The Wrap – A game of phones

A week of mobiles makes for a real game of phones, as we look at what’s new from Samsung, Xiaomi, and review Huawei’s P30 Pro. All that and more in five minutes.

Transcript

For the week ending April 19, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we begin this show with a listener question. Yes, we take those, and this week it’s this: can Bluetooth gadgets stop working from a lack of use?

Bizarrely, the answer appears to be a yes, and if you don’t charge your wireless headphones, wearables, and other Bluetooth gadgets for over six months, they may stop working. It’s something we’ve found through testing, digging up some old gadgets to find out if that is true, and it is.

So charge them every few months, or maybe give them to a friend, getting them out of your life. It’ll make room for some other gadgets, and there are plenty of those right now, not to mention how many phones are coming. It’s a real Game of Phones out there.

And we’ll see quite a few in the coming months, as Chinese phone maker Xiaomi will add to it, opening up shop locally, meaning new phones are on the way, and phones made to come in at competitive prices we’re told.

It’s not just phones, though.

We went and saw Xiaomi’s Australian presence, and saw phones, earphones, smart home gadgets like lights and sensors, cameras, a TV, a fridge, a washing machine, and a laser projector. There was even an electronic toilet seat.

It appears that when Xiaomi does arrive, it’s going to be bringing the lot, which if you’ve just made room by getting rid of gadgets, could be useful.

Before it arrives, there’s plenty of technology showing up.

Microsoft has a new Xbox One S on the way, and this one lacks a disc drive, meaning no Blu-rays. We’re not sure exactly where this will come in, but ditching the Blu-ray drive should make things a little easier on the wallet, “should” being the operative word.

Nikon has a new 24 to 70 mil lens for its mirrorless cameras, and it even features a little screen on it to see your focal length and focus distance, while Panasonic and Canon both have new cameras. Panasonic’s is a hand-friendly mirrorless in the Lumix G95 with image stabilisation built in, while Canon’s is more like an entry-level digital SLR that can handle 4K video.

And Oppo has a new budget phone in the 6.2 inch $299 AX5s, made for folks looking for a phone on a budget.

While there are definitely inexpensive phones, you might be the type who prefers to spend up big.

Well if that’s you, there are at least two models that might be of interest.

The first is Huawei’s P30 Pro, which saw release this week after being announces a few weeks back. We were at that launch, and have been playing with the phone since, exploring what it can do, and more importantly, what its camera can do.

Simply put, the P30 Pro has one of the more impressive cameras you’re likely to see on a smartphone all year, and we’ll be impressed if anyone can match what Huawei has been able to accomplish.

Quite simply, it’s a phone that can see in the dark, and out performs pretty much every phone out there for low-light, and manages to get close as well. There’s a usable wide angle to 10X zoom, and then a neat but not overly helpful 50x digital zoom, which will get you shots of the moon and details of other things, but it won’t be all that pretty.

Really, you should focus on that low light and zoom range, because they’re two aspects that help the P30 Pro stand out, and add to what is an otherwise sleek and impressive phone.

There’s also a powerful processor, lots of storage with 256GB, water resistant, and an infrared port if you want to control your TV or air conditioner with your phone. And Huawei has managed to pack this into a phone with up to two days of battery life, no small feat.

We loved it, but there’s one small catch: the screen doesn’t handle wear and tear well, and picks up the smallest of scratches a little too easily. Suffice to say, if you’re thinking of getting one, grab protection immediately, because there’s no screen protector in the box.

And funnily enough, screen protection is the other sticking point this week, as Samsung’s Galaxy Fold gets attention for similar reasons with overseas review units.

Australians won’t be able to get their hands on the likely expensive Galaxy Fold for another month or two, but when they do, it may be a little more fragile than you might expect. Overseas reviews suggest the odd problem or two, with a weird protective layer that looks rather like a screen protector, but is there to make the foldable phone screen work.

We’ll be curious to see whether this will impact the release of the Galaxy Fold, and whether it gives other companies with foldable phones a chance to steal some of Samsung’s thunder. Or Samsung could fix the bugs in time for an Australian release.

We’ll know soon enough, just not now, because that’s it for this week of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears every Friday at Podcast One and Apple Podcasts, and you can find out about what you’ve heard and more at the Pickr website. We’ll be back next week for more technology in five. Until then have a great week, a nice long weekend, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.