The Wrap – The latest laptops and high-priced headphones

A relatively short week in tech still has big news, with Intel revealing chips that will likely bring new Macs in the middle of the year. Plus foldable phone woes, pricey headphones reviewed, and more. All in five, all on The Wrap.


For the last week of April 2019, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, a roundup that looks at gadgets that might be coming to your hands real soon, even if you are an early adopter.

Not everyone is, mind you; most people choose to wait until products have been tested before they part ways with their money, biding their time as going with what they know — really, what works — before they spend on something new.

That’s probably smart, especially since new technology — really new technology — takes time to iron out. There are bugs, design quirks, and of course, it can be expensive to start with, and so unless you’re a proper early adopter, you might not want to feel the sting of being an early beta tester.

And that’s a feeling some people might be feeling from Samsung this week, because while it launched the first foldable phone last week in America, it has quickly pulled back and delayed launches in much of the rest of the world.

Like Australia, because while we were due to see the Galaxy Fold in the next few weeks, now we might be waiting a little longer, as problems start to emerge.

Last week it was a screen layer that looked like a screen protector, but did some serious harm if you removed it. This week, it’s worse, and with build issues posing problems, it’s not really the start anyone would have wanted for the first foldable phones.

Suffice to say, if you thought the foldable phone revolution was going to kick into gear this year, it might be just a tad late.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other things to look out for. If you like robots, drones, and Iron Man, there’s an Iron Man robot from UBTech and an Iron Man drone from DJI this week, as Endgame fever brings the technology tie in.

Nikon has a new waterproof compact in the W150, made mostly for folks who don’t have a water-friendly camera and want one.

And Huawei has a new computer in the MateBook 13, a MacBook Air competitor built by a company more known for phones than anything else.

In fact, Huawei’s new computer wasn’t the only new computer we saw this week, because there’s plenty happening in that space. Razer has new machines, as does Dell and Lenovo, and there’s a great reason why: Intel has new chips.

Part of Intel’s ninth generation Core technology, the new chips not only bring a more desktop-like performance to the laptop, but also improved WiFi, as Intel supports WiFi 6, the latest WiFi technology.

WiFi 6 goes by another name, and that’s 802.11ax, a bit of jargon that tells you just how fast it can be, supporting gigabit speeds. You’ll need a new router to take advantage of WiFi 6 and its much faster wireless networking, but Netgear has one of those out in Australia, and you can bet more will rock up soon.

Outside of the WiFi, Intel’s new chips are about performance, and so you can more or less expect Apple to get them in new laptops by the middle of this year. If you can wait until early June, you might just get a better MacBook than you would now.

And while laptops and foldable phones made up most of the week, we spent time with headphones as well.

Two, actually, with Jabra’s Evolve 65t and Microsoft’s Surface Headphones, totally different pairs made for totally different people.

Microsoft’s wireless Surface headphones feature a style more like a Surface Pro tablet, with a grey look that’s cool and just a little retro, with rotating controls on either ear that let you dial in volume and noise cancellation. They have a very warm sound, almost like you’re listening to music on nice speakers. The volume level is quite loud, and while the noise cancellation isn’t the best we’ve heard, Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are quite good for a first effort, even if the app is bizarrely only available on Windows. That’s something just a little crazy, especially since you’re likely to use them on your phone. It’s not like Windows Phones are still a thing.

Jabra’s Evolve 65t are a little more inconspicuous, and sit in the ears like last year’s Jabra Elite 65t. In fact, they basically are the Elite 65t: they look the same, feature the same case, and sound identical. That means they’re great, but because the Evolve 65t earphones are made for business and are “Unified Communication” certified, are very expensive.

That’s a point you can make for both the Jabra Evolve 65t and the Microsoft Surface Headphones, though. At $605 for the Jabra and $500 for the Surface headphones, it’s simply hard to recommend either, because there’s simply better value for each out there.

Jabra’s Elite 65t and Sony’s WH-1000XM3 are better value respectively, which is probably where we’d look.

In fact you can ask us about headphones any time, simply send us a message, don’t shout at the podcast, because that won’t work. Especially because this show is over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears every Friday at Podcast One and Apple Podcasts, and you can find out about what you’ve heard and more at the Pickr website. We’ll be back next week for more tech in five, but until then have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.