A notable week in tech in five minutes, covering Samsung’s big new Note 10 and Note 10+, Bose’s new headphones, Intel’s new chips, a few new speakers, and the Lenovo Smart Clock reviewed.
For the week ending August 9, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as we’re now in the second half of the year, let’s talk phones.
You’ve probably heard this one before: there’s a bunch of new phones coming out, and they’re going to razzle, dazzle, and excite you. Yes, we’re in that season, where if something didn’t grab you earlier on, it has the chance to do it now.
There are always two sides of the year for technology, with February to May offering the first set of phones, and August to November more or less doing the rest.
This year, that starts with the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung’s big new phone for the back half of the year. When we say it’s a big new phone, we actually mean it’s three, with the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Plus, and Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G.
You might spot the odd difference in their names, and that kind of extends to the phones themselves.
These are all Samsung’s big phones, with either a 6.3 inch or 6.8 inch screen, with a design that kind of bleeds the screen off to the top and bottom and sides, so much that it looks like you’re holding only a screen.
The Note range is more than just a big phone, though that’s an important part. They also come packing the power, the storage, the memory, and the connection options, and they also get a Pen. Called the S-Pen, in the Note 10, you can wave it around and those gestures will do things in apps, as well as control what’s on screen like a mouse.
Samsung’s Note 10 range also plays nicely with Windows and Mac computers, and is productivity focused, with a big battery to boot. But they also come with enough to let you have some down time, complete with between three and four cameras — three for the Note 10 and four for the Note 10 Plus — as well as a mode that could let you play PC games on your phone.
About the only thing the Note 10 range doesn’t include is a headphone jack. You might miss that, as it seems to be going away, but if you rely on wireless headphones, it’s going to be less of a big deal.
You’ll find the Note 10 range in stores by August 23, where they’ll carry a fairly big price from $1499, and it’s not the only expensive item on the way.
Bose dropped a hint this week for a pair of those wireless headphones we just spoke about, as it decided to bring its new noise cancelling headphones to Australia. They lack a special name, and are simply called the “Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700”. They’re a little more direct than the QuietComfort of the past, and have apparently been rebuilt from the ground up with eight microphones to focus on voice and noise cancellation.
They’re coming to Australia at almost the same time of the Note 10, arriving August 15 for around the $600 mark.
They’re not the most expensive earphones we saw this week, though. For that, we turn to Astell & Kern which nabs a pair of wired in-earphones for $5499. That over five thousand dollars, though they come with 12 drivers per side, a carbon fibre shell, and a price tag that might just make you fall over.
Fortunately not everything coming is quite that high priced.
That’s luxury, but you can get perfectly great headphones for well under that from quite a few brands. It’s like computers, because you don’t have to spend thousands upon to get a good box, though at least you can be rest knowing that in a few weeks, the next computers will be faster, now that Intel’s tenth generation Core processors are on the way.
We also saw a few speakers this week, ranging from a cylindrical $150 JBL Flip to a small $400 Bose multiroom speaker, all the way up to a thousand dollar retro style box from Klipsch.
And then there’s something for the bedside, with Lenovo’s Smart Clock.
A little different than just another speaker, the Lenovo Smart Clock takes a Lenovo Smart Speaker and Display, and packs it into a 4 inch design. Basically it’s a smaller smart display built to sit on a night stand or kitchen counter that you can talk to.
And by talk to, we mean talk to Google, because like the Lenovo Smart Display and Google Nest Home Hub, it uses Google Assistant.
But it’s a mostly a clock, with ten clock faces choose from. They range from analogue to digital to arty to a flip clock style, and it’s basically a small smart speaker and display that acts as a clock.
The problem is, that’s all it kind of is. You can play music from it, but the Lenovo Smart Clock doesn’t sound great at all. The sound is shallow and bright, and isn’t a great speaker for music.
It’s a real shame, because the idea has merit, but at $129, it’s hard to recommend just because it could be so much better. Under a hundred, sure. Over, we’re not as convinced.
But hey, you can listen to podcasts on it. Podcasts like this one, which is also now over.
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.