Google Pixel 6 Pro on a table with travel equipment
Devices |

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro: hands on review

By Luke Hopewell October 29, 2021

This year we get more Pixel than ever before, and there’s a Pro version to boot! This is the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. We went hands on to see if it does what it says on the tin (spoiler: it does).

A new chip, new camera, new design, new models. The Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro have what you need for your everyday adventures.

Both models are packed with top-shelf gear. Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both come with 50-megapixel rear-facing cameras that take unreal pics at anytime of the day or night.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are designed to excel at computational photography for better HDR, Night Sight and everyday pics; AI and machine learning to get you what you need when you need it; speech recognition for live translation1, and more.

The camera pairs with awesome software smarts to take uncompromising pics. So you can adjust the focus of a shot after the picture has been taken, and with Magic Eraser you can literally delete photobombers from your special moments2.

The new design is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus for added protection and scratch resistance, and security is taken care of by a smart little fingerprint reader under the display.

It’s not the first device to have an in-screen fingerprint reader, but I have to say it’s the fastest and most reliable I’ve ever used in a smartphone.

All of this is powered by Google’s new hardware under the hood – Google Tensor.

What is Google Tensor?

At the heart of both Pixels this year is Google’s first ever processor called Tensor.

Tensor is custom-designed for this year’s Pixels, and everything they’re good at.

Google is also taking hardware security very seriously on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Connected to the Tensor SoC is the new Titan M2TM security chip to keep your stuff safe.

Google says the Pixel 6 Pro in particular has the most layers of hardware security in any device on the market at the time of release. And with Android 12 you can take better control of your private data to make sure it’s only being shared where you want it to be3.

Pixel 6 vs Pixel 6 Pro: what’s the difference?

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro sitting side by side on a table with travel equipment

The Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED screen that refreshes up to 90Hz. That means it’s designed for great Full HD content in rich colour and vibrant blacks. The 90Hz refresh rate means you’re getting a “smoother” screen overall that makes your day-to-day actions look super crisp.

The Pixel 6 Pro is a step up, designed for those who won’t compromise.

The Pixel 6 Pro features a larger 6.7-inch screen with a higher resolution. You get a display resolution that’s 1440×3120 so everything looks sharper, with a higher refresh rate at 120Hz. It kicks everything into top gear.

Other than screens, the Pixel 6 Pro features more storage than the Pixel 6, with a 512GB variant to sit alongside the 128GB and 256GB. Speaking of memory, the Pixel 6 Pro also has more RAM at 12GB compared to the Pixel 6’s 8GB.

The Pixel 6 Pro also comes with a 48-megapixel telephoto camera, with 4x optical zoom so you can get closer to your subject without blur. The front camera is also boosted to 11.1-megapixels on the Pixel 6 Pro compared to 8-megapixels on the Pixel 6.

The 6 Pro is also the first ever phone to support mmWave 5G.

What is mmWave 5G?

mmWave – pronounced as “millimetre wave” – is a short-range, high-frequency network technology that really shows off what 5G can do. It’s the next ‘wave’ of 5G, so to speak.

If you think of a network like a pipe, you can only force so much down that pipe before things become congested. We’re always looking to create newer, wider pipes so more data can be carried across our network for more people at once. That’s where mmWave comes in.

mmWave is a huge pipe. It has a lot more bandwidth on offer. Nearly 10 x regular 5G and can allow tens of thousands of people to connect, stream or upload photographs simultaneously. It’s another step towards delivering on 5G’s potential with super-fast speeds and more capacity.

As mmWave signal only travels a few hundred metres from a cell it is best suited for areas of intensive customer demand such as transport hubs, shopping districts and even sports stadiums or tourism hotspots, which is where we have begun the rollout.

