Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Beats Flex

The Wrap – Great earphones & Black Friday scams

Black Friday is in full swing, but how can you tell when you’re looking at a Black Friday scam? Plus what’s new in the audio world, complete with reviews from Bose and Beats. All in five.

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It’s the end of November and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as the year begins to wrap up, doing what this show is called, the tech news is understandably becoming more about how people will spend their money, because there holidays are coming up, and that’s typically seen as the gift giving season.

That starts with the Black Friday sales, which happens in Australia despite there being no Thanksgiving, which is what precedes Black Friday in America. Australia still has the sales, though, and for many it starts the holiday shopping, with retailers and brands reducing prices to get people to spend.

But like they have been all year, scammers are well and truly about, so if you are doing Black Friday sales, be sure to stay alert as to what’s real and what’s not. Kaspersky sent word that there have been around 20,000 Amazon phishing attempts pop up this year, which means around 20,000 people have had to deal with a fake Amazon trying to steal their money.

If you’re concerned, always check the website’s address to see if it’s the real deal, and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Try Googling the deal to find it online. If it can only be found through an email link, it’s probably a scam.

Scams aren’t exactly in short supply, and Sophos confirmed to us recently that “the lure of a heavily discounted product” is what convinces us to part with our cash. But if you fall for a con, not only will you lose money, you won’t get the goods, so stay aware.

There are good deals to be had out in the world, but stay alert and sceptical, because scammers make money from these sorts of tricks all the time, and if you fall for one, you’ll be yet another one of those statistics.

It’s not all sad news, though. In fact, some news comes from a legitimately free concept coming from Audible, which has teamed up with local tourist group Empty Esky to get more people touring Australia over the holidays, visiting places in rural Australia to score free audiobooks.

Since so many of us won’t be leaving the country until flights out of the country are a real tangible thing alongside a coronavirus vaccine, it means a road trip might not just support businesses doing it tough, but also get you a free audiobook along the way.

Not everything is free, though.

Some of the gadgets out this week definitely aren’t, because that’s how life goes.

Huawei’s latest phones are out, and while they’re certainly not free, the Nova 7i and Mate 40 Pro are both free of Google Play, bringing that continued defiant Android without the Google store to more devices in Australia.

Technics has a new smart speaker system in the SC-C70 Mark 2, a gadget that clearly needs a better name, and offers a 2.1 channel design with a $1649 price. It’s not quite as exy as the Danish Dynaudio Heritage Special, which are two wooden speakers with an 11 grand price tag. Yep, you heard that right.

Those are some expensive sound gadgets, and probably not made for everyone.

However this week, we’re reviewing two sets of wireless earphones that are more focused on everyone, with the $80 Beats Flex and the $400 Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds. Two different earphones for different price tags, but worth hearing about all the same.

At the low end of the range, there’s the Beats model, which comes as Apple kills off its free bundled in earphones in the iPhone 12 range. At $80, the Beats Flex are the least expensive wireless Beats we’ve seen yet, and not bad, at that. They’re corded to each other, and offer p to 12 hours of battery life.

And while they’re clearly not premium, they provide a decent sound that is brighter than we expected, but still easy to listen to.

We think you can think of the Beats Flex as the entry level wireless earphones for newbies, because that’s largely what they are.

At the high end, there’s the $400 Bose QC Earbuds, and these are different again. Built with noise cancellation in mind, they hold in your ear and cancel out the world, acting like the Bose 700 over-ear headphones, but in a smaller design.

Now they’re still a fairly large pair of earphones, and aren’t really as small as what you can find form either Apple or Jabra, but they’re fairly comfy, and provide a balanced sound. And we mean it. Great lows, mids, and highs, with a bass that isn’t overly destructive, and does the job nicely.

The noise cancellation is a good effort, too, though isn’t adaptive. Rather, you can set three favourite and jump between them based on how you want to hear the world, whether you do or don’t, really.

Overall, they’re a great effort, and some of the year’s best, but the case they come with is hardly pocket-friendly. It can be wirelessly charged, which is a nice touch, but the case is huge, delivering a good ten to 12 hours more than the five-ish you can expect from the earphones when in use.

The result is Bose’s strongest noise cancelling earbuds yet, and a great result. We’re not quite sure they have the edge on either Sony’s or Apple’s earbuds, but the Bose QC Earbuds are very good all the same.

So good you may just want to keep listening, though we’ve run out of time. So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up. A new episode goes live every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but for now, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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