This week on The Wrap, what does Google’s pocket-sized Pixel 6a look like and is it worth the price? And can you get a smartwatch that lasts a month? And what’s new for gamers along the way? All that and a little more in five minutes.
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It’s late July 2022 and you’re tuned in to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest tech roundup, and as we head into August we’re gearing up for new devices, starting with new foldables next month.
Yes, it looks like Samsung will announce two new models in the next few weeks, likely including a fourth-gen Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip, and maybe a few more.
Until then, Samsung has new screens on the way, at least in the desktop space.
While you’ve probably already seen Samsung TVs and maybe even Samsung screens without realizing it – since Samsung’s screens are used not only on its phones but also on iPhones – you might not be thinking of Samsung screens for your computer.
But if you’re a gamer, you might want that with a couple of big new monitors, one of which is said to offer 4K resolution at a staggering 240 Hertz. That might not mean all that much to you, but if you’re a gamer it might mean super silky smooth and smooth animations. It comes on a 32-inch screen from Samsung, the Odyssey Neo G8, a curved display with some neat light-up elements on the back meant to draw attention, assuming you don’t mind paying two grand for the privilege to count.
That’s joined by a slightly slower 165 Hertz model in the G7, while the 240 Hertz refresh rate is offered in a Full HD model or two for a lot less in the $550 G4, which will be flat but good value.
The same is true for gaming laptops, which feature twice the refresh rate on new Alienware laptops with a 480 Hertz screen option in 17 inches. Sure, they’ll be big computers to carry around and likely pricey too, but if you need something made for gaming then there sure seems to be plenty of options this year.
Of course, there are also many possibilities for many things. There are new Philips TVs in Australia as another supplier will offer OLED screens locally, while local 5G providers are also expanding beyond the main three providers Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.
Optus and Telstra have both dabbled with 5G in their virtual mobile network operators, and now Vodafone is bringing 5G to its operators too. That means if you subscribe to any of the smaller players out there, you might see 5G support on your phone before long, provided you subscribe to the right plan.
You’re going to need one of those newer 5G phones, but they’ve popped up quite a bit over the years. So if you’ve upgraded in the past few years, you might even have one, even if you don’t realize it now.
However, there are new models, and one we’re currently reviewing is the Google Pixel 6a. It’s a new addition to the Pixel range, but it’s a bit different as Google is bringing the “Pixel a” series back to Australia, which is basically its low-cost entry. Or lower cost, because at 750 local the Pixel 6a isn’t cheap, it’s just smaller.
It’s a 6.1-inch 5G phone, which differs from the standard Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch or even the 6 Pro’s 6.7-inch, and it has a similar look. It’s the same chip as in the larger models, but the screen isn’t as smooth and the camera isn’t as solid. Rather, you’re getting the camera out of the Pixel 5 from a couple of years ago. It’s not bad, just different, and you don’t get wireless charging or a decent battery that will likely need to be charged every night, although we’ve come to expect more from mid-range phones these days.
That might be enough to make the Pixel 6a worth a trade-off or two – you’ll save a little money between models – but we’d weigh your options carefully as the mid-range offers quite a bit of choice, and Google is a few months away from to update its Pixel lineup, likely in October.
It’s a bit like that with wearables, which are also getting some updates right now.
While a new Apple Watch is likely to appear in September and Android wearables are also on the way, there’s another option. And it’s one that doesn’t look like your traditional smartwatch.
Withings has updated its ScanWatch model, a type of smartwatch that looks more like a standard analog watch but comes with a small screen. Your hands are electronically controlled and your time comes from your phone, but a glance at the watch looks like a regular analog watch.
Inside, however, it’s all smarts. It gets your phone’s notifications and tracks a whole host of health metrics, checking heart rate and blood oxygen, and running an EKG – an electrocardiograph – which lets you check your vitals in a watch that also doesn’t drain battery life like a regular one Smartwatch that lasts up to a month.
However, you will miss some things. You can’t talk about it, there’s no GPS, it doesn’t store music, and you can’t use it to pay for anything. The ScanWatch lacks a few aspects, but if you’re looking for a watch that looks and feels that way and doesn’t need a nightly charge, the ScanWatch Horizon is a wearable worth checking out.
You’ve just heard The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up. There’s a new episode every week on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever podcasts are. For now have a great week and until next time at The Wrap. Stay healthy, stay healthy and take care of yourself.