The Wrap – June 22, 2018

Optus’ soccer squabbles, Oppo’s all-screen smartphone dream, why “tax time” means “cybercrime”, and how Sony’s new phone falls short. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For the week ending June 22, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while the weekend didn’t exactly start well in Australian soccer, it was even worse if you happened to be Optus.

You probably already know that Australians have two ways of watching the World Cup: you can tune into SBS’ app and get the Socceroo games and a few others for free, or you can pay Optus $15 for the month to get everything.

If you did that last one, you might have seen a lot of nothing, with playback errors across the Optus app experience.

It was a problem all weekend, so much that Optus eventually released its World Cup broadcasts to SBS for 48 hours, and this week, it has taken the extra step of letting SBS stream, well, quite a bit more of the World Cup. In fact, you’ll be able to watch it until the end of next week through the group stages before the finals.

Optus has also opted to make its sports service free for a little beyond the World Cup, acting as a sort of apology for customers. If you paid that $15, you’ll be getting a refund, and everyone else will be able to tune in from the end of June to see if Optus’ infrastructure can handle the load.

And if it doesn’t, we’re sure Optus will just hand over the finals to SBS, which has been airing the games mostly without fail across lots of devices, including VR.

If you can, you should try VR. A nerve-racking treat where you can watch Australia defend from the goal post in a frantic and frenetic battle of balls and players and–

We’re getting off topic. It’s easy to do, especially when you’re trying to put things off. Like talking about taxes. Who wants to talk about taxes?

Well there’s a good reason this week, with news that the return of tax time is also a return for cybercrime, something that never really goes away, but is getting pretty serious once more.

It’s a problem that Symantec, the makers of Norton, highlighted this week, as scam emails and SMS start to pick up into tax time.

Symantec’s Mark Gorrie told Pickr that while the Aussie tax office may use letters, emails, and SMS to contact you, it will never ask you for your Tax File Number over email or SMS. Seriously, they already have it, and they won’t contact you over Facebook or Twitter to demands payment.

Cybercriminals will, though, and it’s very easy to get fooled, so make sure to question anything you get from the ATO. If you have to, call them up and ask. Seriously, take their information, grab the ATO’s number from ato.gov.au, and find out whether it’s real.

And real was important another way this week, because we got to see a real all-screen phone.

Normally a mid-range maker, Oppo has announced the Find X, its first flagship in ages, sporting a curved OLED screen that takes over the front, making it an all-screen phone.

And to do this, Oppo has hidden the cameras with a pop-out section up top, so you can only take pictures by pushing this up, with the screen hiding the rest.

It’s a cute way of dealing with the all-screen dilemma of where you put the camera, though we’re a little surprised to see no fingerprint sensor on the back, meaning to unlock the phone, you need to pop open that camera and let it see you.

We’ll know what the Oppo Find X is like soon enough, but before then, you can find many other smartphones, including one we’re reviewing right now, Sony’s Xperia XZ2, a very curvy phone that has been designed to nestle into the palm of your hand.

Now this is a bit of a different take, because phones are typically slim. Sony’s XZ2 goes the other way, with a curved back that measures 11 millimetres, a good 3 to 4 thicker than everything else. Despite this, the XZ2 is still a comfy phone, and it also comes with a nice Full HD 5.7 inch screen, a fast processor, and a good day and a half of battery life.

But it’s missing quite a bit as well.

The camera is seen as a big deal in phones these days, but it’s really quite ordinary here, with a picture quality that isn’t anything special. There’s less storage than other thousand dollar phones, and while there’s a fingerprint sensor, it’s in a location that just doesn’t work. You always end up hitting the camera and not the sensor, which is a huge pain.

And then there’s that thickness, which is just noticeable, as is the almost 200 gram weight.

Ultimately, it’s just not the amazing phone it needs to be. It’s good, but not great, and we think we know why: there’s another Sony phone around the corner in the 4K Xperia XZ2 Premium.

We suspect that will be the Sony phone to look out for when it rocks up, because right now, its sibling in the XZ2 isn’t as compelling, or not as much as it needs to be. Maybe next week’s phone will have that pizzazz we mean. If there is a phone next week. Find out then.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup.

The Wrap appears every Friday at PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech news in five minutes. Until then, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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