Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Sonos Arc

The Wrap – What’s new from Sonos & Surface

This week, learn all about what’s new in computers from Apple’s MacBook Pro 13, Microsoft’s latest Surface series, and the big deal in surround sound coming from Sonos very shortly. Plus a whole lot more packed, all in five.

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For the week ending May 8, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while the world may feel like it’s slowing down, the world of technology was basically full speed this week. Almost crazily so, with new gadgets aplenty, which translates to new gadgets on their way to shops and online stores to tempt and intrigue, and maybe just fill a void in your life.

If that void is a better computer, you definitely have options in the coming weeks, as quite a bit is on the way out.

You might be feeling it more and more lately, what with the whole “work from home” situation maybe leaving you on your computer more and more. And depending on how old it is, it just might be feeling long in the tooth.

Good news, then, that there’s so much on the way. New PC powerhouses are coming with Intel’s latest, both in the desktop and portable goodness, meant mostly for gamers but also ideal for content creators. There are new models from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, Razer, HP, Gigabyte, Acer, and others, and Apple and Microsoft both joined with new models this week.

In the world of Apple, there’s an update to the MacBook Pro 13, which brings the entire current crop of MacBook laptops in line with the new and improved scissor-switch keyboard, which we loved in both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 16.

The new release is the MacBook Pro 13, which is another take on a 13 inch laptop, arriving in a few incarnations. There’s the entry level which competes at the upper end of the MacBook Air, adding an OLED Touch Bar and a little more grunt, while the most expensive option updates the processors to new Intel Core 10th gen chips.

And while we’ve not yet tried the new MacBook Pro 13, it looks more like it’s made for someone who needed the grunt of the MacBook Pro 16 without the dedicated video card, but in a small size. We found the new MacBook Air so capable that we suspect it would do for most people, but the new MacBook Pro 13 at least ups the grunt in the high end if you need it.

Of course there’s another option in Microsoft’s Surface Book 3, the latest in Microsoft’s tablet-laptop hybrid with a screen that unclips, and a set of internals that makes it fairly high end. There’s Intel’s 10th gen chips, a dedicated graphics card, plus an option for a 15 inch model, though these aren’t cheap either.

While the Macbook Pro 13 starts at just under three grand for the 10th gen chips, the similar take in the Surface Book 3 13 is a few hundred under without the discrete graphics and over three grand when you add it in.

These aren’t cheap computers, though Microsoft does have one on the way in the Surface Go 2, a 10.5 inch computer without a keyboard that gets a low spec Windows tablet out for people who need portability above all. Like an iPad made with Windows. Kinda. Sorta.

And there were other devices announced this week, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite tablet, an Android tablet starting from $550, while Ring released a new video doorbell for $150, and D-Link has a new mesh networking COVR system supporting EasyMesh, the mesh networking standard that not many companies support, though we’re delighted to see one more.

Mesh network gadgets typically work in a way where you buy into a system, and you’re buying from that company for the life of your system, but EasyMesh is mean to open your options. Locally, EasyMesh is supported by Telstra and now D-Link, which means you can build a strong WiFi network with a variety of parts, and hopefully more are on the way.

And finally, a bit happened in sound. We heard of new headphones from Microsoft in the Surface Headphones, new in-earphones from Sony, and something new from Sonos, too. Not just one something, but a few.

There’s an update to the Sonos Play:5 in the Sonos Five and an update to the Sonos Sub, though most of these are minor with cosmetic changes and a little more on the inside.

The real focus from Sonos is on a new way to deliver home theatre sound, as the company updates the ageing Playbar and replaces it with the Arc, a soundbar made not just for surround sound, but spatial sound. It features a whopping eleven drivers controlled by an equal number of Class D amps, with two firing up to deliver a sound that can bounce around.

Dolby Atmos support is on-board, meaning if you have an Apple TV 4K or Ultra HD Blu-ray support and a compatible TV, you should get 3D sound, as if the effects just appeared next to your head, timed to bounce in your room.

It’s a concept aimed at making sound more like an experience, though it will work with music and standard surround as well, firing the sound out, not up if Atmos isn’t there.

There’s no sub here — you can always get the Sonos Sub — and you can add two rear speakers if you want to — but the focus here is on getting more spatial sound out of your home theatre, and something we’re very excited for already.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode of The Wrap 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. Stay safe and sane, and take care.

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