Telstra currently has 65 mmWave sites live across 5 cities and we plan to nearly triple that number before the end of the year.

mmWave support means you can do even more cool stuff with your Pixel 6 Pro in even more places thanks to our massive 5G network that covers 75% of Australians. Duo HD screen sharing – for example – allows you to watch your favourite show or game over a video call so you can be together, even when you’re apart.

When is the Google Pixel 6 coming out?

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are available for purchase on Telstra from 28 October.

Telstra customers will be able to get $150 off the Pixel 6 Pro 512GB from launch until 22 November. That means you get a 512GB device for the same price as a 256GB device, but only for a limited time, or while stocks last.

Things you need to know

Compared to the main rear camera on Pixel 5.

1 Not available in all languages or countries. Not available on all media or apps. See g.co/pixel/livetranslate for more information. Internet connection required during setup only.

2 Magic Eraser may not work on all image elements.

3Based on a count of independent hardware security subsystems and components.

Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.

Compared to Pixel 5. Based on internal CPU benchmark testing on pre-production devices.

Confused man looking at phone
Cyber Security |

FluBot evolution continues as SMS cyber attack changes tack

By Darren Pauli October 15, 2021

Scammers dabble with malwareinception in a bid to trick the public.

Criminals behind the prolific FluBot SMS-based cyber attack sweeping Australia and the world have flipped their scam on its head by claiming potential victims need to install a purported security update to remove an existing FluBot infection.

The security update contains FluBot.

The latest trick showcases the criminals’ willingness to experiment with new scams (known as a pretext) in a bid to increase infections as news of the cyber attacks spread.

A sample of the new message being sent to users, which erroneously says they're infected with FluBot in a bid to install FluBot.
A sample of the new message being sent to users, which erroneously says they’re infected with FluBot in a bid to install FluBot.

We warned of FluBot in August as reports of strange, often garbled “missed call” messages began to hit people’s SMS inboxes.

FluBot is malware – like a computer virus – that can be installed on your Android device if you click on a malicious link in a SMS message. This malware then sends many similar text messages to other people from your phone without your knowledge, potentially infecting them.

The malware requests high levels of access to a victim’s phone in order to steal data and proliferate to other devices. Modern Android phones will provide owners with warnings about the access an app is requesting, but this may be of little protection to those who believe they are installing a legitimate app.

The scam is thought to have begun in Italy before spreading around Europe and then coming to Australia. The attacks are independent of carriers and can potentially affect everyone.

Currently, the FluBot “bait” messages you’re likely to receive suggest you have an unchecked voicemail as a way to get you to click the link. The message content can change, however, as we’ve seen from the messages claiming to help with an existing Flubot infection.

It has also in recent weeks claimed the recipient has missed a parcel and that Australia Post deliveries have been stalled amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you click on the link, the FluBot malware authors will attempt to trick you into installing the virus by deactivating some security settings on your device. FluBot webpages you click may ask you to allow the installation of “unknown apps”, which is restricted by default to stop malware like FluBot.

Android devices typically don’t allow unknown apps (that is, apps not from the Google Play Store) to be installed by default. FluBot cannot be installed if the installation of unknown apps is left as its default setting of denied. We strongly recommend you leave this setting as denied.

FluBot also cannot, to date, be installed on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.

Infected Android phones should be factory reset after important data like photos and phone contacts are backed up. Make sure you restore from a backup that was taken before you were infected with FluBot, otherwise you may risk reinfecting yourself.

If you don’t regularly back up your device, now is the time to start!

The evolution of the FluBot scam reinforces our continued message that the public is best placed to beat scams by being sceptical of all unexpected communications, regardless of the message, the sender, and the medium on which it was sent – be it email, SMS, chat message, or a phone call.

Telstra and our industry peers are continually examining ways to combat sophisticated threats such as Flubot.

You can report a scam to Telstra using our website. If you want to learn more, we also have more cyber safety advice on our website.

How you can tell if you are infected with FluBot

If you have clicked one of these links, you may be infected with FluBot already. The malware sits on your phone and intercepts passwords and other login details, while simultaneously sending out messages to your contacts to encourage them to install it too.

