This week on The Wrap, we’ll find out what’s new from Dyson and how the company plans to clean the air, plus how will Captain Kirk live forever as AI. And what is Samsung’s best new phone? We’ll give you that review and more, all in five.
It’s almost the end of March 2021, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and as we make our way out of the first quarter of the year, our expectations of a new iPad has largely been quelled for the moment. Apple has been discontinuing a couple of things, from the iMac Pro to the big HomePod, so we have an expectation that other Apple gadgets will be announced soon.
We expected them this week, and that didn’t happen, however things did happen this week, and some of them we didn’t expect.
For instance, Amazon decided to bring its take on a 4K TV dongle to Australia in the Fire TV 4K, a device that kind of looks like a big USB stick, only it has an HDMI port on the end. It comes with a remote that you can talk to, and buttons to let you access Disney Plus and Netflix, and it’s basically a smart TV gadget that’ll play 4K films for 99 bucks, while the high def model for TVs below 4K costs $79 locally.
That’s just one gadget announced this week, with another from Dyson. There were actually two from Dyson, but only one has been announced in Australia.
In the coming weeks, though, you can expect a Dyson bladeless fan — you know, the one you can put your arm through — that has the ability to filter out harmful chemicals found in your home. It’s not quite a virus-killing fan just yet, we asked, but it can filter out formaldehyde and other chemicals, as well as bacteria and other particles, leaving you with cleaner air all around.
Staying clean is important, and it’s part of what makes Dyson’s other announcement interesting, with a new type of stick vac that can use a laser and a sensor count the dust particles it picks up. It’s called the Dyson V15, and while it doesn’t have an Australian launch time yet, it does read almost like a video game… a vacuum video game, arriving with an LCD screen to tell you how much dust and what sizes of dust your vac has picked up. Crazy.
Also crazy is what William Shatner is doing, which is turning into an AI of sorts that you can talk to. It’s a little science fiction, but the man who was Captain Kirk before Chris Pine is becoming almost like something from a Star Trek Holodeck. Together with a technology from StoryFile, he’ll record video stories that you’ll be able to ask him about.
Elsewhere in tech, Sony released a tiny speaker with a lot of bass in the SRS-XB13, Qobuz looks set to bring its HiFi audio streaming to Australia, handy for folks who love high-res audio, and Australia’s science division that is the CSIRO said that the Parkes radio telescope — The Dish — would be used to provide support for one of the first commercial moon landings later this year. We’re going back to the Moon, people. Well, not “we” me. Other people.
I have reviews to get through, which this week includes the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, a big phone by any stretch of the imagination, and easily one of the best Android phones of the year. Not that there have been many.
So far, the year has largely been a little “meh” when it comes to phone releases. Oppo recently announced its Find X3 Pro flagship, and Samsung has a whole assortment of Galaxy models, ranging from the mid-range A-series to the flagship Galaxy S21, but we’ve seen nothing from LG, Moto has nothing remarkably high-end yet, no word on a high-end Nokia, and who knows what HTC is doing… it’s certainly not phones.
Right now, high-end Android in Australia seems to be a contest between Samsung, Oppo, and Google, and Google’s phones don’t get refreshed until later in the year, so it’s mostly Samsung and Oppo.
So we’re starting with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the biggest phone of the year thus far. We weren’t super impressed by the standard S21, and in the Ultra, there’s a bigger screen at 6.8 inches with more resolution, plus more cameras and support for the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen.
It’s a bit of a step up, with a 108 megapixel camera paired with three other cameras, letting you get quite close and also ultra wide, plus plenty of tech inside.
Shock horror, the S21 Ultra is a 5G phone, meaning you get speed, and a lot of it. Inside, there’s a staggering 12GB RAM and a minimum of 128GB storage, and while the phone is large, it’s a handset that definitely feels in charge.
Helping it get there is the fact that this isn’t just another S21 model, because it’s kind of like a Galaxy Note. If you have one of the S-Pen styluses, you can draw directly on the screen.
The battery life is a bit of a mixed bag, though, which can feel like a drain at points. You’ll get a good four hours of screen time, but if you use the phone like a normal phone, you can get it through the day and then some.
At $1849 it isn’t cheap, mind you, but until we see Oppo’s Find X3 Pro, it might just be the best Android phone of 2021 so far.
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.