The Wrap – Battery life, VR, and Apple’s new iPad Mini reviewed

Gadgets big and small are on The Wrap this week, covering a phone with a big battery, a phone with a small price, and an iPad sized to be portable that’s just right. All in five minutes.

Transcript

It’s the first week of May 2019 and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and the year is almost halfway through if you can believe it, with the focus more or less being on the biggest gadgets.

The biggest gets all the attention because bigger often equals better. Big laptops tend to get more power, while bigger TVs are the real big news, supporting higher resolutions and getting across that big picture. A big phone often comes with a bigger battery, and that gets you through more of the day with more of the features, and that’s true of other areas.

And this week, there’s a big battery on the way in at least one new phone, as Motorola offers up one of those.

That’s coming in the Motorola G7 Power, a variant on the Moto G7 that gets a lower resolution screen and a massive battery. In fact, it’s a pretty serious jump, with a 5000mAh battery in the G7 Power, compared to a 3000mAh in the Moto G7. That might be just another number, but it’s likely to mean a good three days of battery life for a $350 smartphone.

There’s also a big focus on virtual reality this year, but that’s actually where gadgets are getting a little smaller.

The Facebook-owned Oculus this week announced two more, and while one will replace the PC based headset that is the Oculus Rift, another will help you take virtual reality with you to go. A little like the Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR headsets, the Oculus Quest is portable VR, complete with room tracking, meaning you can experience true virtual reality inside of a headset you can take with you.

Unlike many others, you shouldn’t need a phone to make it work, and it will run games and apps on its own hardware, complete with a built-in store.
It’s not the first of its kind, as Lenovo offered something similar last year in the Mirage Solo, but Oculus could get more people over, as Oculus is first and foremost a VR company, and that’s really all it does.

And it’s the first of the smaller gadgets we heard about and played with this week.

Nokia has a small phone coming in the Nokia 1 Plus, a sub-$150 smartphone offering not a lot of size for not a lot of cash, and Headphone maker Audeze is shrinking its planar magnetic headphones for gamers in both size and price. While Audeze headphones can set you back as much as a thousand and higher, the Audeze Mobius deliver a wireless connection for phones and gamers, and do so at around $600.

And around that same price is a new iPad, or should we say, a refreshed iPad.

You’ve probably heard about it, and if you haven’t, reviewers have been whining about it for long enough, asking Apple when the iPad Mini would be refreshed.

Not many companies make small tablets anymore, and ever since the big phones arrives, the small tablets have been less cool. These days, it’s just Huawei, Samsung, and Apple that make them, though in the iPad Mini, Apple is showing that it may well have the best tiny tablet of all, which we’ve reviewed this week.

You might be wondering what the point of a small tablet is when we have so many big phones? After all, the 7.9 inch size of the iPad Mini isn’t that far from the 6.5 inch size of the iPhone XS Max.

And yet it is.

While both have relatively big sizes, the small iPad Mini is small for a tablet, and easy to hold in your hands. And even though the size is small for a tablet, the technology inside is fully featured, with much the same hardware that’s in the iPhone XR, the XS, but in a tablet made for people who want to carry around a book-sized iPad.

Because really that’s what the iPad Mini is: a book-sized iPad. It’s the iPad built for folks who love a Kindle, but want the Kindle to do more.

Maybe you want a Kindle-sized gadget for movies, or to let you play games, or even for web surfing and email and such. We’re not going to say the iPad Mini is the best iPad out there, but it’s one of the best sized iPads, and very easy to give into.

About the only confusion sits at the price. While the $599 starting price is good for 64GB storage, the $469 of the iPad 9.7 with last year’s chip still feels like better value. It does much the same, but with a slightly bigger screen.

We liked the iPad Mini more than we expected, that much we can say, and while you won’t be using it to get much work done, if you want a tablet that doesn’t take up much space in your life, this is definitely it.

It’s kind of like a five minute technology roundup, like this show, which is also now over. Our show doesn’t have Apple Pencil support, not like the iPad, but it is compact. Even if it’s still over.

So you’ve been listening to 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 on this show at the Pickr website, plus more.

The Wrap will be back next week for more of the big news in tech, and even some of the small, but until then have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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