The Wrap – February 16, 2018

Say cheese.

Cameras aplenty from Fujifilm, Panasonic, D-Link, Netgear, and two on the back of Huawei’s new phone. Click! It’s The Wrap.

Transcript

For the middle of February and the beginning of Chinese New Year, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and aside for saying Gong Hey Fat Choi, we’re looking at what happened in the week of tech that was, with this week being a feast of sorts, especially if you love cameras.

If you don’t love cameras, your one bit of amazing news is that this week Telstra has helped to break through the two gigabits per second mark with internet speeds, as 4G gets faster than ever. We’re still not quite at 5G, but together with Netgear and Ericsson, Telstra has achieved a staggering 2000 megabits per second with a Category 20 LTE modem. Try doing that with your NBN connection.

We don’t expect that technology to roll out for a while, so you have some time, but before it, have some camera news, because there’s a fair bit of that this week, and that starts with Panasonic, which had its mirrorless lens system turn ten this week.

For its tenth anniversary, Panasonic has launched a new compact mirrorless, the GX9, bringing a 20 megapixel sensor, an interchangeable lens, a tilting LCD screen, and a built-in viewfinder, plus support for 4K, technically making it a 4K filmmaking machine.

Panasonic isn’t alone with the whole 4K filmmaking compact thing, either as Fujifilm announces a compact 4K camera of its own, the X-A5.

This one is a little different, and takes advantage of Fujifilm’s lens format, using a 24 megapixel sensor with a lightweight body.

Both cameras are designed to be small and user friendly, and both will have film simulation modes, Bluetooth, and support for low-light photography.

That said, we haven’t tried either yet, though with both due out in the next month or two, we don’t imagine it will be long until we get that chance.

And while Panasonic and Fujifilm certainly spent time talking about their products this week, they weren’t the only cameras we heard about from camera companies.

Security cameras also made a splash this week as both D-Link and Netgear introduced newbies for each of their systems.

Over at D-Link, the company offered indoor cameras like the DCS-8000 and DSC-8100, working when they stayed plugged into a wall — no batteries here — with support for storage on microSD and streaming video.

Netgear also chimed in with a model of its own, the Arlo Pro 2, which not only plays nicely with Amazon’s Alexa, but also captures video in the higher resolution 1080p Full HD, and is technically always caching and always recording.

That last one is important, because it essentially means you’ll be able to see what happens before the activity triggered the camera properly, kind of like what car camera recorders can do. Netgear calls it Look Back, and while the Arlo Pro 2 runs on batteries, this feature only works when the camera is plugged in permanently, making it more of an indoor feature only.

Both security systems are a little different, but arrive at different price points, with D-Link’s found for under $200, while Netgear’s is $349.

And while that might seem like all the cameras we can pack into a show, we’re not done yet, reviewing the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, a dual rear camera smartphone made with the help of camera brand Leica.

The phone itself is a big phone, delivering a 6 inch full view screen taking up most of the front, a fingerprint sensor on the back, Huawei’s own processor on the inside, and a staggering 6GB of RAM to make Android 8 just fly. And it does, performing beautifully with no lag whatsoever, providing a solid 128GB of storage to work with as well.

All of this helps to make Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro fast, and its battery life is solid, too, hitting two days of life without problems. That’s something we can’t say about most phones.

Really, though, like most phones today, the focus is on the camera, with two cameras on the back made up of one providing a 20 megapixel monochromatic sensor while the other is a 12 megapixel colour sensor. Both of these shoot through an F1.6 lens, which come together for more vibrant images in colour.

You can also use the 20 megapixel black and white sensor by itself, and thanks to Huawei’s collaboration with Leica, image quality is sharp, detailed, and clear, with a lovely monochromatic treatment. The camera is one of the best features of the phone, and alongside the battery life and inclusions of water resistance — because it has that too — the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is absolutely stellar.

What Huawei hasn’t nailed, though is the storage, which is generous at 128GB but lacks a microSD slot, something Android phones usually offer. There’s also Huawei’s extra AI chip, the Neural Processing Unit, which we’re not sure does anything. It’s supposed to make the camera smarter and capable of picking up on subjects, but we’re didn’t experience that. We just used the camera without it.

Despite these minor issues, Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro is a stellar smartphone, and while we wish it had wireless charging — it doesn’t — it’s one of the best phones you can find today, and a knight in shiny armour.

And that’s our camera news for the week, and indeed the end of the show.

You can find out about everything we’ve spoken about at the pickr.com.au website, and you can find more of this show through Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, and Pocket Casts, to name but a few.

The Wrap will be back next week for more of the world of technology in Australia, all in the space of five minutes. We’ll see you then. Take care.

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