The Wrap – July 27, 2018

Are the 4G extras from Telstra and Vodafone worth it? What’s new in phones, headphones, and security? And is the HTC U12+ worth your time and money? All these questions answered, and a little bit more. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For the last week of July 2018, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while the government argues on whether it has the security chops needed to keep Australian health data on lockdown, the week in local tech news has been largely about updates.

Updates to mobile plans, updates to cameras and security and phones and headphones, and we’re updating you on those updates.

Like how Vodafone and Telstra both jumped into some updates this week, the former announcing some optional passes to discount the data used for media, while the latter had a Peace of Mind addition to its plans.

On the Vodafone side of things, the telco will be offering customers add-ons to its Red plans. Priced from $5 to $15, these will make the data from services like Spotify and Netflix essentially uncounted, meaning they won’t impact your overall download limit.

Telstra had something similar in its “Peace of Mind” addition this week, which for $10 per month extra brought in an unlimited data logic to make sure you’re not charged heavily for going over your download limit.

There’s a catch for both of these, though: while they sound like they can help, they both use the 1.5 megabit unlimited download logic we saw in May, with Vodafone’s passes sending data at a maximum of 1.5Mbps, while Telstra’s peace of mind maxes your data speeds at 1.5 megabits.

You might think “well, that’s just a number”, that’s true, but 1.5 megabits is the speed of ADSL1, not the minimum of ten times faster that 4G typically offers. Sufficed to say, while these additions could stop you from charging up a storm, your media may not come in at the same speed, and in the case of Netflix, may not look the same.

But there’s always another option: Telstra this week unleashed a properly unlimited plan, providing unlimited calls, texts, and 4G downloads at unlimited speed. You’ll need to pay just shy of $199 monthly for two years if you want this, but at least you’ll see the full stretch of 4G that the peace of mind guarantee won’t necessarily give.

Updates to your mobile services weren’t the only updates this week. Nokia updated its lineup this week with an entry level phone bringing a 13 megapixel camera, 4G, and pure Android One experience for just under $250, while Blue and JBL both had new headphones in Australian stores.

Blue’s headphone is of the wired variety, built for HiFi styled listening in the Lola, while JBL’s is a wireless option with noise cancellation, made for on the go rather cancellation of the outside world.

And speaking of the world, Kaspersky updated its security technology to protect you from the world, adding an adaptive technology to its lineup as well. Called the Security Cloud, it’s a system that can work on several devices, developed to protect you regardless of where in that world you are.

Cloud solutions like it are likely going to be here from more than just one security maker, and we can’t imagine Kaspersky will be alone in this crowd for very long.

There was another big announcement, too, as Nikon confirmed that it was finally working on a mirrorless full frame camera.

Big cameras are always liked, but phone cameras are what most of us are carrying around these days, and we’re reviewing another one of those right now.

It’s a little late, but HTC’s flagship for the year is here, arriving in the U12+, a glass handset boasting high-end internals, two cameras on each side, and a slick paint job that shows the tech underneath.

Make no mistake, that look is very sexy, with a translucent finish showing the hardware below. There’s a high-end Snapdragon 845 chip, 128GB of storage, and support for two SIMs.

There’s also a decent dual camera on either side, the back giving 12 and 16 megapixels for wide and close, while the front sticks to 8 megapixels for nice portraitsof yourself.

While the hardware is solid, the star of the show is the hardware you’re not necessarily thinking about.

You’re probably using your phone’s touchscreen to control most things, but the HTC U12 relies on the edges as well. You can tap them, double tap them, and squeeze them, and this adds something else.

Honestly there were times when gripping the U12 to squeeze it resulted in almost dropping th e glass phone on the floor, but it’s a neat feature, even if it’s one that is a touch too sensitive for our liking.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure the touch sensitivity and great paint job are enough to win us over everything else. The screen lacks the bezel-free design of other phones, and while there’s water resistance and a day and a half of battery life, it doesn’t feel as complete.

Ultimately, HTC’s U12 Plus is a good phone, but this year, that might not be enough. You’ll find it in stores to try for yourself, where hopefully you won’t drop it like we almost did.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears Fridays at PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech in five

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

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