The Wrap – February 2, 2018

A new Fitbit digital exercise routine, a new cut-price Oppo phone, and a whole bunch of laptops for a new school year. All that on Australia’s fastest technology roundup, with an all-new The Wrap.

Transcript

For the first week of February 2018, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and we’ll start this week with the feeling that yes, we’re in a new year, so let’s get stuck into those new year resolutions.

It’s been a month since the year officially started, so have you been good with your new year resolutions? Or have you already put them aside, swearing you’ll get to the them later in the year?

If you’ve temporarily put getting fit to the side because you can’t muster the motivation, Fitbit’s latest addition may help. This week, it announced its app will be on both Windows 10 and the Xbox, meaning if you have the latter and a Fitbit, you can exercise in front of the TV with your own personal trainer.

The app is free, but the Fitbit obviously isn’t, and if you want more than the basic training programs, you need to pay a yearly cost. Still it might get you back in the swing of things.

And that’s kind of like at school, because the school year has returned, and that means it’s time to get a laptop for the kids.

If you’re lucky and they haven’t throttled the old one, you may get by without having to spend, but if not, it’s time to head to the store and work out what you need.

Over at the Pickr website, we’ve written a guide for the year, but we need to first suggest talking to the school and finding out what you need, not spending more than you have to.

We can tell you that companies are more than happy to sell you more than your kids need, and that may mean spending more than you should.

In fact, if all they need is a computer that can be used for writing, surfing the web, YouTube, and emails, you can probably get by with spending a good $500 max.

Computers like the HP Stream 11, Lenovo IdeaPad 120S, and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 are established as good starter computers for around the $300 mark, offering enough of what kids need for not much cash. There’s no touchscreen, but the hybrid 2-in-1 versions will go for a little more and are easy to find.

There are also plenty of computers that will work for over the $500 mark, and that’s pretty much anything, but remember to check with your school on what your kids need.

We can’t stress this enough, because if they need a Mac, or they’re being supplied a Chromebook, your school will tell you, and it might just save you some money in the process, or head you in the right direction.

With that saved money, you might even be able to get a new phone, and whether for you or your kids, Oppo has two worth checking out, announcing the R11s and R11s Plus, mid-range phones with big screens, two rear cameras, a metal body, and a very iPhone-like operating system that is actually Android in disguise.

We checked out the R11s this week, and can tell you that it’s a fairly impressive bit of kit, especially for $659, though the cameras are a little confusing.

First, the specs, because with 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, an eight-core processor, and support for more storage through a microSD slot, you’re getting a fairly impressive package, and it all sits under a 6 inch full view screen. That’s kind of like the screen Samsung is using on its Galaxy S8. The resolution is different, but most people aren’t going to be able to tell the difference.

That sits on top of a full metal body, with support for a fingerprint scanner on the back and a facial scanner at the front, and while the fingerprint unlock is better, the facial scanner isn’t bad, either.

Overall, the whole phone performs quite well, and we managed two work days of life, though we expect power users would want to charge nightly.

The strangest part for us is that camera, which includes two cameras on the back, and one on the front. The 20 megapixel camera up front is pretty strong for a selfie camera, but the combo on the back is kind of confusing. You see instead of a combination of wide and close, or a black and white and colour camera, Oppo’s R11s has a 16 megapixel camera for daylight and a 20 megapixel camera for low light.

It’s kind of strange and not what you expect, but it’s also not half bad, even if we don’t think it’s the best low light we’ve seen. The results are okay, though, we’re a little surprised to see two of the same focal length on the one body.

Still, though, the phone is compelling, especially if you want a big phone, decent security, and a handset that feels like an iPhone without the iPhone like price. We gave it a little more than four stars, and it’s worth a look.

Regardless of what phone you have, here’s a friendly tip from the Pickr Q&A this week: if you need to take a picture on your phone and you can’t reach the screen, press the volume key. That’ll fire it on iPhone or Android with no worries.

That is all we have time for this week on The Wrap. We’ll be back next week with more news and a review, but if you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes, Pocket Casts, or the website, because we’ve got a lot for you to listen to.

Until then, have a great day, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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