The Wrap – Phones & Earphones

A bunch of phones are on the way, and a bunch of earphones as well. This week, we’ll talk both, and find out what’s coming from Google, Samsung, Epson, Sennheiser, and more.

Transcript

It’s the beginning of August and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while it can be hard to believe we’re already in August, that’s where we are, with technology updates just around the corner.

Coming up next is IFA which is the mid-year consumer electronics show for Europe where phones and TVs and appliances are talked up, and there’s also an abundance of phones on the way. You can expect a iPhone or three in the coming weeks, as well as a new phone from Google.

In fact Google spoke up about its next Pixel this week, the Pixel 4, talking about an upcoming technology the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will feature. It’s called Soli, and it’s a new sensor that will add gesture control to Google’s new phones.

What do we mean by that? Well apparently you’ll be able to wave your hands to trigger features, such as call silencing and music control, while the chip will work with other technologies such as a facial unlock dot projector and infrared camera to unlock the phone by the time you’ve picked it up.

Google’s Pixel 4 isn’t the only phone with a motion sensor, and you can find it in the LG G8 right now, but it does suggest this technology could become more commonplace.

Samsung also has a phone announcement coming, and coming next week. August 7 in America and August 8 locally, but it’s not the only announcement from Samsung.

This week saw a new tablet model get outed, and while it’s not out until September, we’ve gone hands-on.

It’s called the Tab S6, which is interesting given there was no S5. There was an S5e, but it was more of a mid-range thing. Anywho, now we have a Tab S6, which is kind of like Samsung’s attempt in merging the tablet and the PC.

You’ll find a 10.5 inch vibrant AMOLED screen, a fast processor, and a thickness of 5.7mm, making it one of the thinnest tablets out there. It’s metal, light, rather nice to hold, and comes with a stylus so that it works as a note taker, a computer, and an entertainment gadget.

But it’s also not cheap, and will attract a minimum price of $1099 locally without the keyboard, which means the Galaxy Tab S6 won’t be a cheap tablet.

It does feel priced to compete against the iPad Pro, but consumers and reviewers alike will be the ones to decide whether that comparison is justified. We’ll let you know when we’ve played with the tablet for more than a few minutes.

Right now, it’s a pretty tablet that is thin and light, with a lovely screen built for entertainment.

And it’s not the only thing we’ve seen this week made to entertain. Epson this week unveiled a smallish projector that uses laser light to give walls and ceilings a bit of entertainment in a pint-sized way.

It’s called the EF-100, and it’s basically a portable projector for around $1700 that can play nicely with a Bluetooth speaker. Think of it like a small home entertainment projector for today. It’s not 4K, which might be the downside, but you may not care, because it’s not for a dedicated home theatre, but to be set up in a living room or bedroom.

When you’re out and about, you might want to rely on a different way to play back your entertainment, like earphones and headphones. This week, there are a few new options in that category, and it’s all wireless.

Samsung has a new pair of wireless noise cancelling headphones in the AKG N700NCM2, $500 headphones made for folks planning to travel that come off as around the ear, but might be a little too small for that.

We’re not sure how they’ll compete against the best yet, the Sony WH-1000XM3, but they won’t be alone, because the Bose Headphones 700 are expected in the near future as well.

There are also a few truly wireless earphones this week. There’s a new pair by Skullcandy in the Indy which look a little like Apple AirPods but for under $200. Jaybird has a smaller approach in the $300 Vista that weigh six grams.

And Sennheiser has a pair we’re reviewing in the Momentum True Wireless, earphones that are, as the name suggests, truly wireless and cordless earphones that cost $500. They’re small and simple, and even come with touch controls.

The sound is definitely one of the highlights, with decent balance, volume and clarity. We could do with a little more bass, but the earphones aren’t totally sealed. The fit can also be a little tight, so much that depending on what you’re used to, you may find them uncomfortable in the beginning.

However the battery life could be improved with a little under four hours between charges, and a max of 12 in the small case.

All up, it’s not a bad pair at all, but we’d suggest other models over them right now. Jabra’s 65t, Sony’s WF-1000XM3, the Beats PowerBeats Pro, the B&O E8. Sennheiser did good, but it can do better.

But it’ll have to do better next time, because we are out of time.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap can be found every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.