Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Apple iPhone 11

The Wrap – Real Phones & Fake Retailers

This week, find out about the final phones we’re reviewing, the Apple iPhone 11 and Asus ROG Phone II, plus how to avoid fake retailers trying to scam you out of your money. All that plus more in five.

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‘Twas a few days before Christmas, and you’re tuned into The Wrap. Australia’s fastest technology roundup is the quickest on the map. And we’re talking about tech, but only a little in rhyme, it takes too long to write, and frankly we don’t have the time.

But what we do have the time for is what the rest of the year has entailed, because as the tech world shuts up shop and goes on holiday, the preparations are underway for CES next year.

From early January, The Wrap will be reporting live from Las Vegas and CES, where you can expect news about TVs, computers, headphones, wearables, and more.

Before then, we still have some gadgets to get through, and a bit of news. We’ve been writing frantically, playing and reviewing with so many devices, but also writing gift guides.

So a few days before Christmas, and a little over a week before the end of the year, what’s new?

First up, let’s talk the holiday season, because that’s where we are. A few days to Christmas, you might be running to get your shopping done, and that’s fine.

While there are numerous options, it’s worth pointing out that in Australia especially, sometimes an I O U is a great idea. If you plan on saving some money on technology, the rumours we’re hearing about technology sales suggest there will be quite a few, which could mean bargains.

Just be aware of where those bargains come from. There’s a bit of a buyer beware at the moment, as security makers warn of fake retailers.

And what is a fake retailer? Well it’s exactly what it sounds like, with a website designed to look like a known retailer, yet being a scam site. When you throw in your details to buy quote-unquote “limited stock”, the scammer might just take your money and not send you anything, disappearing without a trace. You might even find those details shared to something else.

Fake retailers are often pushed through email, and in the lead up to Christmas, they’re a real problem. You can also expect them just after, because with Boxing Day sales, those emails will be out in abundance, hoping you spend even more money throughout the sales.

To not get caught, pay attention to details on the site. The web address, the language, and whether or not it looks legit. Emails that come in randomly advertising prices too good to be true probably are, and so your best bet might be to head to a site you know or Google the product.

When it comes time to paying, you might have more options this week. Australians who use St George and other Westpac-owned banks can look forward to using an iPhone to pay for things over the holidays, as Westpac has made it work.

You see Westpac has switched on Apple Pay for a few of its banks — St George, Bank of Melbourne, and BankSA — but not Westpac itself. That’s coming in the middle of next year, some six years after Apple Pay was first announced.

Better late than never, though there are plenty of banks out there, so if you’re looking for one that supports your phone, you definitely have choices.

And you have choices in phones, too, which we’ve checked out some this week, to end the year. We’re writing as quickly as we can, but let’s talk about the iPhone 11 and the Asus ROG Phone 2, phones that cost over a grand and bring with some definite interest.

The normal phone here is the iPhone 11, relatively speaking, anyway. It’s the least expensive of the new Apple models, and takes much the same approach to hardware, but makes the screen an LCD, uses an aluminium frame instead of stainless steel, and only includes the ultra-wide and standard camera, not the close-up of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.

But despite those changes, the iPhone 11 is still a really great phone. Like the iPhone XR before it, it’s water resistant, offers a good day and a half of battery life, and feels great in the hands.

The Asus ROG Phone 2 is different again. It’s bigger, heavier, and is made for one focus: games. It’s made for games so much that it’s not just fast and powerful, it comes with a staggering 12 gigs of RAM and 512 gigs of storage. It’s crazy.

It also comes with a special case that makes it into a portable game console for Android complete with wireless controls. It makes it kind of impossible to use as a phone like this, and the whole idea still needs tweaking. You’ll need to customise your controls on a per-game level, one of the sour points, and not every game performs better. If anything, the extra touch triggers on the side of the phone are the winning points, because games reliant on touch controls can seem slower.

Like a lot of things, your mileage may vary, but you’re definitely going to want to like gaming on your phone to want the Asus ROG Phone 2. It’s big, heavy, and a neat idea, but we’re not sure we’d pick it over say a tablet, a laptop, or even a Nintendo Switch.

But if you get one for Christmas, or even the iPhone 11, we suspect you’ll be enamoured. And if not, there’s always returns and a Boxing Day sales waiting around the corner.

Until then, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find a new show 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.

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