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

The Wrap – Kindle, Kobo, and everything new

This week on The Wrap, learn the differences between Kindle and Kobo, plus what Australia’s most streamed musician is, what the country watched on YouTube, plus some quick reviews of headphones and more, all in five.

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It’s the beginning of December 2021, the last month of the year, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as the year winds down, the year is also wrapping up.

That is the name of this show, but we’re more of a weekly thing. Yet the likes of YouTube and Spotify are talking about the year that was already, rounding out what 2021 was like for the biggest video and music services on the planet.

Over in the world of YouTube in Australia, that included a lot of game videos, music videos, and the occasional glitterbomb blowing up the internet, as well.

With Spotify, the music service noted it saw over nine billion music streams this year from its roughly 165 million subscribers. Locally in Australia, Taylor Swift was the most streamed artist, while Australia’s The Kid Laroi was the most streamed local artist.

Perhaps more importantly, Spotify has gathered up the details on all subscribers in a sort of wrapped event.

Basically, if you’re a Spotify customer anywhere in the world, you’ll be able to see your most liked tracks and genres and so on in a presentation specifically suited to you. The fonts aren’t great, but the information is fun to see and share, and a good way to tell the world how much music you listen to.

If you’re not listening to a heap of music, it might be because you don’t have headphones you like, but there are more coming out.

This week, Nothing added a black variant of its Ear 1 noise cancelling earphones that are normally transparent, but now come with a shade of sorts.

There are also new headphones from the likes of Sony, Jabra, and Bose, the former of which has inexpensive earphones in the C500 which are decent roughly $100 earphones without noise cancellation, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro which are decent roughly $300 earphones with noise cancellation, and the Bose QuietComfort 45 which are incredibly comfortable $500 noise cancelling headphones that offer decent and balanced sound, but can also feel like they haven’t evolved alongside everything else.

There’s no shortage of headphone choices out there, and while we’re looking forward to rounding them all up for our best tech of the year in the coming weeks, all you really need to do is look around and read the reviews. Finding a good pair isn’t going to be that hard.

It’s a similar experience with finding a new phone, and while next year is only just around the corner, we already have an idea as to what finding a good new phone will be like, courtesy of Qualcomm and its chip announcements.

The makers of many of the chips going into Android phones has talked up just what’s coming next, and it reads like a laundry list of positive features to look out for, the likes of which we’ll apparently see from Oppo, Vivo, Realme, Motorola, and more.

It’s coming in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, a chip that will apparently support 8K HDR video capture, the portrait mode in photos applied to videos, improvements to mobile audio, better performance in games, and support for both major 5G technologies, the sub-6 you’ve been able to find in phones for ages and the millimetre wave technology seen only in one phone this year, the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

It means that next year’s phones will come sporting quite the list of features, and should mean more choice and availability for everyone, not just those hunting in the seriously high end.

Qualcomm is also making mobile chips for Windows computers, signalling what could mean more mobile-like performance, at least in the battery department, similar to what you can find on the M1 MacBooks, which will be good news for PC folks taking their work to go.

At the same time, we’re talking up another set of gadgets that are specifically meant to take things to go: eBooks readers.

We’ve been checking two out in recent weeks, with the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition and the Kobo Libra 2, models of eBook reader with low-power electronic ink screens made for reading. And we’re not talking just reading books, but magazines, newspapers, and even comics.

On the one hand, there’s the Kindle which is reliant on the Amazon book store, and only that. You can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited for an all-you-can-read sort of thing, but you need to buy books from Amazon to play here.

Over on the Kobo Libra 2, you can buy books from just about anywhere else. Taking the more standard EPUB format means you can get books from an online local book shop or library if you want, and open them there. Kobo also has an unlimited subscription, and both offer lots to read.

How you read on each is largely similar, with full touchscreen controls, a built-in light, support for warm lighting to make the page easier on the eyes, and water resistance. They’re both a similar size at 6.8 and 7 inches, and both affordable.

Where they differ is performance and compatibility. Kindle wins on the former, because it just handles everything beautifully. Kobo wins on the latter, because not only can you get eBooks from anywhere including your local Aussie library, it also plays audio books if you bring a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Both are great options and worth checking out, especially if you’re on the lookout for a way to digitise your reading experiences this year.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode appears every week on 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.

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