The Wrap – January 10, 2018 (CES 2018 Day 3)

The sound of the show.

We’ve been looking into the art of sound on Day 3 of CES 2018, and we’ll cover it all in five minutes. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For January 10, day three of CES 2018, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and in case you didn’t know, we’re at CES in Las Vegas this week.

It’s home to pretty much everything, from computers to tablets to cars and cameras, and quite a lot of audio, because these days, everything matters.

And that’s true especially in the audio world, because now that smartphones are well and truly ditching the 3.5mm headset jack, more companies are encouraging smartphone owners to go mobile.

Sure, we’ve had Bluetooth headphones for quite some time, but more than ever, it’s important, because as the 3.5mm headset jack disappears, it could be your best way of connecting, and in the least cumbersome way possible.

We’ve seen a few audio companies already this week, and Jabra was one of them, showing off the sequel to its thoroughly excellent Elite Sport Wireless earphones last year, without doubt one of our favourites.

This year, the earphones will be the Elite 65t and the Elite Active 65t, devices that are very similar, mostly differing because of the level of water and sweat resistance they each have. At their core, they take what worked in the Elite Sport and up the game even more, using shrinking the technology down thanks to Jabra’s GN Resound division which makes hearing aides super small.

The Elite 65t relies on four microphones and some neat audio beam forming technology to balance spoken audio and get it to the earphones better, while the battery life has been improved to 15 hours total, up from 13 and relying on the earphone storage box to charge the things up.

After all, you’re not going to be wearing them all day and every day, even if you love them dearly.

However Jabra isn’t the only company with new earphones, and Bang & Olufsen showed us that both of its active noise cancelling headphones in the H8 and H9 have been updated with a letter, and a little bit more. Depending on if you like on-ear or around-ear, the Beoplay H8i and H9i will offer more battery life, cleaner design, a proximity sensor, and a transparency mode, so you don’t walk out into traffic like we have from time to time.

Seriously, noise cancellation is both a blessing and a curse, so use it wisely and don’t get run over.

Wireless and noise cancellation also popped up from the likes of Sony, which has made one of the smallest pairs of noise cancelling earphones we’ve ever seen. They’re called the WF-SP700N, and while they lack a catchy name — because Sony headphones never have a catchy name — they’re not far off the size of Apple’s AirPods or Jabra’s Elite wireless earphones, and yet they feature noise cancellation and a degree of sweat resistance, too.

Think of Sony’s earphones as noise cancellation for fitness folks, separating yourself from the world while you run, and while you sweat, because they pack in resistance for that, as well.

We also met a new entrant for us at one of CES’ more start-upy shows, called Showstoppers, and it comes Master Art of Sound. While you probably haven’t heard the name before, it managed to get our attention with a focus on MMCX, a cable technology that allows you to take a pair of headphones and replace the part of it that breaks most often, the cable.

MMCX isn’t new, and it’s primarily focused on the high-end audio crowd, but it almost always ends in the standard 3.5mm jack. Remember what we said at the beginning of this show: how the 3.5mm jack is dying?

Master Art of Sound has built several MMCX cables and earphones that support them that allow you to essentially turn earphones into a convertible. You can get a cable for 3.5mm jack, or for USB Type C, or even for Bluetooth, you simply replace the cable as and when you need it.

But audio wasn’t the be-all end-all today, and we’ve already got our hands on a few new phones from Alcatel that offer a delightful amount of promise especially since they all aim to be quite cheap.

We can’t say much because we don’t know much, but in Australia, Alcatel’s 1, 3, and 5 series phones will offer those massive FullView screens like on the Galaxy S8 and iPhone X for a budgety price.

We’d say more if we could, but the simple reality is our hands on time was cut short from the blackout affecting CES. It seems like the cruelest joke, to pull the plug on the world’s biggest gadget and electronic show, but that’s exactly what happened today at CES, with power out for a couple of hours.

That cast a bit silence and darkness over interviews and product briefings today, but we’ll still have more news from the show floor tomorrow.

There is just so much here. Halls and halls of stuff. We’ll try and get through it all, but it’s a big task for one reporter. We’re uploading it as much as we can at pickr.com.au, so if you want to know about anything we’ve mentioned, check there first.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more news from the showfloor, and we’ll probably be talking WiFi, computing, and the other neato gadgets we’ve seen.

Until then, from Vegas, take care.

Leigh :) Stark travelled to CES in Las Vegas as a guest of Dell.

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