The coronavirus is making an impact on the world, and on phones and money, too. Learn how, as well as new audio gear, foldable phones, and Samsung’s Galaxy S20+ reviewed. All in five.
It’s the middle of March 2020 and this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while last week showed the coronavirus was cancelling technology’s trade shows, this week, it hasn’t let up.
As countries go on lockdown and travel begins to dry up between some nations, it’s pretty clear that we all need to take the COVID-19 coronavirus seriously.
More shows were cancelled this week, and it’s now stretching past the tech expos. The E3 gaming show was the latest to be go, alongside the Coachella music festival, Dark Mofo, and the NBA season for basketball in the States. We’re mostly expecting almost every major event to be killed this year, and if someone is coming to Australia from Europe or America, we’re also expec it to be postponed or cancelled, too.
It’s so serious that we’re making some suggestions, because coronavirus is one of those things that needs to be contained, and so we need to change some of the things we do to help.
And that means regularly washing your hands, especially if you hold someone else’s phone. We’re all prone to touching and grabbing each other’s phones, sharing as we show our friends pictures and videos, but until this thing is controlled, you may want to stop. Instead, consider sending your friends a link to the photos. If they reach for your phone, pull it away, because you don’t know where they’ve been, and the COVID-19 coronavirus can live on objects for up to several days.
It’s a similar problem with money, so instead of the coins and bank notes, consider a switch to either card or phone. You simply don’t know who had cash before you, and it’s potential bacteria carrier.
Switch to card, your phone, or if you don’t have an NFC-equipped phone, a wearable. If you can, use Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, or Garmin Pay, because it means you won’t have to hand over money, relying on digital instead.
Your money is, of course, very important, and scammers are after it. In fact, this week, Sophos Labs picked up on a new scam that sees criminals using the coronavirus for.
Let’s put it this way: if someone sends you an email purporting to be form the WHO, the World Health Organisation, not the awesome rock band, and it comes with a document telling you to open it for some coronavirus protection techniques… don’t. That scam is going around, and we’re hearing that Google and Apple are both blocking apps doing something similar.
Now if the awesome rock band that is The Who emails you, that’s totally fine. You tell them how much you love their music.
Speaking of music, there are a couple of new speakers this week, though they’re all a little on the higher priced part of the market.
Bang & Olufsen has something new in the Beosound Balance, a speaker that is a little more like furniture thanks to a combination of wood and textile, with an aluminium touch sensitive top. the Balance is a wireless speaker made for multiroom, and comes with 360 sound made from seven speakers and two woofers, and will cost $3300 when it lands in April.
That’s a Danish speaker, and there’s also a similarly priced speaker from a new Australian brand, Pantheone.
A little bit different and at $3390, the Pantheone 1 comes across more like a piece of art, but with 360 sound built from two internal subwoofers, two mid-range drivers, and four tweeters.
And there’s even a phone sporting a similar price in April, as Huawei announced its foldable Mate Xs was coming to Australia.
It’s probably going to be a better year for foldable phones, and it might start with Huawei’s, which will include four cameras and two 6 inch screens, which when unfolded becomes an 8 inch tablet.
At a little under four grand, the Mate Xs isn’t cheap, and it comes with the same lack of Google Apps that the Huawei Mate 30 Pro had, making it for a very specific phone buyer.
Alternatively, there’s the Samsung Galaxy S20 range, though they’re not foldable. In fact, we’ve been spending time with the one we think most will consider, the S20+.
It’s technically the middle of the S20 range, but still flagship, with Samsung offering a small S20, a medium yet still large S20+, and an even bigger S20 Ultra.
However the S20 Plus is roughly the size of Apple’s biggest current iPhone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, with a 6.7 inch screen over the iPhone 11 Pro’s 6.5. There are four cameras, and they’re pretty good, but not the best.
The screen is fantastic, though — bright, clear, and very sharp — and the performance is quite goo, too, as is the feel, which is around 40 grams less the iPhone, and feels lovely to hold and use.
Overall, it’s a solid effort for a flagship, though it comes with a couple of points worth noting.
One is the battery life, which is still just a little over a day, and not the best you can find. Then there’s the in-screen fingerprint sensor, which is just not great. Slow and unreliable is what it is, and it lets down what should be a smooth experience.
Despite these issues, we liked the S20 Plus more than we expected, as it really is quite likeable.
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So you’ve just been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode goes online every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.