Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Beats Solo Pro

The Wrap – Beats & Black Friday

This week on The Wrap, we’ll look at Black Friday, phones from Samsung and Realme, and the latest Beats headphones reviewed. All in five minutes.

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It’s the last few days of November and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and regardless of whether you’re in an Australian late spring and early summer, or kicking up your feet during the cooler seasons as autumn kicks in overseas, you’re probably inundated with Black Friday. Black Friday this, Black Friday that, and of course the occasional tidbit of Cyber Monday.

These days, online is the way most of us buy, so the idea of Cyber Monday is less of a thing. Black Friday is today, but it’s been “Black Friday” for pretty much the entire week, because typically Black Friday sales run for the days leading up to Black Friday, and then a few days afterwards.

In Australia, Black Friday isn’t a real thing because we don’t have Thanksgiving. Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season in the US, but in Australia, we don’t have a sale event for the start, more for the end. We have Boxing Day sales at the end, but America does not because it doesn’t have Boxing Day.

For Australians, it means that while Black Friday sales are in full swing, they may not be the big impact sales you’re looking for. You might find some good discounts and deals here and there, and we’ve certainly seen a few, but if you’re looking for the best deals, you might want to wait until the end of the year, when the whole year end sales properly kick off.

Australians have other things to look forward to, such as how fellow Aussies could be helping solve health epidemics using Twitter and Facebook. Social media to the rescue, it seems, after the CSIRO’s data science division Data61 has proven it can use social networks to diagnose medical conditions using the internet.

Basically, we’re all how this works, because when we tweet that we have a cough or that something is happening, technology built between Data61 and the University of New South Wales analyses it, looks for connections in words and dates, and predicts if health issues are on the horizon.

It’s another one of those great ideas Aussies have contributed to the world, like WiFi, spray-on skin, the black box, and plenty of others.

Australians are contributing to the world by way of other things as well, in consumer tech such as headphones and phones. You can find headphones from Audiofly, Blueant, Audeara, Nura, and Nuheara, to name but a few, and phones from Aspera and Mintt. There aren’t a lot of Aussie phone makers, and none are 5G, but there is at least one new 5G phone out.

It’s not Australian, but it is from Samsung, as the company behind the Galaxy Note 5G gets out a mid-range model, the A90 5G. It’s a little less expensive, hovering around the thousand dollar mark, complete with three cameras and a big screen.

TCL has also arrived on Australian shores, both with a phone, the TCL Plex, and a 4G watch. You probably know TCL for its TVs, while its phone division is basically just Alcatel. As far as we know, there will still be Alcatel phones, while the 4G Movetime Family Watch is a wearable phone for kids.

That’s not the only 4G phone we spent time with this week. We played with a brand that is new to Australia, one of a few this year. You’ve probably never heard of Realme, and that’s ok. It’s a new brand that uses the Oppo manufacturing line to build phones which look a little similar.

Focused on the mid-range, the Realme XT is a five hundred dollar phone that features a glass body, a lot of memory and storage, and four cameras, including a 64 megapixel camera. That 64 megapixel camera is the best part of the four camera setup, as is the battery, which can hit close to two days, but will probably give you a day and a half.

While the phone could do with water resistance and mobile payment support, the Realme XT isn’t a bad first step towards the mid-range. It’s Realme’s first expensive phone, and at $450, it’s not terribly expensive, playing to the mid-range of other mobiles. It’s no Google Pixel 3a or Oppo Reno, but it’s not bad either.

Also not bad are the latest headphones from Beats, the Solo Pro. They’re the first Solo wireless headphones with noise cancelling, and they use adaptive noise cancellation, too, so they adapt practically where ever you go.

And they sound really good. There’s a good focus on balance, with a nice punch to the mids and lows, plus one of the best transparency modes you’ll hear. When you switch the Beats Solo Pro mics on to listen to the outside world, the volume is normal.

They also fold up and come with a felt case, but as good as the $430 Solo Pro headphones are, the biggest issues are the port and the fit. Beats is owned by Apple, so they use the iPhone Lightning port for charging — which is weird if you’re on Android. The fit is also tight. It should loosen over time, but in the beginning, it might feel like you’re getting a big squeeze from a friend serenading you with sound.

Not us, though, because we’re out of time.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find a new show Fridays at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but until then have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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