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

The Wrap – Tech That Folds & Keeps You Connected

This week on The Wrap, we’ll dive into foldables from Samsung, a split-screen Surface phone, preview the iPhone 13, and check out what’s new from Withings, Kindle, and more, all in the space of five minutes.

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It’s nearly the end of September, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while last week was predominantly focused on everything iPhone — with a little bit of iPad thrown in for good measure — this week is seeing those devices released.

You can find an iPhone 13 or four as well as a new iPad and iPad Mini in stores this week, and we’ll have some reviews next week. We’ve been playing with the iPhone 13 for a few days now, and already we can tell you it’s good — quite good — with a slightly bigger screen, a better camera, and a little more battery life overall. That was pretty much our wishlist for the new iPhone, and so far, a few days in, it seems as though Apple has hit it, which is good news for folks craving that.

If you’re craving something else in technology, this week might have had it, because it sure had a lot.

For instance, if you’re looking for a new way to read, there’s always a small iPad, but there is also a new Kindle on the way, arriving in the 2021 Paperwhite. It’s a little bigger, hitting nearly 7 inches thanks to smaller bezels, as well as a warmer light, something that comes from the more expensive Kindle Oasis. Of particular interest, though, there’s wireless charging in a “Signature Edition”, making it more like new phones and easy to charge without necessarily reaching for a cable.

The regular Kindle Paperwhite lacks that wireless charging option, but it’s a start, and you can see the technology rolling out to more places.

In fact, we’re seeing a lot of technology roll out to more places.

In Japan, there’s now an NFC-connected ring, allowing people to pay for things using a ring rather than a smartwatch or smartband. There’s no word on whether the Evering NFC ring will come to Australia, but it could mean payment is just a touch of a finger away.

Checking your heart’s health might be a simple check away, as Withings releases a new blood pressure cuff in Australia able to check blood pressure, the spikes of your heart’s electrical activity via ECG, and even use a digital stethoscope to listen to the valves of your heart to check their health. It’s coming in the Withings BPM Core, a $400 monitor that can send the info straight to your phone, and then if you need to, straight to your doctor, as well.

Facebook won’t have quite the same idea, but it does have a couple of devices to let you talk to people through, and not just to social network. Rather, its latest Portal devices include a portable 10 inch display with a camera in it and a not-so-portable 14 inch take on the same. Think of these as video chat devices like a smart display, except made by Facebook, supporting music, photos from Facebook, and chat on — you guessed it — Facebook.

It’s distinct from the typical assortment of smart displays from Google and Amazon, respectively the Nest Hub and Echo Show models, though the latter of these has a new trick this week: it can speak Australian.

Amazon’s Echo line of speakers can now accept Australian English, and has a clue what you mean when you say something distinctly Australian. It’s one of those little touches you might be more into, especially if you tire of having to explain yourself to a speaker.

Finally, there’s foldables because let’s end the week on innovative technology we’re all a little intrigued by.

This week, Microsoft announced it would be joining foldables in Australia, kinda sorta.

Alongside the announcement of a few new Surface tablets and laptops, Microsoft also announced a phone coming to Australia. It won’t run on Windows like its laptops, but will get Android, and is very different. Less a foldable and more a split-screen smartphone, the Surface Duo 2 uses two 5.8 inch screens with a hinge to form one big 8.3 inch screen, allowing you to use them as two distinct screens or one large screen.

The Duo 2 is a 5G phone with three cameras, a fingerprint reader, and 128GB storage, but will come with a staggering $2319 start price when it launches in Australia in October.

And it’s clearly not alone.

The main foldable competition is from Samsung coming in the Galaxy Fold 3. There’s also the Galaxy Flip 3, but that’s a more normal phone to us, folding into a smaller size for your pocket.

The Fold 3 is different, looking like a 6.2 inch phone on the outside, but opening up to reveal a foldable 7.6 screen on the inside. And when we say foldable, we mean it. This isn’t two screens, but one really big screen, making it great for entertainment and reading, and a little like a small tablet that folds back into a phone.

It comes with 5G, three cameras, support for Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, and a battery that lasts roughly a day, plus water resistance, but our concerns for the Fold 3 come from the size — because it’s very chunky to carry around — and that it’s also a little awkward to use.

It may not be easy for everyone to find a comfy typing position. We got used to the tiny keyboard on the front screen, but struggled with the split keyboard on the inside. It’s a learning curve in a neat design, but one that costs $2500 for the privilege.

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.

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