This week on The Wrap, there’s plenty of news on hand with wearable info from Withings, Fitbit, and Huawei. Plus we’ll talk PlayStation changes and review Apple’s M2 MacBook Pro, all in five minutes.
For the last week of June this year, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with the end of the financial year firmly in sight, you might be surprised to learn that very little of what’s happening out there actually has to do with it.
Oh sure, you can use this week, the last remaining few days of the Australian 2021 to 2022 financial year to scour for tech deals if you must. But this week, we’ve been hearing less about your wallet and more your hands, because hands and wrists are part of the week’s big news.
Withings has a hand in that, excuse the pun, using the week to announce a new variation of its ScanWatch, which a couple of years ago was Australia’s first smartwatch to be approved with an ECG, and electrocardiograph, able to give you a little look at what your heart is doing.
Two years is a long time in the world of wearables, and while Apple and Samsung both offer the technology in their devices locally, Withings is upgrading things again. The changes in underlying tech of the new ScanWatch Horizon aren’t huge, with the look more the focus of this model. Rather than offer a simple watch style with an elegant design, the ScanWatch Horizon is stainless steel with a nautical focus, made to be more of a chunker than the minimalist focus from before.
It’s still the same tech, with the ECG, heart rate tracking, and focus on sleep, plus with a small screen, but it just looks more like a metal watch you might see your dad or grandad rocking.
Fitbit this week is also adding to the wearable news, launching some new sleep tracking for many of its wearables, with a month long sleep tracking profiler. Owners of a selection of Fitbit wearables who also happen to be subscribing to the Fitbit Premium service will see tracking of how long it takes before you fall asleep, how long you sleep, the variations, and a bunch of other factors, all to get a gauge on how you sleep, and hopefully to offer improvements.
They probably don’t have a section for parents dealing with babies, so we’re kind of hoping for a bit of a bonus section noting that fact, but if you are having trouble sleeping and you don’t have a bub in your life, it could just provide that little bit extra info to help.
And Huawei has a few gadgets in this area, as well, as the once heavy hitter in smartphones offers some tech for your wrists, as well.
You don’t see a whole heap from Huawei lately, thanks in part to the whole trade issues with the US government. With no ability to run the Google Play Store, Huawei’s phones are very niche locally. Still usable, but only barely.
But its wearables have use, because they don’t need Google to work, and can work on Android and iOS devices no worries.
There are a few more this week, and one is very interesting. There’s the Watch Fit 2 which is kind of like a more budget focused style of Apple Watch not made by Apple, a clearly Fitbit-inspired Band 7, and a circular premium model, the Watch GT3 Pro.
But the one that grabs us is the Watch D, an eight hundred dollar smartwatch that includes something we’ve never seen before in a watch: a blood pressure monitor.
We’ve been testing it for the better part of a week, and it is a total surprise. While the Watch D looks and feels like a chunkier Apple Watch, it’s one focused almost entirely on health.
There’s no payment support and the watch faces need more finesse, but the blood pressure feature is sound. It’s kind of like a health focused watch, though one you need to be prepared to spend on. It’s surprisingly charming, which is definitely nice to see.
Wearables aren’t all we heard about this week, though. Games saw a showing, with Sony relaunching its PlayStation Plus service with three tiers, and basically doing what Netflix does for movies, but for games. Xbox already has that with Game Pass, and Sony is doing it for PlayStation in PS Plus.
Australians will miss out on cloud gaming and PS3 titles, but depending on how much you spend, games are basically on tap for PS4, PS5, and even some of the older consoles, as well.
And finally, we’re checking out Apple’s latest MacBook, the M2 MacBook Pro, which is basically a preview of the upcoming Air. The new Air sports a new design and a new chip, and while it won’t be out until July, the 13 inch Pro kind of sets the pace.
Offering solid performance, it’s one of the speediest laptops you can find, but it can feel a little like yesterday’s tech. It features the older Macbook Pro design, older screen, fewer ports, and generally feels under where the 14 inch MacBook Pro is, despite being only a few hundred less.
It’s really hard to give a recommendation to the 13 inch M2 Macbook Pro, because we don’t know it’s for. Most will probably end up on the Air, while Pro users will genuinely be better with the 14 inch Pro. If anything, it just offers up a preview of Apple’s next computers. The next Air which is just around the corner.
For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found each week at Listener, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. For now, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.