The Wrap – The return of wearables

A week of wearables from Fitbit to family-friendly to Huawei’s watch offering a full week of battery life. That plus early impressions of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 from guest reviewer WhistleOut’s Alex Choros. All in five minutes on The Wrap.

Transcript

For the week ending March 8, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and if you’re standing in line waiting for a phone today, we have one question for you: what exactly are you doing? It’s 2019. No one stands in phone lines with anticipation anymore. Go online, order it, and wait for it like everyone else. Your time is better spent doing something else.

So why are we talking about this? Well, Samsung is launching its Galaxy S10 phones today, only a couple of weeks after announcing them. If that sounds fast, it is, and it’s so fast, we don’t actually have a review for you. Maybe next week.

However we did ask one reviewer who has spent some time with the Galaxy S10 Plus to give us some thoughts on the phone, so if you are standing in line — or you’ve ordered like a regular person — here are some glimpses on that new phone from WhistleOut’s Alex Choros:

Alex Choros, WhistleOut: I’ve only been using the Galaxy S10 for a couple of days so far but my initial impressions are pretty good. The triple-lens camera is extremely versatile, and I’ve really been enjoying using the wide-angle lens. You can get some real dramatic shots. Battery life seems more robust compared to the Galaxy S9 and the phone itself is just lovely from a build quality perspective. The S10 doesn’t really break the mould, but it’s a solid iteration on Samsung’s winning formula.

That’s already a good sign, and one folks buying the new phone will be pleased to hear, as well as Samsung, but this week is more than just what Samsung has coming out.

It’s also very much been about wearables, too, and if you fancy the world on your wrist, we’ve found a few options available, no matter your age.

If you’re an adult, you’ve always had options because, let’s face it, you can go and buy yourself any of the number of options. That’s the joy of being an adult. That and an endless supply of terrible, terrible puns, to which we apologise for in advance.

On the wearable side of things this week, there are wearable headphones and wearable watches, and most of these are made for people who aren’t kids. In fact in Australia, Microsoft has released its Surface headphones of late, while Beats has teamed up with a Japanese fashion label for a special edition of its Beats X headphones.

But wearables are typically more wrist-bound than headphone.

If you were eyeing the Fitbit Versa or Charge 3 last year, but couldn’t decide if they were for you, new models might be tempting. This week, Fitbit has the Versa Lite and the Inspire wearables, and they’re both a little different.

The Versa Lite is a slightly less expensive version of last year’s Versa smartwatch, and while it’s includes familiar features like a blood oxygen sensor, a good four days of battery life, water resistance, and smartphone notifications, it won’t track swimming laps, nor can it control music at all.

Fitbit’s Inspire and Inspire HR are less like a smartwatch and more like a smart band, and while Fitbit has a few of these already, the Inspire brings fitness monitoring to a swimproof design that brings the cost right down, closer to $180 with the heart rate monitor and $130 without.

Fitbit will also be releasing a kid-friendly swimproof wrist wearable in the Ace 2, but that’s not coming for a few months.

But there is a kid-friendly wearable launching this week from Alcatel and Vodafone in the Alcatel Family Watch, a cute colourful wearable made for kids… but also made for parents to track their kids. Think of it as a way to keep tabs on the little ones, and even send them messages. It’s kind of like a phone because it has call functionality, but only to people on an approved contact list, so your kids can’t rack up quite the bill.

There’s a GPS inside to track them, and its water resistant, too. We’re checking to see what security is like, because that could eventually become an issue, but if your kid is asking for a wearable like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, this could be the middle-ground that makes both of you happy.

And finally we checked out a wearable that made us happier than we expected, coming in the form of the Huawei Watch GT, a device that is more like a fitness band shaped like a watch.

It’ll track your steps, your activities, your sleep, and monitor your heart all the time. And we mean all the time.

The Huawei Watch GT also happens to look good — like a normal watch — and not only works with both iPhone and Android, but racked up a full week of battery life. Crazy.

What it doesn’t offer is customisable watchfaces, a bit of a bug bear, and you can’t really add your own. There’s also no mobile payment technology, and no standard operating system. It’s something Huawei made. We don’t know what it is.

Also it lacks a price, at least in Australia.

Here, it only comes with Huawei Mate 20 Pro phones, making it free, but also not free, because you have to spend 1500 bucks. If you do, it’s definitely worth what you pay, though it may not be the strongest smartwatch around. It just offers some of the best battery life.

It goes on and on and on. Not like this show, which is now over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next Friday for more technology in five, but until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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