time being able to unlock the phone easily.

It’s just one of the many things we love about the iPhone X, from the excellent screen that balances light thanks to the TrueTone technology, to the water resistance, wireless charging, and impressive image quality.

Our only issues are, in fact, the price, which is staggeringly high at between $1500 and $1800, and our worry that the most minor of scuffs and drops will break this phone.

But if neither of those are an issue for you, the iPhone X is easily one of the year’s best phones.

In fact, it’s one of the year’s best two phones, because we couldn’t decide.

Here at Pickr, we decided to round up the year’s best technology to end 2017 with, and that starts with phones, which we do a lot of writing on. Hey, it’s how we started, and it’s how we start this, because the year’s best phones from where we sat were the iPhone X and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

Simply put, these performed the best for us and had the right amount of feature set, with wireless charging, water resistance, battery life, camera quality, and design at the forefront of each of these.

Honourable mentions go to the HTC U11, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the excellent camera and Bluetooth technology on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, and Huawei’s Leica collaborated Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

Computers were very varied this year, but our favourites were divided, with the excellent Dell XPS 13 providing a solid design, beautiful screen, and lovely keyboard when it came to portability, and the absolute powerhouse of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 being the must-have machine for the unstoppable creatives. You know who you are.

Headphones were also bigger than they’ve ever been, and you can thank the gradual death of the 3.5mm headset jack for that, as wireless took over.

We had our favourites, and for the 2017 Pickr Picks, we went with the Sony WH-1000XM2 for the best headphones, while our earphone top picks went to Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E8 and Jabra’s EliteSport Wireless, both of which have their own merits we’ve written about at length on the site.

Essentially, we were all spoiled for choice in 2017, and so we look forward to what the next year brings, and it can only get better.

When you look at what technology used to be like, kind of a mixed bag unless you spent a fortune (and sometimes then), well, the world is changing, and when it comes to buying technology, the price of quality is dropping substantially, which is great news for everyone.

And that’s the year. We’ll be back next week and next year ahead of the world’s biggest technology showcase of CES to tell you what we expect will happen and what the trends of 2018 will likely be.

Until then, we hope you have a tremendous New Years with friends and family, and remember to stay safe out there. We’ll catch you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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