Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – June 29, 2018

Samsung’s next big thing, Oppo’s new big thing, Huawei’s updated thing, Apple’s pre-release thing, and Sonos’ little soundbar fling. All the things (and flings) on this week’s The Wrap.


For the last week of June 2018, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and if you can believe it, we’re already half way through the year.

Yes, that’s one half of the year done and dusted, with phones and computers and headphones aplenty. But hey, we still have six months to get through, and that means there’s more on the way.

Take what’s happening in August, with Samsung announcing that a new Galaxy Note phone will be announced then.

That’s another big phone that you can expect, with the rumours suggesting that this big followup will deliver something new and special to use that stylus with.

We don’t know quite what else the Note 9 will have, though we can expect a big screen, at least two cameras, and another one of those big full view screens.

In fact, full view screens are getting very popular, and they’re not just for the expensive flagship phones.

This week, Oppo released another option for folks who want a big full screen phone but didn’t want to pay too much for it, with the Oppo R15 and R15 Pro, two phones that feature the same 6.28 inch display with a notch taken out from the top, and then two sets of specs and cameras for slightly different price points.

The Oppo R15 gets a 20 megapixel and 5 megapixel for $659 locally, while the R15 Pro gets slightly faster innards, a 20 and 16 megapixel camera, and water resistance too, hitting a price of $779 in Australia.

Those are pretty compelling prices for phones that sport 128GB of storage, and given that phones like this typically cost over $1200, it’s easy to see what Oppo is driving at.

Of course, you may not need to upgrade your phone at all. There are plenty of reasons to stay with a phone you already have, whether it’s not having the money, or just plain liking what you already have. That’s cool, we get it. If we weren’t reviewing phones all the time, we’d be the same. We’d stick with a phone.

If you have stuck with a phone, you may actually have some new features coming.

Take what’s happening on Huawei’s Mate 9, Mate 10, P10, to name a few, because as of this week, they now support facial recognition. With an over-the-air update, owners of these phones can unlock their phones with their face.

We wish more companies released new features like that.

iPhone users have something this week, kinda, though they have to live dangerously to get it. If you’re keen to see what the next version of iOS is like — you know, the iPhone operating system — you’ll find the beta is freely available this week, meaning you can test it before it comes out later this year.

It’s called iOS 12, and it comes with some nifty features, like the ability to monitor your screen time and even stop your kids from using their phone late at night, telling them and you to go to bed, because that’s an important thing.

Right now, iOS 12 is a beta, which means you can test it while Apple fixes it up ahead of the final release in September. You know, in time for what will probably be a new iPhone or three.

And there’ll be more great gadgets by then as well, including phones, TVs, computers, headphones, and speakers.

Like the one we’re reviewing right now, the Sonos Beam, a soundbar that doesn’t look exactly like your conventional soundbar, and that’s because, well, it’s short. Very short. When the box arrived, we thought there had been a mistake, because it’s less than half the size of Sonos’ other soundbar, the Playbar.

And yet it packs a wallop. While its size may be small, its sound is not, especially in your conventional Australian living room. If you’re not living in an open plan warehouse, you should be fine, and we found particularly strong balance from the Sonos Beam whether we were playing music or blaring sound from a film.

We don’t have the Sonos Sub subwoofer to test this thing with, but despite it that, the Beam delivered relatively strong bass, especially for the size, and it put the Beam not far from what we’ve heard from its big brother in the Playbar all these years.

It also comes with a few add ins, such as an HDMI ARC port for using your TV remote with it, as well as support for Amazon’s Alexa. That means you can say “Hey Alexa, turn the TV off”,
and it will.

What it is missing is support for other smart home assistants, and given Alexa only talks to Spotify and Amazon’s music service, we’d have like to have seen support for Google, too.

Still, at $599, the package being offered in the Sonos Beam solid, with a smart soundbar that works very, very well.

Podcasts sound great through it too. Just saying. And you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. Just saying.

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 and a lovely weekend, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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