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

The Wrap – Pricey WiFi, big tablets, and more

This week on The Wrap, it’s big news about big changes to WiFi, big tablets, and other things you might find big. What’s the big deal? Find out in a surprisingly big five minutes.

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Near the end of June 2022, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while we’re all waiting for the next big thing, this week saw big things both in size and price.

Take Netgear’s latest gadget on its way to Australia, as the networking company does more with WiFi 6E.

If you’re not sure what WiFi your home is currently rocking, you’re probably not alone. Many Australians are running the WiFi that came with their broadband, which is typically a basic router for basic needs.

Upgrades can fix that, and they’re appearing regularly. There are two new versions of WiFi, one arriving next year in WiFi 7, while its WiFi 6E is showing up, well, now.

WiFi 6E basically gives you an extra band of wireless range for those brand new high performance gadgets, things like 4K TVs and fast phones and such, while WiFi 7 will expand on that some more.

Netgear was the first to pop up in Australia with WiFi 6E, and it’s adding another entry, but yikes is it expensive.

The latest is a WiFi 6E mesh system coming in the Orbi WiFi 6E, a network gadget that’ll boost WiFi at home by using four bands of wireless activity, one of which is reserved for sending transmissions around your home. If you’ve got a big home, mesh turns your home into a sort of Venn diagram of wireless activity, and that’s what this will do, provided you have the money to spend.

At nearly three thousand dollars, it is one of the most expensive wireless systems we’ve ever heard of, and clearly something that not everyone will go for.

Which is kind of like a new thing IKEA looks set to release later this year. Vinyl is very much a niche thing as it is, but the Swedish furniture giant is teaming up with the musicians Swedish House Mafia for a record player you can expect alongside the Billy bookcase, and other things.

It’s blocky and surprisingly big for a record player, especially as they tend to be quite minimalist these days, with this appearing as a black box in the room that can play records.

We don’t think IKEA will get to selling records at any rate, so stick to where you’d normally get those, but it will be a place selling more than the odd speaker or smart light, which is already does, too.

No phones or TVs, just yet, though there’s news there, too.

Random brand Nothing has previewed what we can expect from its first phone in July, and it’s looking like it’ll be very different in design, with a look that shows off what’s under the hood. Meanwhile, Oppo has launched a 5G phone for 599 in Australia, arriving in the Reno 8.

We haven’t seen a bunch of Reno models in between – there was a Reno 7 last year, but the remaining Reno numbers are hard to find. Anyway, this new model will sport a few cameras, a 6.4 inch screen, and a hint of water resistance, something you don’t often find in the mid range of mobiles locally.

And in TVs, Hisense has launched its range locally, offering a choice of LED backlit or even OLED models, while Samsung’s 2022 TV models will actually gain a new feature in the coming weeks, supporting Xbox games all without an Xbox.

That’s one of those new things you can do, playing games without actually owning the console. If you have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you can kind of do that now with a phone, a computer, or any other connected device. You’ll need to bring your own controller, for sure, but once you have it, you can use the power of the cloud and play games with whatever device you want.

That could be your iPhone, your computer, and now maybe even a recent Samsung TV.

Or maybe an oversized tablet, because that’s what we’re reviewing this week: a seriously oversized tablet.

It’s back to the theme of big things, because that’s exactly what Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is. Sitting at a massive 14.6 inches, bigger than the screens on many laptops, the Tab S8 Ultra is more or less the biggest tablet around.

Despite its huge size, the S8 Ultra manages to be quite thin, stuffing its nearly 15 inch AMOLED display and a sizeable battery into a thickness of 5.5 millimetres. At 726 grams, it is not light at all, but it’s also not meant to be, and basically offers a huge tablet experience for those who want one complete with a magnetic stylus S-Pen in the box.

Armed with similar tech to this year’s S22 Ultra, it’s similar in price, too, starting from seventeen hundred locally while the keyboard case costs an extra five hundred.

While expensive, what it offers is basically a big drawing, writing, and content consumption experience. While it delivers on that, it’s also awkward to use.

Both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro max out around 13 inches, and feel better designed. Samsung’s Tab S8 Ultra is bigger, but we didn’t find it as useful as either.

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.

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