The Wrap - Australia's fastest technology roundup

The Wrap – The best tech of 2020

This week on The Wrap, we’re ending the year looking at the best technology of 2020. Joining us are two of Australia’s best tech journalists, Jen Dudley-Nicholson and Alice Clarke, and we’ll find out which is the best tech of the year.

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Transcript

It’s the end of 2020 and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and it’s also the last episode for 2020. We’ve recorded a lot this year, covering every week of this year with at least one episode, a special or two, plus every day of CES back in January.

And that leaves us with one episode: the best tech of the year.

It’s been a weird year, for sure, and we probably don’t have to tell you why. But before we get to a new year, let’s check out what was the best tech this year, because it might surprise you, with more than just a few phones getting attention in 2020.

Jen Dudley-Nicholson, National Technology Editor for News.com.au and The Courier Mail

So 2020 has been an absolute dumpster fire for humans but great for technology. So some of the things that have really impressed me this year have been noise canceling technology. And in particular the stuff inside the Sony Wh 1000 X Mark fours, their headphones, they really need a shorter name. Also Bose QC earbuds have been great both really useful devices when you’re working from home.

That’s Jen Dudley Nicholson, National Tech Editor of News and The Courier Mail, giving high marks to the latest gear from Sony and Bose, and she’s not alone. We’re big fans of both, with the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones being the best noise cancelling headphones of the year.

They’re big and comfy, and yet also not thoroughly expensive, at least compared to what Apple released in the back half of the year in the AirPods Max, which were surprising, but very exy.

However Apple didn’t just focus in headphones in 2020, and offered a lot more.

Jen Dudley-Nicholson, National Technology Editor for News.com.au and The Courier Mail

Apple has been putting out so much stuff this year, two of the standouts, for me there have been the home pod mini at 150 bucks very easy to set up. I think they’re going to sell so many and also Apple silicon chips we finally saw them and inside the MacBook Pro 17 hours of battery life is super impressive, even if I can’t test it by actually going any where.

Apple had a lot of technology this year, and the Apple M1 laptops were a part of that. The M1 MacBook Air is our computer of the year, delivering much the same performance of the M1 MacBook Pro for less, but with so much more battery life, and support for iOS apps, too.

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Apple also has wins with the 8th gen iPad, which is basically a highly capable $500 iPad, and the $150 HomePod Mini are quite interesting, too. There have been a few other speakers this year, and two we think worth pointing out are the Amazon Echo 4, which is the same price as the HomePod Mini, but offers a big sound that doesn’t need an iPhone to set it up, something the HomePod Mini kind of does.

The Sonos Arc is our other big speaker worth checking out, delivering not just one of the best speakers in the market, but a fantastic Dolby Atmos 3D sound system at that. At around $1400, the Arc does things with bass that shouldn’t be possible, and make it great for movies, music, TV shows, and games.

And speaking of games, 2020 was quite big for that, what with the new consoles out and about. There were two new Xboxes and two new PlayStation variants, and while they’re hard to find at the end of the year, they weren’t the only games that people were playing. Thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, for some, the best tech was playing games in general.

Alice Clarke, Freelance Technology Journalist

For the longest time games have just been, like, just a part of my life. And I love them. And they’ve been a big part of my work. But there was something about March when my wife and I were trying to escape just how horrible the news was in trying to get out of looking at our phones and doing scrolling the whole time. And we just picked up New Super Mario Brothers U Deluxe on Switch, and 100 percented the whole thing. In the many hours that we played, we just rediscovered everything we enjoyed about games, and became better friends. And it was just this wonderful, bright spot in this otherwise truly horrible, horrible time.

That’s Alice Clarke, a freelance tech journalist from Melbourne, who like many Melbourners endured a lockdown that made life a little more complicated, and so delved back into games.

Alice Clarke, Freelance Technology Journalist

When it was illegal to go outside and play basketball, just being able to play NBA 2K21 to get my fix, and pretend that the world was normal for a little while. Obviously, things in Melbourne, were a bit different to the rest of the country. And so yeah, that was my lifeline.

It’s not a situation we can all relate to, but if you’ve felt weird not being able to venture beyond your borders this year, you may get it.

We found ourselves more drawn to an old game Disneyland Adventures this year, because Australians aren’t leaving the country to go to Disneyland any time soon, and this allowed our children some semblance of the Disneyland experience and to virtually hug their favourite characters.

It’s not the same, for sure, but until 2021 and beyond delivers some sense of a return to normality, virtual experiences are what we have.

For 2020, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. Thanks to Jen Dudley-Nicholson and Alice Clarke for appearing on this special yearly Wrap. You can find out about this and more at thewrap.com.au, and a new episode can be heard every week on Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. We’ll be back in January for more tech in five, but until then have a great rest of the year. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

Leigh :) Stark

One of Australia's well regarded technology journalists working out of Sydney, Leigh Stark has been writing about technology for over 15 years, covering phones, computers, cameras, headphones, speakers, and more. Stylising his middle initial with an emoticon, he aims to present tech in a way that makes it easy for everyone. While he founded Pickr in 2016, Stark's work can be seen in other publications including The Australian Financial Review, Popular Science, and many more. His award-winning podcast "The Wrap" is syndicated on Southern Cross Austereo's LiSTNR network weekly, while he can be heard on radio via ABC Brisbane and ABC Canberra, and seen on TV's Nine. Check out Leigh Stark's most recent media appearances.

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