This week on The Wrap, we’ll preview Apple’s expected announcement, cover how cheap 5G is getting with Oppo, the latest PCs from Dell & Microsoft, what Amazon’s Echo Show 10 is like and more, all in five minutes.
For the middle of April 2021, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round up, and if you’ve been curious about what’s going on with tech this week, you’re in the right place. There’s been a lot, and we only have five minutes, so we’ll skip the pleasantries — hi, how are you — and get stuck in.
Starting with what’s happening next week, because Apple has sent word that it will be launching something next week. It could be one something or several somethings, but the rumours are suggesting new iPad models, and possibly something else, as Apple’s April “Spring Loaded” event will likely be next week’s big topic.
For now, it’s all speculation, but if you were thinking this was the week you buy an iPad or pretty much anything with the Apple logo on it, maybe hold off. It might be better next week.
Before then, there’s been plenty of tech, starting with new PCs, because there were more than a few this week.
Dell launched a few in its Inspiron range, covering 13 inches, 14 inches, 15 inches, and even 16 inches, with the new computers made from environmentally friendly materials and able to recharge ip to 80 percent of a battery in an hour. The 16 inch looks like the one to impress, with on-board graphics and a 3K resolution, basically making it a laptop that stands out.
And it’s not alone. Microsoft has a new Surface Laptop on the way, the Surface Laptop 4. This will come in either a 13.5 or 15 inch model, with more impressive speakers, plus a better microphone and camera, because working from home demands better sound all around. Microsoft hasn’t quite talked up battery life, but both the new Dell Inspiron and the Microsoft Surface Laptop will start around the $1600 price point.
That’s a little expensive for some, because not everyone wants to spend over a grand on a laptop. Hey, not everyone wants to spend that on a phone.
And with some recent releases, you might not have to. If you don’t need much phone at all, but want a touchscreen Android phone that does the basics, Nokia is there with a $169 phone. It’s not going to be superbly amazing, but the Nokia 1.4 is the last of Nokia’s number-only phones, and offers a big screen, two cameras, a large battery, and a low price point. Its weak point might be that it offers no NFC, which means no Google Pay.
If you want that, though, and you’re looking for more grunt without the added cost, you might want to check out what Oppo is releasing in the A54 and A74. The two phones are very similar, both 6.5 inches with four cameras, and they both come with NFC. But they both also come with 5G, one of those new features typically found in expensive phones, even if these two phones are anything but. The A74 offers 128 gig of storage and the A54 offers 64GB, but they also come in at not-so-exy prices, with the A74 at $449 and the A54 at $399.
Yep, that’s a 5G phone with Google Pay support for $399. Frankly, we didn’t think we’d see that this year, and Oppo has basically hit a new benchmark.
Also new this week is something from HP called Instant Ink, which is a bit of a shake up for printers in Australia, whereby it’s a little like a pay-as-you-go service, but for printing. If you opt in, you’ll pay a monthly fee to print a number of pages, and HP will send you new ink tanks before you run out.
Frankly, we’re not sure where we stand on this one, because it’s a bit of a strange concept. There are families this will make total sense for, but not everyone. Fortunately, Instant Ink isn’t forced, and if you have an HP printer, you can choose to use a standard ink cartridge, or Instant Ink’s online controlled equivalent.
You need the web for just about everything these days, printers included, including the gadget we’re reviewing, the Amazon Echo Show 10.
This is the latest in smart display technologies, with a 10 inch screen connected to a cylindrical speaker, kind of like the Google Nest Hub Max, but with a twist. A literal twist, actually, because the screen and speaker can rotate to match your position.
It’s made possible thanks to a motor that can move the whole thing, basically tracking you with a 13 megapixel camera. You can use that camera for home security, and if you have family members with an Echo Show or if they use the Amazon Alexa app, you can have video chats. But it doesn’t support many apps, and if you rely on Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts, there’s no support here at all.
What bothered us most about the Echo Show is just how little you can really change about the interface. You get the news and random photos of life and stuff, but Amazon doesn’t let the Echo talk to Google or Apple libraries. It’s a smart screen that feels dependent on Amazon.
At least the sound isn’t bad. We think most people would be happy, but there are better speakers out there, especially for $400.
And that’s all the time we have, so 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. For now, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap, and take care.