The Wrap – July 6, 2018

The next iPad’s special screen, this week’s new gadgets, Oppo’s not-quite-iPhone X R15 Pro reviewed, and a very special birthday. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For the first week of July 2018, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this time last year, you might recall we were a little late. If you were listening back then, this was when a little bundle of awesomeness arrived in our lives, so for yesterday, we’re wishing Emma Jane Stark the best of birthdays.

Doesn’t a year just fly by? It’s like that not just in being a parent, but a tech obsessed geek, as well. That’s us, by the way. Parents and tech obsessed geeks.

In the past year, we’ve seen quite a few things happen, with big screens taking over phones, and it appears that tablets might well be next.

This week, one developer found what might be a little proof that that the next iPad Pro will have just that with a sign in the next iPad operating system that it will use the Face ID technology. If true, it would suggest Apple will ditch the fingerprint sensor and make the iPad’s screen even bigger. Imagine having a 12 inch screen in a 10 inch tablet, because that’s a very real possibility.

We probably won’t know more about it until September, though, which is when iOS 12 will be ready, likely alongside a new iPhone, and at this rate, a new iPad, too.

September is still a couple of months away, though, and before then, you can expect plenty of new things to arrive.

This week, headphone maker Plantronics unleashed a pair of wireless headphones in the BackBeat Go 600. They’re made to be portable with a good 18 hours of battery life, and feature a button to let you jump between bass heavy and balanced sound, hitting $150 this week.

Western Digital’s latest external hard drive is a wireless drive with solid state storage inside, offering fast insides and the ability to stream photos and movies to your phone and tablet.

And just a few days ago, Razer decided to bring its gaming-oriented phone to Australia, the aptly named Razer Phone. It’s not your typical smartphone, and doesn’t come from Samsung or Google, but rather gaming hardware maker Razer, which is equipping it with an eight-core chip and eight gigs of RAM.

It also arrives with a big screen and a big battery, and an emphasis on sound and video, with a focus on gaming.

It’s something different in the phone world, but that’s not what everyone is looking for. In fact, some people are looking for a premium smartphone without a premium price, and if that’s the case, they have one more option this week in the Oppo R15 Pro.

Another in Oppo’s Apple-inspired phone designs, the R15 Pro looks a an awful lot like an iPhone X, only larger. There’s a 6.24 inch screen, a metal body, water resistance, and no button on the front. Like the iPhone X, the R15 Pro mostly offers a full-screen experience. It’s not an all-screen device — Oppo has something coming for that — but it is a full screen experience made for under $800.

In fact, it’s not just a full screen. Under that big display, there’s 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM, an eight core mid-range processor, and support for either two SIMs or one with a microSD slot. Simply, there’s room to move.

Much of this is pretty typical for Oppo’s phones, but for the first time, it feels like a really solid overall package. The design is like the iPhone X but bigger, and while there’s a facial scanner to unlock the phone, there’s also a fingerprint sensor on the back.

You’ll find Near-Field Communication — a first for Oppo — as well as two cameras to let you get wide and close, and they’re not bad. We found the camera a little slow, but it handled itself well in daylight and night, and while it won’t beat the best, it’s not that bad.

There’s also two days of battery life, and the phone performance is pretty solid, too. It’s not best in class, but it handles its own, complete with a very Apple-inspired take on Android that comes with some cute additions, such as a secure keyboard and a way to lock down apps with an extra layer of security. Don’t want the kids messing with Facebook? This’ll do it.

Our issue might be price, because while $779 is a great price for a 128GB phone like this, some of last year’s flagship phones are hitting that price point right now.

Ultimately, if you’re after an iPhone X style device without the iPhone X price, Oppo has it in the R15 Pro, and that’s fine. Just remember, there’s a lot out there, and folks like us are reviewing it.

Just not this week. We’re done and out of time.

You’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find out about this show and more at the pickr.com.au website. The Wrap appears every Friday at PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech in the space of five minutes.

Until then, have a great week loaded with technology and awesomeness, and a lovely weekend, too. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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