Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Epson EF-100W

The Wrap – The Best Tech of 2019

For the final episode of The Wrap for 2019, we’re joined by journalists Adam Turner of Vertical Hold and The Age, and The Australian‘s Chris Griffith to look at the best technology of the year.

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It’s the final days of December 2019, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with the end of the year in sight, it’s time to check out the best of the best of the best.

We’ve seen more technology than you can shake a USB stick at this year, and since those are a bit of a rarity in the wireless world, we’re not even sure if that phrase has meaning anymore.

But the best technology does have meaning, and there was a lot of it this year, so we’ve turned to some familiar names to help us go through the best technology of 2019, and that starts in sound.

This year was big on smart speakers and wireless sound, which saw some interesting entrants, not just from the usuals of Google and Amazon, but also from Sonos, which released the Move, a big Sonos that could be moved around like a Bluetooth speaker.

We were fans of it, as was The Age writer and Vertical Hold host Adam Turner, who had some choice things to say about the Sonos Move.

Adam Turner (The Age, Vertical Hold)

Sonos has led the way in terms of multi room audio for years, and the Sonos move is its first foray into the totally wireless, battery powered portable speaker market. Sure, its hefty and expensive, but in return, it just blows away every other portable speaker. The sound is phenomenal helped by the fact that it uses its onboard microphones to automatically tune itself to the acoustics of its environment. So you can listen to music in the lounge room, carry it out in the backyard to rock a barbecue, and then even throw it in the car and take it to the park. Knowing that it will always sound great. It’s also tough, designed to survive some rough and tumble, as well as exposure to the elements.

You can also talk to the Sonos Move when it’s connected to your home WiFi, and call up either the Google or Amazon smart assistants, much like you can with a smart display. You might even call this year the year of the smart display, because everyone had them.

While we were more partial to the 10 inch Google Nest Hub Max, Adam said he liked Lenovo’s tiny bedside take on the category, the Lenovo Smart Clock.

Adam Turner (The Age, Vertical Hold)

I’m still not convinced that every home needs a smart screen, it’s often easier to listen to a speaker rather than to look at a screen. But the Lenovo smart clock is a great example of where a smart screen can be a good fit. The problem with most smart screens is that they’re too bulky because they’re trying to cram in a decent speaker. It will be interesting to see if 2020 is the year that they put aside sound quality and finally release a flat, wall mountable smart screen, I reckon that will take the concept to the next level.

While we wait for 2020 to deliver a more capable smart display, there were more gadgets to speak of that made 2019 amazing.

For instance, we loved the iPad 10.2, the entry-level iPad that saw the addition of Apple’s Smart Keyboard Cover this year. The Australian’s Chris Griffith preferred a smaller iPad.

Chris Griffith (The Australian)

A device that went particularly well this year was Apple’s iPad Mini. Apple relaunched it after several years, but with a much more powerful processor that really makes this a real goer in terms of a small workhorse on the go.

Laser projection also stood out in terms of technology this year, pushing entertainment at home to some new and exciting levels. While OLED is still the technology on TVs to beat, laser projection can mean a big screen experience is possible from a projector in daylight, without needing to close those curtains.

We tested the Epson EF-100W, and while it needs more resolution, the high-def laser projector wins points by being a compact and affordable approach to the technology. Meanwhile, Hisense offered something a little different for the more discerning customer.

Chris Griffith (The Australian)

Hisense brought out their hundred inch laser TV. This is a laser TV with a projector that throws the picture up the wall onto the screen from below it and you get a nice hundred inch display but costing much less than a normal TV would cost.

And there were even some particularly special gadgets that appealed to journalists from around the country.

For instance, we were surprised by both the Bose Frames and the Birde Interactive Smart Media Player. The Bose Frames are a surprisingly cool take on sunglasses with speakers built in, offering great sound that can only be used in the day, because you can’t replace the lenses.

Meanwhile, the Birde Interactive Smart Media Player is a speaker for kids that uses NFC to play titles for kids. They don’t need a phone or tablet, just one of the little discs, making the whole thing remarkably easy.

There’s also a neat take on the picture frame, from Netgear.

Chris Griffith (The Australian)

If I look at what was around this year, I particularly loved the Netgear mural art frame. You can choose from a library of 30,000 works, which means you can have a new picture on your wall anytime that you actually want.

The reality is there were a lot of great gadgets for 2019, and with 2020 up next, we suspect we’ll be intrigued by what else is coming very, very shortly.

But that’s it for The Wrap in 2019, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. We’re back Fridays at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Until then have a great week, and a lovely and safe New Year. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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