This week on The Wrap, we’ll cover your ears and your health, as we check into Apple’s good news for Aussie Apple Watch owners, and the tech coming to your ears. Plus news from Google, Telstra, Samsung, and a review of a flippin’ good phone. All in five.
For the first week of March 2021, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and if you’ve ever wondered if the devices in your life could be doing more for you, you’re probably not alone.
Gadgets these days can be used for entertainment and such, but many of the things we see can also do some good, too.
Take your ears. They’re precious things, and this week, we saw World Hearing Day — that was March 3, in case you didn’t hear about it. And while that was a terrible pun — we apologise — the message from world hearing day couldn’t be more loud and clear.
It was about keeping your ears in good nick, because you only get one set, and the more sound you bombard them with, and with the worst kind of earphones, the worse your ears are going to get.
So if you’re listening to this on the free pair of earphones that came with your phone, turn down the sound ever so slightly. Yes, we know it sounds good when it’s up loud, but lower quality earphones tend to let in a lot of sound, and that means you have to turn it up to make it better, and much like the Froghurt guy says in The Simpsons, “that’s bad”.
Instead, you might want to look around for a new pair of earphones, with a pair that doesn’t treat your ears quite so appallingly.
There’s a lot to be had, and there’s potentially more on the way, with Qualcomm announcing new sound hardware is coming to phones and earphones aplenty, all there to make sound, well, sound better.
That’s a trend we expected this year, and it’s coming quickly it seems, which is good news for those who like to listen.
There’s plenty of other good news, too, with this week of tech filled with it.
For instance, if you’re an Apple Watch owner in Australia with a model from the past three years, you’ve probably been missing a feature. The electrocardiograph feature, the ECG, has been disabled in Australia, due to it not being approved for use by the government.
But this week, it’s a go, as the Therapeutic Goods Administration said yes, and now we’re just waiting on Apple to flick the switch. We’re guessing that won’t take long, which means it won’t be long until an Australian Apple Watch can tell you about your heart’s activity.
Elsewhere, DeLonghi added WiFi to a coffee maker for wireless cups in the morning, Belkin added a charging light for iPhone charging cables, and Google turned on support for eSIM in its Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G, which means two of last year’s best phones have suddenly become dual SIM phones, provided you have an eSIM.
And that might be more of you in the coming weeks, because Telstra has officially told some of the carriers that use its service that eSIM will work there, too. It’s not a done deal just yet — carriers still need to make it happen — but it means the likes of Boost, Belong, Lyca, Mate, and Woolworths mobile, among others, could soon support eSIM phones, which means you might be able to skip the SIM card altogether and just download your SIM.
TVs also saw a showing this week, with Samsung being one of the first TV makers of the year to release what it has in store, and there’s quite a bit.
Almost everything is 4K or 8K, though there is one Full HD TV left in the line-up. But it means we’re properly living in an Ultra HD world, and it’s a lineup that looks to impress. There’s Samsung’s new take on its QLED quantum dot technology — which is vying for attention with LG’s OLED — and delivering more lighting and control for improving picture.
The result can be found in Samsung’s 8K QLEDs, coming to Australia from $5600, as well as the 4K equivalent, starting in Australia from just under $3400, and while these can get exy, with a 14 grand 85 inch 8K QLED, they won’t be the only options.
If you don’t mind skipping out on all the super new features, you’ll find what might be last year’s QLED options for a little less, complete with a massive 85 inch Q70 for just under six grand. And if that’s still too much, Samsung’s standard UHD TVs without quantum dots can be found from a thousand, with 85 inches costing just under $3400. There’s a lot happening in TVs, it seems.
And there’s also movement in phones, because while the world of 2021 phones hasn’t started properly, we have a review this week, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
This isn’t your ordinary phone, and takes a 6.7 inch phone, but folds it in half. Literally. It’s kind of meant for your pocket or handbag, delivering last year’s specs in a phone made for today, and it really is something.
While the camera could be improved, the idea is just one of the coolest takes on foldable phones yet, because the Galaxy Z Flip gets the size of a phone down beautifully.
There’s just something so quaint about a phone actually made for your pocket, and while there are things we’d improve, the revival of the clamshell might just be our favourite take on the foldable yet.
There’s a full review over at the The Wrap website, the wrap.com.au, along with a whole lot more, but for now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but for now, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.