This week on The Wrap, get an alert about the scams affecting Australian phones and what not to click, plus find out about bringing the cinema home, new earphones, and Samsung’s compact foldable phone. All that and more in five.
Near the end of August, one more week to go, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while lockdown seems like it will never end in much of Australia and where this show is recorded, the onslaught of scams are seemingly in the same boat.
Staying home and staying safe is important to get us all through the delta wave’s lockdown, but that’s also attracting scammers, as the numbers increased for all manner of scams this week.
It feels like we’ve seen them all: robocall scams warning us there’s a warrant out for our arrest — that’s fake! — scammers pretending to be from Amazon calling to take our credit card details — yep, fake too!
There are a bunch of blackmail scams we’ve seen this week suggesting your computer has been hacked and to pay a bitcoin ransom — it hasn’t, you’re fine — not to mention the one that keeps on popping up: voicemail scams. It’s affecting a lot of Australians, but it goes beyond our country, as scammers try to get us to click on a dodgy link. The voicemail links coming in over text are more a pest on iPhone, but on Android, they can do real damage, installing a piece of malware called Flubot that can capture your details, share them with criminals, and then send itself to more people on your list. The cycle repeats, and scammers make money.
That scam has been making the rounds well and truly this week, and if you receive one, don’t click the link. Telcos are trying to do something about it, about all the scams we’re all receiving, most of which have increased because we’re in lockdown, but you need to be aware of what’s coming in and make sure you don’t click.
There are plenty of other things to click on and check out, though.
For instance, Hisense has a new cinema in a box out, handy for those of us who might miss the big screen. At eight grand, the 120 inch 4K Laser TV is a box that talks to a big 120 inch screen, using a short throw laser projector to show a big image from close up, whether it’s from TV, Blu-ray, or a streaming service.
You might want to bring your own sound system, because we don’t think its little speakers will do a home theatre justice, but if you crave that big picture, this is definitely an option.
In the world of TV sound, DTS, the rival of Dolby, has a new technology coming that will turn TV speakers into a centre channel for other wireless speakers.
Elsewhere, Samsung has a new watch or two, and they’ll arrive with support for an electrocardiograph, the ECG, working in Australia. Finally. It’s also in two other Samsung watches, and they’ll be activated in the coming months, but it means owners of the Watch4 and Watch4 Classic will have heart monitoring more like the Apple Watch before long.
Google has a new pair of inexpensive earphones in the Pixel Buds A-series, a $159 pair of truly wireless earphones that go without noise cancellation, but manage to include a reasonable amount for the price. There’s a highly portable and comfortable design, five hours of battery life, and something Google calls “adaptive sound” which changes the volume to match the world. If you have an Android phone, they’ll also translate languages to your ear.
Oppo has new cameras on the way for its phones, previewing what we can expect this week for folks living in the future. There’s a moving camera that works like a zooming telephoto lens, plus a special type of stabiliser to make sure phone video is super smooth.
But none of this is coming to phones just yet. For now, the hot new thing in phones may as well be foldables, like the Fold 3 and the Flip 3. Both are folding Android phones, but one unfolds from a big phone to a small tablet — that’s the Fold — while the other is a big screen that folds closed to a smaller phone.
And that’s exactly what we’re checking out, with the Flip 3 offering a 6.7 inch AMOLED screen that folds in half to take up size similar to a compact mirror, making for one of the smallest phones you can find. It’s still a big phone, it just doesn’t look or feel big when it’s closed.
Under the hood, it’s a bit of a compact powerhouse, offering a fast chip, plenty of memory and storage, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 5G, and there are two cameras.
But there are also two screens: there’s the big flexible screen on the inside, and a smaller 1.9 inch touchscreen on the outside, allowing you to control music and other phone functions without needing to open the phone.
That’s quite cool, as is the inclusion of water resistance, something foldables have never had, but what’s not cool is the battery life. Simply put, good luck reaching a day, as the 3300 milliamp battery can’t seem to do it. Ours hit at most 18 hours, making it a phone you’ll need to charge regularly.
That dents the score on the Flip 3, because it is a great compact device with an acceptable camera, but it needs more in the battery life department. It’s frustrating, because we love the design, but are less impressed by the battery, especially for $1500.
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.