Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
The Empire Strikes Back

The Wrap – Star Wars 4K & Wireless Sound

This week on The Wrap, we’ll look at the new streaming player in town as Disney arrives, plus look at budget phones and wireless earphones, and even tell you one of the best pairs right now. All in five minutes.

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For the week ending November 22, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we start this show with a look at what feels different this week. Over in the US and UK, the world is cooling down. Here in Australia, it’s the opposite, as the warmer season kicks in and everything heats up.

It’s not just the temperature that’s heating up, because in the world of streaming, the competition is seriously heating up.

November has brought not one, but two more streaming companies, as Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus arrived, and each is a little different.

Apple TV Plus is a little different from Netflix, Stan, or Amazon, because it only has original programming. There are a couple of science fiction programs, a drama, plus a little bit of kids and documentary programming, but Apple TV Plus is largely a little bare right now.

There’s not much to Apple’s streaming service just yet, not like its gaming service Apple Arcade, but if you’ve bought an Apple phone or tablet this year, you kind of get it bundled in for free, so at least its price makes up for the lack of programming in the beginning. More is coming, but it’s not there right now.

That’s in contrast to Disney’s own streaming service, which launched this week in Australia, Disney Plus. When the service went live on November 19, all of the Disney, Pixar, and Marvel goodness on Stan disappeared, which might just weaken Stan’s library for the moment, but makes Disney Plus pretty staggering.

In fact, Disney appears to be going for the jugular with Disney Plus, offering one of the biggest libraries for nine bucks a month or ninety a year. You’ll find most of the Disney theatrical and straight to video library, old TV shows like Ducktales and Darkwing Duck, Pixar’s movies, the Marvel universe both old and new, National Geographic, and even The Simpsons.

While most of that will grab the kids, one of the standout reasons to look to Disney Plus is the inclusion of the Star Wars film and TV show catalogue, with much of it in 4K. The old movies have never been in 4K until this point, and while this basically means you can expect Ultra HD Star Wars releases next year, for now, it means Star Wars in 4K can be had for a monthly fee. You’ll still want a 4K TV to make the best of it, but if you do, that’s hard to pass up.

And in line with Star Wars, there’s also a new tie-in special edition phone from Samsung, with a Galaxy Note 10 Plus decked out to look like Kylo Ren. There’s a Star Wars movie coming to theatres in December, so this is a limited edition, but at two grand, it’s not going to be for everyone.

There are far more options in the phone world, though. While the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a great phone, so are the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, but all of these come with seriously high prices. These days, phones don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and lately we’re seeing plenty of evidence.

This week, Alcatel offered up a $300 phone with three rear cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and a big 6.5 inch screen. That’s coming in the Alcatel 3X, and it’s proof you don’t necessarily have to spend much to get quite a bit.

In fact, in the past few months, we’ve seen similar proof from Nokia, from Motorola, from Oppo, and from the recent arrivals of Mintt, Realme, and Aspera, with all of these offering handsets that won’t break the bank.

There is clearly a lot of choice, and it’s everywhere. There were additions to headphones this week, with Jabra updating the Elite 65t wireless earphones to the slightly smaller Elite 75t, while speaker brand Dali entered noise cancelling headphones for a change.

But the real competition in this area is between the Apple AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3, both of which offer premium noise cancellation and wire-free sound for $400.

So which one is best?

Well, funnily enough, it’s actually a tie. While the AirPods Pro are a little more stylish and fit in with an iPhone beautifully, the Sony earphones offer strong sound and noise cancelling, and work better across both Android and iPhone.

If fashion and size matters more to you, and you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro make sense. And they’re a little water-resistant, so they’re the only ones you’d go running with. But if sound is your main focus, the Sony WF-1000XM3 make more sense.

Regardless of what you pick, both will sound excellent, making this show or anything else sound as good as it possibly could.

But this show is only five minutes, and it’s also now over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find a new episode every Friday 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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