This week on The Wrap, we’ll look at new approaches to speakers from Sony, new earphones from Oppo, and new fridges from Samsung. Plus MagSafe, Nanoleaf’s Element lights, Razer’s big new laptop, and more.
Near the end of July 2021, finishing the week with July 23, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, still stuck in lockdown, where we may be for quite some time.
Despite lockdown, technology news and reviews are still coming in, because the world keeps going, we just might be viewing it more from afar than normal.
However afar is largely what the world of tech is lately, and in a few weeks time, Samsung will be showing off a couple of new foldables from afar, as it announces another Galaxy Unpacked is happening in August.
Yes, if you can believe it, we’re almost in August. Where has the year gone?
Even though we all probably know the answer to that, we’ve also seen some pretty neat gear arrive, including more from the world of MagSafe.
If you own an iPhone from the iPhone 12 range, you have MagSafe built into your phone, which is a ring of magnets that help hold your iPhone in place when it’s being wirelessly charged. You can add it to other phones with a gadget from Mophie, the Mophie Snap adaptor, but it won’t quite offer the same experience.
However Belkin added some interesting uses for MagSafe this week, with a power bank that snaps on, a fitness accessory to snap your phone to an exercise bike, rower, or treadmill, and a new type of selfie stand that can track your head when you’re recording videos.
That’s a little over the top, but sometimes we like over the top, which is certainly a way of describing a new speaker system from Sony.
Called the A9, it’s actually four speakers that talk to each other independently, using microphones and good design to bounce sound and make four speakers sound like twelve.
It’s a rather unique take on making speakers sound like they’re coming from all around you, but perhaps surprisingly, it won’t support the 3D movie sound offered by Dolby Atmos. It will support spatial audio from Sony, but not Dolby’s equivalent, and at a little over two thousand dollars, we don’t know why.
Sony does have a soundbar with Atmos support coming in the A7000, but that’s a standard soundbar design with a 7 channel surround, both of which will grace stores and homes in August with fairly big prices.
They’re not the only high priced gadgets we’ve seen this week.
Razer has a super fast laptop coming in the Blade 17, sporting almost 5GHz of power, a fast graphics chip, a 4K touchscreen, and oh around a five thousand dollar price, because it’s not a cheap laptop by any stretch of the imagination.
Rounding near the same price are a couple of fridges with a touchscreen built in, because yep, the internet fridge never really died.
That’s coming in Samsung’s 2021 edition of the Family Hub Fridge, the sixth generation — if you can believe it — with a 21.5 inch touchscreen built into a French door refrigerator, showing pictures, a calendar, Spotify, a web browser, and recipes. It’s kind of like an oversized Google Nest smart display, except mounted on your fridge, and it can be used like a TV or a tablet, supporting the Ring doorbell, Uber Eats, and order groceries from Woolies directly from the fridge.
It’s very much a first-world-problem of a fridge — because you can do all of this from your phone — but if you’re someone who wants to live in the future, the $5K and $6K price tags might just get you there.
And Campfire Audio has two earphones for near the thousand dollar mark, focusing on the audiophile crowd in the Mammoth and Holocene. They’re not like your AirPods, that’s for sure, and they even come with cords, but while they sport a big price tag, the also come with glow in the dark features, because why not.
Plus we’re also checking out a couple of gadgets as well.
First there’s the Nanoleaf Elements, a sort of smart light made for folks who want to decorate their home in something a little like a fireplace, except not. The Elements are another one of Nanoleaf’s lights in a shape, and while normally they’re colourful polygons, the Elements are hexagons with a fake wood grain finish. You get a choice of warm yellows and oranges and white colours, a little like a fireplace, but mounted to your wall.
And they deliver a burst of colour for your home, flashing colours based on noise sensitivity or just programmed light, but they can be a little fussy to setup and even fussier to remove.
Finally, we’re checking out the Oppo Enco X, Oppo’s latest take on the AirPods Pro, offering noise cancellation, wireless charging, and IP54 water resistance, making them ideal for a walk in the rain, but not swimming.
Not that you’d want to, because these are for listening, with balanced sound engineered alongside Denmark’s Dynaudio offering plenty of detail, but a questionable fit and controls that need work.
We don’t think they have enough drive to beat the Sony WF-1000XM4, the current benchmarks, but at $349, they’re a good take for folks looking for an AirPod Pro not made by Apple and made more for Android than anything else.
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. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.