Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
The technology in the Fitbit Sense

The Wrap – How TVs & Wearables Are Changing

New TV technology to take on OLED, wearable tech to monitor stress, plus what’s coming in phones and security cameras at home. Tech is changing, and it’s all in five minutes.

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It’s the end of August 2020 and this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while this year has been not far off crazy, things are still changing. Technology is improving throughout this all, and things are indeed happening.

Take what’s happening in video games, which will see a couple of new devices by the end of this year, as both the Xbox and PlayStation see new models. The Xbox One X and PlayStation 5 look set to offer new gaming experiences by the year’s end, though you probably shouldn’t expect them to be terribly cheap.

The same is true for whatever Apple launches in the next batch of iPhones, with these expected in the next few weeks, though they probably won’t be cheap. Apple already has an inexpensive iPhone this year, the 2020 iPhone SE, and while it’s a pretty good deal — hell, at $750, it’s a great deal — the next batch of 2020 iPhones will likely be proper flagships and the one that sits just below it. Expect them to be good devices, and you can expect them to be a little on the pricey side, though that’s the gist of things lately.

Flagship phones are costing a pretty penny, whether it’s the $1600 Oppo Find X2 Pro flagship, the near $2K Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, or edging close to three grand for the foldable phones you can find, some of which cost even more.

Cost is an issue across all of technology, and while it’s a bit of a growing pain point in mobile phones, it’s a factor in a lot of other places, too.

Take TVs, where the best technology is typically expensive, be it the magic of tiny crystals used to hone and enhance the colour of a TV, also known as a quantum dot, or even OLED, the organic light emitting diode screens that charge a premium.

Both technologies can be fairly expensive, but there are other ideas popping up to provide more choice, and one we saw earlier in the year at CES. Back in January during the world’s biggest tech show, Hisense showed an idea that combined a 4K colour panel with a Full HD monochrome panel, with the two working together to deliver more controlled backlighting for that 4K Ultra HD colour screen.

It’s a technology called “Dual Cell” where the two panels are merged as one, and it’s so compelling for Hisense, that the company has killed off its OLED TVs, turning to this technology instead. It’s kind of a halfway point between LED-backlit TVs and OLED, and could just provide some solid competition against the big boys.

And that’s good, because competition is good. It’s healthy, and while it can make things a little more difficult to choose from, it means there’s more choice overall.

There’s more choice to solid-state drives later this month as WD looks set to add a high-speed external drive in the My Passport SSD, offering a crazy one gigabyte per second.

Meanwhile Fitbit has a very cool and competitive smartwatch on the way, looking set to take on the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and the random assortment of other watches, including those from Skagen, Fossil, and Withings.

Fitbit’s big new player this year is the Sense, and it’s something a little bit different, offering an assortment of sensors to help the Sense, well, sense what’s going on. You’ll find a heart-rate monitor, step tracking, GPS, and blood oxygen, and now there’s something very new, built to track your stress.

These days, we all have a bit of that, and Fitbit is using an electrodermal activity sensor to measure your sweat to work out what’s going in your life. Don’t expect the Fitbit Sense to fill in the shoes of a psychologist, but it just might tell you about your stress levels in the hope that you do something to fix them.

At around $500 locally, the Fitbit Sense won’t quite be for everyone, but it also doesn’t need to be. Fitbit will have other models that fill in the gaps, such as the new GPS-equipped by skin-sensor-missing Versa 3, plus a model made for activity and heart rate tracking in the Inspire 2.

While heart-rate tracking is handy, one thing that can stop your heart is when intruders try to break in. Fortunately, home security cameras are plentiful, with loads of options out there, including the one we’re reviewing this week, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera.

And as the name suggests, it’s a floodlight with a camera built in, allowing you to shine a light on people at night, but also capture them day and night.

At around $450, it’s easily one of the best home security cameras we’ve tried in recent years, bundling some very, very bright LEDs around a 2K-capable camera that’s sharp and responsive.

Our only major quibble is that it can be too bright, even when you turn it down. At its lowest brightness, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight is still really bright, and it would be nice if you could just lower it a little more so it wouldn’t blind the occupants of the house getting out of their car at night.

And while we adjust our eyes, that’s our show, so you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next week, but until then, have a great one. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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