Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Using a phone to talk

The Wrap – Staying Connected

This week on The Wrap, we’ll talk connectivity speeds and options, plus uses, covering NBN, 5G, augmented reality, gaming PCs, and more.

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For the beginning of July 2020, the start of a new financial year, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week, we start the show looking at connectivity. It’s something we’re reliant on day in and day out, and depending on where you happen to be, you’ll likely rely on a different type.

If you’re out and about, gradually returning to a world that has seriously changed in the past few months, you’re checking up on things using 4G or 5G. That can be fast, and it can also be expensive, because depending on who you’re with, prices might be changing.

That’s certainly the case for Telstra this week, which will see a few plans rise by five bucks this week, while Telstra’s suggestion that it would charge for 5G access won’t quite pan out, provided you’re on a $65 monthly plan or higher.

If 5G is a priority, Telstra isn’t the only option out there. Vodafone is playing with 5G in select places, as is Optus, the latter of which is now testing the more advanced millimeter wave technology, which is also being tested by Telstra, as well.

We’re seeing more 5G devices in Australia lately, which is good news for people who want that fast mobile connectivity, but what if you’re at home?

Many of us are spending a lot of time at home, particularly in Victoria where the lockdown isn’t quite over, so much that NBN Co has even come out with stats showing data consumption is up.

Speed may not be the same, though. If you’re watching all the Netflix and Stan and Disney and so on, and streaming all the music, and sharing it with a household, you may see those 25 or 50 or even 100 megabit max speeds drop.

Fortunately, we’re seeing some change, with faster plans in Australia. There are 250 and 1000 megabit plans now, both of which offer up to those speeds, with Vodafone joining the handful of companies who do just that. Those are some impressive speeds if you can net them, and while a megabit isn’t the same as a megabyte, divide by eight, and you’ll get the amount. That means a 250 megabit connection is sharing 31 megabytes per second, while a 1000 megabit is sharing as much as 125 megabytes per second.

That’s good news if you’re going to use it for gaming, and suggests near to no lag should be possible if you do this, though making sure you have a good gaming PC is part of that, too. There have been a few of those recently, with two models from Dell arriving for folks keen to spend a little less than the flagship Alienware computers. You’ll find them in the G5 desktop and G7 laptop, priced from $1600 and $2400 respectively, and they’re not alone.

Acer recently offered its own take on new machines, with options for gamers, creatives, and even a variant for folks who need their computers to be a little more rugged.

Choice is always a good thing, whether it’s in the variety of computers you have to choose from, those telcos we mentioned earlier — and a whole lot of others — down to the sheer number of phone options you have when it comes time to buy something new.

And this week, there is indeed something new, as Oppo’s sister brand Realme announces the X3, a more premium take for Realme, which includes some pretty spiffy flagship parts with a price tag that may not feel quite as top end.

There are two front cameras here, plus a camera system on the back capable of using digital zoom to hit 60 times superzoom, though it’ll do 10 times optical when you’re using it rather normally. That makes it a fairly capable camera system for a phone, and the hits don’t stop there.

The Realme X3 includes a fairly high-end Snapdragon 855 processor, 8 or 12GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of storage, and a 120Hz 6.6 inch screen, one of those ultra-fast displays you’re seeing on phones that typically cost over a grand.

Yet the Realme X3 doesn’t quite hit that. Locally, it’s much lower, sitting at $699, and giving bargain hunters a potentially interesting option to consider in their search.

It’s not the only really interesting thing this week, with augmented reality one of those other interesting things rolled out this week.

You may not be familiar with augmented reality, but it’s known by the term “AR”, and basically means throwing the digital world into the real world. You don’t need a VR headset, though; your phone can do it, and this week it can do a little more, as Google rolls out life-size dinosaurs in Google search, while Snapchat will let you try on Gucci shoes using your phone. Both concepts use augmented reality, which means your phone shows something through your phone’s camera, allowing you to see on the screen.

This sort of stuff isn’t going away, either, and will need solid connectivity, whatever you can get, but right now, an internet connection and a recent phone is all you really need. For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next week for more tech in five. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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