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

The Wrap – The best tech of 2021

This week on The Wrap, it’s our last show of the year with the best tech of 2021. We’ll talk to three of Australia’s best tech journalists, Alice Clarke, Stephen Lambrechts, and Geoff Quattromani to talk about what was amazing this year, all in five minutes.

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It’s the very end of 2021, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with only a few moments left until we say hello to another year, until 2022 rocks up, we’re taking the time to look at all the amazing technology we saw this year.

And there was a lot this year, covering TVs, headphones, computers, phones, gaming, speakers, vacuum cleaners, and so much more. There was so much, that we’ve assembled three of Australia’s best technology journalists to talk shop with, very quickly, fitting some of the best tech of 2021 into the space of five minutes, starting with TVs.

Stephen Lambrechts, Senior Journalist, Tech Radar

2021 saw Mini-LED TVs make a big splash in the market with everyone from LG to Hisense, taking a stab at the new backlighting technology.

That’s Tech Radar’s Stephen Lambrechts talking about Mini-LED, a technology that uses thousands of tiny little LEDs to control the backlighting of LED-backlit TVs, creating an experience that can rival the popular premium TV technology that is OLED.

Stephen Lambrechts, Senior Journalist, Tech Radar

It’s my opinion that Samsung’s Neo QLED range delivered the best mini LED TV experience of the year, simply allowing its amazing quantum dot range to take the next logical step. Finally, Mini-LEDs had given Samsung the black levels and contrast to match the quality of its vivid colours and outstanding brightness, which I believe offers a better overall viewing experience at OLED technology.

We’re bound to see more Mini-LED next year, and Apple even used the technology on its M1 iPad Pro earlier in the year, but that wasn’t the only exciting technology out there.

Alice Clarke, Freelance Technology Journalist

The M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro is insanely powerful and I wish I’d had it earlier in the year. One part of my job is in TV production and the M1 MacBook Pro and then the M1 Max massively revolutionised how quickly I could work and where I could do it. I wouldn’t need to bring a charger with me to the studio or to the office. And that was really handy.

That’s Alice Clarke, freelance journalist and reviewer with a laptop choice we totally agree with after having reviewed it ourselves. While expensive, the M1 Pro and M1 Max models of MacBook Pro are high priced but incredible machines, boasting fast speeds and incredible battery life, not to mention remarkable sound.

It’s not the only great laptop of the year, though. Apple’s M1 MacBook Air remains consistently strong from last year, while Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 wins points for being a fantastic Windows laptop, as well.

Earphones also got attention this year, too.

Alice Clarke, Freelance Technology Journalist

The Technics AZ60 true wireless earbuds sounded so good, they caused me to have an existential crisis. None of my other headphones sound good anymore. And I really don’t know what to do with that. Cause I love headphones.

They weren’t alone. Sony’s WF-1000XM4 were great options, as were the inexpensive EarFun Air Pro noise cancelling earphones, plus the Ag TWS04K, earphones that could last all week and then some.

And then there were sunglasses with earphones. Specifically, Ray-Ban’s Facebook collaboration, the Ray-Ban Stories.

Geoff Quattromani, Freelance Technology Journalist

Now controversial for sure, but having a pair of sunglasses that look cool because they’re made by Ray-Ban, but also have cameras, microphones and speakers built in meant that I could listen to music, take phone calls, and most importantly, take photos and videos with my kids as I was playing with them without interrupting that moment of pulling out my phone to capture it.

That’s one of Geoff Quattromani’s favourite gadgets, a freelance tech specialist you might have heard on radio, and while Ray-Ban’s sunglasses earphones were the only pair with a camera, the Bose Frames Tenor also provided good sound without one.

Finally, there was what happened in mobile entertainment, because even though we spent time at home, we were more mobile overall.

Alice Clarke, Freelance Technology Journalist

Finally, everyone should play Forza Horizon 5 and the fact that you can do it on Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming, without even owning an Xbox or gaming PC is just ridiculously cool. What Xbox is doing with Game Pass has really made gaming more accessible to more people. And I love that.

Xbox Game Pass is one of 2021’s best tech additions hands down, joining Apple Music’s Spatial Audio is one of the best inclusions, and something you can take with you to go.

In fact, if you grab an Xbox controller and a big phone, or even a phone that unfolds into a tablet, it means entertainment can be taken to go with ease. We did this with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is a great big screened phone and arguably the best foldable of the year, while devices like the iPhone 13 Pro, Pro Max, and 13 Mini all stand out as great iPhones, as well as the Google Pixel 6 Pro, as well.

We’re also big fans of the Sonos Roam, a fantastic water resistant speaker and one of the best entries into the world of Sonos.

It’s enough to get us hyped up for what the new year will bring, which is literally right around the corner.

For 2021, that’s our show.

Thanks to Alice Clarke, Stephen Lambrechts, and Geoff Quattromani for joining us on this show, and you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode appears every week on LiSTNR, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and we’re delighted to wish you all a happy and safe new year.

Spend it safely, and we’ll see you in the new year and next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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