This week on The Wrap, find out how HTC is coming back to phones, plus what else is new in mobiles. We’ll also go ears on with the latest from Australian earphone maker Nura and let Canon pick the best shots with a review of the PowerShot Pick, all in five minutes.
It’s July 2022, officially the middle of the year, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with six months down, there’s only a good six months to go.
Five months until Christmas brings on the shopping season, and six months until we start thinking about all the exciting technology next year can bring.
Well before that, let’s talk about a new phone from a company that hasn’t made phones in what seems like forever. If you remember HTC’s phones, you might be as old as I am, or even possibly older. Before the iPhone popped up and before Oppo started beating hard down the doors of Apple, Samsung, and Google for phone dominancy, HTC made a few smartphones.
In Australia, it had the first 4G phone, and it’s even dabbled with some interesting models over the years. It had a full aluminium phone before that became the norm, and even had a couple of Facebook-focused phones, the Salsa and ChaCha.
HTC didn’t quite keep up with phones, and with experiments in cameras and VR, the latter of which went quite well thanks to the Vive headsets, it stopped making phones a few years ago.
But it’s back, though not with what you might expect.
HTC this week announced a new mid-range Desire phone, and one focused on its VR-led efforts, letting you jump into the VR world that is the metaverse and explore from your phone, kinda. We’re not sure about this one, and suspect HTC will skip it for Australia, but it could be a sign that one more phone maker is at least re-entering the ring, so to speak. There’s also a new phone from Asus on the way in the ROG Phone 6, another gaming focused phone, while Xiaomi offers a Leica collaboration in the 12S, and like the HTC, we’re not sure it’ll pop up locally, though we’re keen to see all of them.
And that’s like that in computers, where so much is happening.
Dell looks set to add a few more options shortly, with an update to its XPS 13 with new chips, plus a much larger Inspiron 16 inch kind of focused on the mid-range looking for a big laptop without the big price tag. And then there’s the big price tag on the Dell XPS, coming in a new variant of the XPS 13 2 in 1.
Dell’s latest take on the 2-in-1 is to borrow a page from the Surface with something similar, resulting in a 13 inch tablet that packs in the latest Intel chips and a high res screen, but skip out on the keyboard case and the pen. They’re all optional, costing you extra if you want more than just a screen.
It seems like Dell’s take not just on the Surface but also the iPad Pro, which if we’re honest, is probably due for an update sometime in the next few months, as well.
While we’re talking about updates, let’s talk headphones. Specifically Australian headphones, because there’s a new pair of those on the way.
If you’ve browsed Facebook and seen a pair of headphones advertised, there’s a solid chance it’s the Nuraphones, a unique pair that analyses your hearing to provide a custom listening profile based on how you hear. Weirdly, it’s actually one of three Aussie companies doing this, but Nura at least has a new model on the way, and we’ve gone ears on over the past few weeks.
The latest is the Nura True Pro, and it’s a new pair of wireless in-ears with a faster hearing test, more warmth, and support for spatial audio, and a great sound from what we’ve heard in the test units. They won’t officially turn up until later in the year after a Kickstarter phase, but from what we’ve heard, they aim to take on the likes of Sony and Sennheiser, and even Apple’s AirPods Pro.
And while we’re talking about you, let’s talk about a camera that thinks about you more than anything else, something we’ve been reviewing in the Canon PowerShot Pick, a camera that seems to be named because it comes with artificial intelligence and can pick the shots it wants to take.
Yes, this is Canon’s first AI camera, making a face tracking selfie camera that can do a little more than selfies, and may offer some fun for the kids, provided you can swallow the 600 dollar price tag.
The Canon Pick looks a whole lot like a web cam with a battery built in, and doesn’t come with a heap of buttons like any other camera. Rather, you switch it on, and it takes the pictures for you, though you can also control it with your phone or your voice.
Choose your phone, and it can act like a remote control, while your voice is more of a fun gimmick. You’ll fire shots by saying “Hello Pick, snap a picture”, but you can’t deviate from that. It needs to be super specific, and that’s not all.
The setup is clunky and the image quality isn’t spectacular. You get an 11 megapixel sensor, but close up, the images aren’t much better than your phone. At its price, the Pick isn’t our pick, but the bones of an idea are definitely here. We just need it to be better in version two, if there is one.
And you can expect more from the world of technology next week. We’re not saying what, but big things are afoot. Apologies for the week off, but we hope to be back to our regularly scheduled weekly program from this episode on.
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.