The Wrap – July 28, 2017

Kaspersky gives free security, Google takes you to space, Samsung’s Note is on its way, and Sony’s newest phone is ace. All that in The Wrap.


For the last week of July, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest serving of technology sent straight to your eardrums, and this week begins with a freebie, and it’s not just because you don’t have to pay for this show.

This week, you have the choice of one more free security solution in a world that practically begs computer owners to install some form of security.

In fact, this year we’ve already seen some pretty good reasons beyond the regular bunch to make sure you have security on your computer, from WannaCry to Petya, not to mention all the nasty malware and ransomware that regularly makes its way to computers, but we also know why most people don’t invest in security, and it often comes down to money.

Seriously, who likes spending money on something that doesn’t make you feel good? It’s not like security software is a phone or a TV or even a nice bit of clothing. It’s just protection, and many of us think it’ll never happen to us.

Well, this week you have less of an excuse, as Kaspersky Lab has released a free version of its security platform.

Now it’s not a total security coverall – you’ll still have to pay money if you want parental controls or payment protection – but if your main argument against file and email scanning has been you can’t deal with the cost, this is for you.

Kaspersky Free is – as the name suggests – free, and available to Australians now.

Seriously, if you’re complaining about the cost of security software, stop and download this, or Avast or AVG. You have three options that we know of for free security, and they’re all pretty good. Go nuts.

And while you’re going nuts on land, consider going nuts in space.

This week, Google added something to its interactive world tours on Street View by going off world, and exploring the International Space Station.

That means anyone with a computer, phone, or tablet – and even those of you with a VR headset – can explore the 15 connected modules of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth, virtually floating through and seeing what the astronauts experience on a regular basis.

Much like Google’s tours of Uluru, the Hermitage, and Abbey Road, it’s a tour not everyone will get to do, and with space off the cards for pretty much everyone except the lucky few, makes Google’s Street View addition worthy of a little time wasting AT lunch, or any other time you have floating around.

Back on Earth, Samsung has this week announced when the next Galaxy Note will be arriving, with an announcement occurring right before IFA in Germany, on August 23.

We don’t know much about it, though the rumours suggest Samsung’s follow-up to last year’s Galaxy Note 7 will likely include a curved infinity display just like the Galaxy S8 we saw this year, with two cameras also a likely part of the package.

Given what happened last year, we’d say there’s a pretty good chance Samsung is making sure the battery is the safest it can be for this generation, because we wouldn’t want a repeat of the Note 7 recalls. That would just about kill the brand.

Expect this one to be big folks, and we’re not just talking about the massive screen size.

Before we get to Samsung’s next big thing, we have a big thing to talk about from Sony, with a review of its latest phone, the Xperia XZ Premium.

Interestingly, this one follows up a phone from last year, the otherwise excellent Xperia XZ, a phone that almost a year on is beginning to feel a little dated.

That’s something the Premium model aims to rectify, arriving with one of the hottest feature sets of any phones, and really showing that the company aims to play, properly competing against the likes of Apple and Samsung, as well as HTC, which has its own solid competitor this year, too.

Sony’s XZ Premium is no slouch either, arriving with a high-speed eight-core Snapdragon processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, support for a microSD slot to expand that, and that’s not even the good stuff.

For the really cool bits, you have to check out the screen and the camera, both of which sport some pretty neat features not found on any other phone.

First there’s that screen, because this is as close as you can get to sticking a 4K TV in your pocket.

Yes, Sony’s XZ Premium sports a 4K Ultra HD screen supporting HDR, which kind of makes it like a Sony 4K Ultra HD TV, except smaller, sitting at 5.5 inches instead of the 55 or 65 you might expect in your living room.

That impressive screen sports a very sharp image that basically looks the best to your eyes as possible, poking holes in the “Retina” term Apple uses on its devices, with a staggering 801 pixels per inch. To put it mildly, your eyes are the bottleneck on that one, so good luck peeping pixels on this phone.

It’s not just about the screen either, with a very good yet slightly unorthodox 19 megapixel camera great for pictures day and night, as well as a special slow motion mode able to capture HD video at a whopping 960 frames per second.

Now if you don’t know what that means, think of it as extremely slow motion, with one second of video basically being smoothly slowed to a few seconds, and letting you do properly slow motion with a phone.

Sony isn’t done there, either, because we found roughly two days of battery life were possible with this phone, and there’s even support for the 1 gigabit 4G connections Australian telcos are beginning to include support for.

“So what’s the catch?” I hear you asking.

Well, there is one, because Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium has a rather boxy and rectangular design, not to mention a weight of close to 200 grams. Without doubt, this is one of the heaviest phones you’ll find, thanks to a big build and a finish of glass and metal.

You do get water resistance, though, and even a 3.5mm headset jack, but it can be a little hard to carry, especially if you have smaller hands.

That said, we’re recommending people check it out, because with the massive feature set, it’s one of the better phones out today.

You can find our entire review at the website, which we can’t read to you fully because we are out of time.

But don’t worry because the Pickr clan will be back the same time next week, ready to give you another helping of the world of tech in Australia.

Be sure to have a great rest of the week and an awesome sauce weekend, and we’ll see you then.

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