This week on The Wrap, we’ll cover the biggest two phone reviews of the year, looking at the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Google’s Pixel 6 Pro. Plus we’ll check out new earphones, new apps, some Halloween gadget tips, and more. All in five.
It’s the end of October for 2021 — can you believe it? — and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and right before Halloween, you might be thinking of ways to make your home into a bit of a spooky shop of horrors. There are certainly things you can do with props, grabbing some spiderwebs and other creepy bits, but there are also things you can do with technology.
For instance, if you have some smart lights, you can control the colour so that it’s something a little more creepy. An orange or a purple could set the mood, all while a speaker plays creepy sounds in the background, positioned in the bushes and making everything a touch haunting.
You can do more, of course. If you have a video doorbell, you may be able to trigger a scream with every door press, and if you have a projector, you might want to do something very scary and project videos of ghosts and other haunting images against a curtain.
Try not to scare everyone too much, though, because the point is to trick and treat, not to trick and have them run from your house screaming. Unless you’re into that.
Typically the only times we scream are when we feel we’re paying too much for something, and as we head to the holiday period, there’s a chance that could happen, though we’re more concerned about trying to work out what to buy.
Fortunately, we can help with some of that, by taking you through some of what’s coming and what was announced this week.
Starting with Belkin, which joined the world of truly wireless earphones this week with a rather curious idea, releasing earphones that came with something else. It’s a unique proposition, because if you grab a pair of Belkin’s Soundform earphones, you’ll find they come with a wireless charger or a powerbank, giving you something else to look forward to in the box.
Priced from just under $100 to closer to $200, they’re sweat resistant with the highest priced model getting a bit of noise cancellation, and making it just that harder to pick which pair of earphones you want… because there are so many to choose from.
Technics also has a couple of pairs this week, bringing noise cancellation to its AZ60, another sweat resistant pair that brings Technics’ expertise in audio to a small size, launched alongside a high-grade amp, turntable, and speaker system.
Dell also has a gaming computer without the crazy Alienware design coming in the XPS Desktop, and it arrived alongside new chips from Intel meant for gamers in the beginning, heavy on the cores in Intel’s codename Alder Lake, heading to big computers to start with, and laptops later on.
There was also a fair bit happening in the world of software this week, so less about what you buy, and more about what you use.
For instance, Adobe seems like it’s cutting the hours needed to do heavy work for creatives with some updates to its photo and image apps; Apple released its latest update to macOS — macOS Monterey; Tidal gave DJ software users a chance to mix using music from its online service — you know, so you don’t have to buy every record; and Facebook also launched more stuff in the world of VR.
Basically, Facebook is expecting a lot to happen in virtual, and is launching fitness VR stuff likely to compete with what HTC’s Vive is doing, while workers meeting in VR for work will soon have their own personal workplace to work with 2D apps, making it like a virtual office to work from, but inside a headset.
That’s not the only big thing happening, because there are big phones to check out as well. Two of them, as the year ends with big phones and big phone reviews.
Arguably the two biggest phones of the year are the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, phones sporting a big screen, big batteries, big new chips, and three rear cameras on each. They’re about as big as each other, but they’re priced very differently: the Pixel 6 Pro costs nearly $1500 for 256GB, while the same size will cost you a little over $500 more from Apple.
It’s not just different pricing that separates these two, either. Both can hit over a day of battery life, but the iPhone ran for longer in our tests. They both have cameras that do wide, ultra-wide, and close, but each do things differently. The Pixel’s 4X lens gets you closer than the iPhone’s 3X, and the Pixel has a better portrait mode, but the iPhone can take macro photos and grab portrait-style video.
All in all, they’re both excellent cameras, but we think Apple might have the edge, delivering a camera that feels more versatile overall, though Google’s is quite good, too.
Google does have one edge, though, and it’s in 5G. The Pixel 6 Pro is the first phone in Australia to support millimetre wave 5G. Now that’s not a big deal yet, and the tech hasn’t quite launched, but it does mean the Pixel 6 Pro is a little more future proof thanks to this inclusion.
However they’re both great phones and well worth checking out, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max easily the best iPhone of the year, and Google’s Pixel 6 Pro easily the best Android hands down.
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. Stay safe, stay sane and take care. Happy Halloween!