This week on The Wrap, we’ll get stuck into the big TVs coming your way, the little earphones you might want to stick in your ears, and the sticking question we’ve been asked all week: what do we think of the iPhone 13? All that and more in five.
For the beginning of October 2021 — the very beginning, October 1 — you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and even though there’s only a few months until the end of the year, it still feels like there’s plenty more in the technology pipeline waiting to be unleashed. Can you feel it? It’s not the winds of change, but rather the season that’s calling.
Gadget companies typically train their sights on the end of the year because, shock horror, that’s when people think of buying up big, because of the holidays and all. It’s one of the reasons why a Black Friday sale will go gangbusters, and why so much gear comes out a good month before Christmas, and given we’re two months before that point, is also why so much is coming out now.
For instance, Hisense has a new laser TV on the way, which if you didn’t know is actually a 4K laser projector that supports a TV tuner. Laser TVs are actually short-throw laser projectors, and this latest model comes with a 100 inch screen so you can get the cinema experience at home without needing the massive cinema-style room. Hisense’s latest uses three colour lasers for a big picture. You just need a wall, some space, a good seven grand, and you should be good to go.
Big TVs are also in, with LG launching its QNED screens announced at the beginning of the year. It’s yet another initialism, because what we all really need is yet another term to memorise. QNED stands for quantum dot with Mini LED, which is kind of a half measure for LED backlit TVs to get to OLED, delivering more brightness control thanks to the sheer number of LEDs controlling the backlight in this tech. It’s coming to TVs in the 65, 75, and 86 inch spots, and kind of sees itself as a marginally more cost effective play on OLED, if your wallet doesn’t stretch to that tech.
Amazon also has a screen on the way, but it won’t be here for the holiday season. It’s Echo Show 15 is a 15 inch smart display for the kitchen, kind of acting like a smart hub for your home and family, also acting as a digital photo frame of sorts.
That’s not the only launch Amazon has, with a pair of Amazon earphones coming to Australia in the Echo Buds. These will be here by the holiday season, landing in October, providing noise cancellation, sweat resistance, and support for the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, as well as whatever is used on your phone, priced from $169 locally.
Amazon’s take on in-ear noise cancellation is just part of what we’re seeing in cut-cost earphones, because there is a lot happening in budget audio lately.
Nothing had its great $150 Ear 1 noise cancelling earphones, Jabra is offering up a $119 pair without noise cancellation in the Elite 3, and we recently checked out EarFun’s $120 Air Pro, marrying a low price and noise cancellation with surprisingly warm sound.
There seems to be a lot happening in budget sound, and Sony is set to join it shortly, too, with the $150 C500, earphones built to a budget, but that also bring a good ten hours of battery life, as well.
And speaking of battery life, let’s get stuck into the main event, because we have two phones to get through and not a lot of time.
We promised it last week and here we are with a review of both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, two phones that have a size in common, and a bunch of other things, including one really obvious point: they are both so good, it’s hard to find the flaws.
Let’s start with the one we think most people will go for, the iPhone 13. Sized at 6.1 inches, it’s a large-ish phone, but not so large it’ll hurt your pocket. It’s more like Apple’s normal phone, and while it looks like the iPhone 12, you get a faster chip, 5G, better cameras than last year, and improved battery life, as well.
If we had to ask for anything on the 12s last year, it was a better camera and battery life, and both of those have been answered in the 13. The camera gets some low-light special sauce that makes it shine, while the battery can hit a full 24 hours with no problems in our tests.
All up, it’s about the best iPhone for everyone, unless you happen to use your camera for everything.
If that’s you, the iPhone 13 Pro is also hard to find flaws in, except maybe beyond its price.
Starting from $1699, it comes with three cameras and a really impressive macro mode, giving it just that little bit more grunt to work with, plus a fast screen that makes using the phone feel faster and slicker overall.
The battery is the same, as is most of the experience, but the point of the Pro is you just get that little bit more. It does cost more, but you can also do more with it, and it may well have the best camera of any phone to date.
And in a year when Android phones have been a little ho hum, Apple may well have the best phones of the year in the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro. At least until Google shows off its Pixel 6, which is just around the corner.
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.