Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – Facebook, Spotify, and a $500 5G phone

This week on The Wrap, there’s news from Facebook, Spotify, Disney, Blackmagic, Sony, Oppo, and more. Plus we managed to fit a review of a $500 5G phone and a pair of noise cancelling earphones in there, too. All in five.

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It’s the last week of February and this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while last week saw Facebook quit Australia, this week sees Facebook play make up, working with the government on amendments to the media code, and right in time for the whole thing to roll out.

While that’s happened and become a thing, Google and Facebook appear to be here to stay, at least for now, so you may not have to jump ship just yet. We’re told news is gradually returning for the social network, with both beginning to reach agreements with media companies, as well.

So that was a whole thing, but there have been plenty of other things that happened this week.

Take Disney, which launched a more adult-focused channel for its Disney Plus service this week, called Star. It’s a little less for kids and more for bigger people, with TV shows from Fox, Hulu, and ABC in the US, plus that giant collection of movies Fox has, complete with a yippie-ki-yay of a Christmas movie that many don’t consider a Christmas film.

Disney’s new service wasn’t the only service to be talked about this week.

Spotify announced that it will have a HiFi edition of its service this year. That’s big news for folks who like music in the highest quality they can find, which right now can find a HiFi service from Tidal and Deezer, but not from Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube. The big services, so to speak.

There’s no word on when it will happen, but it looks like Spotify HiFi will land later in the year.

And there were plenty of gadgets talked about in the final week of February 2021. It’s hard to believe we’re there already, but here we are, and we’re also hearing about some new gear.

Australia’s Blackmagic has a new 6K capable camera on the way in the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, a four grand camera that takes Canon lenses and gives filmmakers a 6K capturing machine made for the hand.

Blackmagic isn’t alone there, with a 4K-focused similar concept from Sony, the FX3. It’ll be closer to the seven grand mark locally, and while it has a lower resolution, it appears to offer better low light, at least on paper.

Ring has a new camera of sorts on the way, too, but it’s for your door. The Video Doorbell Pro 2 is like a camera, but it’s a doorbell camera, meant to be wired in and able to track subjects using radar, which may well be the most tech savvy security system yet. At $400 and needing wired installation, it won’t be for every home, but it’s a neat way to expand what home security can do next.

Sony also sent word that it’s working on a new PlayStation VR headset, Oppo has a new wireless charging technology that can operate a few centimetres away, and LG plans on bringing webOS to more TVs, including those sold at Aldi.

And there’s also a new speaker on the way from Huawei and Devialet, and you might not know that last name. Devialet is a French brand behind some unusual speakers, and it has teamed up with Huawei for what is basically a HomePod competitor, the “Sound”. Probably called that because it makes, you guessed it, sound.

It’s not an assistant speaker, though, so you can’t call up either Google or Amazon, and it’s made mostly for the music, using some of Devialet’s tech to enhance sound for a space. As to whether it’s good or not, we’ll let you know when we review it.

For now, we’re checking a few gadgets for our own reviews, because that’s what we do, too.

This week, we checked out devices that share the word phone, with a new phone and a new pair of earphones.

On the phone side, there’s the $500 Realme 7 5G, a $500 take on what a 5G phone could be. And it’s basically the most wallet-friendly 5G phone around, bringing four cameras, a big screen, and 5G for about a third of what a 5G phone would typically cost.

It’s an interesting device for sure, because you get a fair amount for what you pay. The battery could be improved, and we wish the camera handled low light better, too, but at $500, Realme has proven 5G doesn’t need to be altogether entirely expensive, and that’s a good thing.

We’re also seeing noise cancelling earphones improve, and this week, we put Jabra’s Elite 85t through their paces. In the past, we’ve really liked this range, as it’s basically a tiny take on wireless earphones that don’t try to be Apple’s AirPods. New to the 85t is noise cancellation, with six microphones all up, a tiny weight, and a lot of volume.

The size is possibly one of the best aspects of the Elite 85t, as they’re just so small, weighing seven grams each, and the case only adds an extra 45.

Overall, it’s a solid package, but with Jabra rolling out support for noise cancellation to the old model, the 75t, there aren’t a lot of reasons to pick the 85t over its predecessor.

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.

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