You can tell if you have FluBot in a few ways. Your phone may warn you it is sending a large number of text messages, and you are also likely to receive SMS messages from mobile numbers that have received FluBot links sent from your device. Customers of Telstra will also receive a message from us warning of a likely FluBot infection.

Finally, you may notice an app called ‘Voicemail’ bearing an icon of a blue cassette in a yellow envelope on your device. Please bear in mind the name and icon of this app could change anytime.

What we’re doing about it

Connected technologies increasingly sit at the very heart of the lives of most Australians. But as we move more rapidly to a digital economy, we need to be more and more cognisant of the growing cyber risks and those who seek to do us harm online.

We get that scams like FluBot are annoying, and we’re working to make the internet a safer place for our customers through our Cleaner Pipes initiative.

Cleaner Pipes includes a range of existing work designed to help keep our users safe from malicious activity online. We also recently announced we’re blocking around 13 million scam calls, on average, from being delivered every month.

Alongside Cleaner Pipes, we’re actively working to help people who have inadvertently been infected with FluBot. We identify compromised users based on the distinctive nature of the FluBot malware and notify those affected as to how they can fix their infected devices.

For those close to home, our free Broadband Protect service also helps safeguard you and the devices connected to your home network from accessing many known dangerous websites. Our data shows that Broadband Protect blocks, on average, around 2.5 million malicious websites per hour.

For even more online protection when you’re out and about, our Device Protect product helps safeguard your mobile, tablet or laptop, keeping users from falling foul of scammers that want to do you harm.

Australia’s first 5G phone is on the way - Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
5G | Devices | T22 | Tech and Innovation |

Australia’s first 5G phone is on the way

By Kevin Teoh May 22, 2019

In less than one week, we will mark a significant moment in our efforts to bring a brilliant connected future to all Australians. In a landmark partnership with Samsung, we will bring the first 5G-enabled smartphone to Australia and our stores – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G – on 28 May.

This will be a game-changing moment for our customers, and one we have not seen in nearly a decade. It has been eight years since Telstra launched 4G in Australia and more than seven since our first 4G smartphone. This time though, the possibilities opened up by the leap to a new “G” is going to be bigger and more profound than we’ve ever seen in the past.

Australia’s first 5G phone is on the way - Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

The potential to download fast, stream video with less buffering, or to have the edge over your friends when online gaming on the go are just the start of what will be possible with 5G. It is worth emphasising that the Galaxy S10 5G will combine together our 5G and 4GX to provide customers the best possible mobile speeds wherever 5G is available and Australia’s fastest average 4G speeds in 4GX coverage areas elsewhere. Our 5G technology is now available in select areas across the country and is continuing to expand.

As it continues to develop, the potential of 5G’s fast speeds and lower latency will transform the way we live and work through a host of new innovations that require fast connectivity and more capacity.

Australia’s first 5G phone is on the way - Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

It’s not just the network capability you’ll have in your hand with the Galaxy S10 5G.

Australia’s first 4G smartphone was released in 2012 with a 4.5-inch screen, 8-megapixel camera, and ran Android 2.3. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G has a supremely detailed and colourful 6.7-inch Cinematic Dynamic AMOLED display, runs the latest Android software, a bigger and faster charging battery and an incredible six-lens pro-grade camera setup, including new 3D depth technology, to capture stunning shots at every angle.

Australia’s first 5G phone is on the way - Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

We’ll be bringing the Galaxy S10 5G to our stores in a telco exclusive partnership with Samsung from 28 May, before any other Australian mobile operator. Customers who purchased a Samsung Galaxy S10+ through Telstra during the eligibility period earlier this year will be able to take advantage of our special upgrade offer, which allows them to trade in their S10+ for the new S10 5G at no extra cost on their existing plans, from 28 May.

We are proud to partner with Samsung to mark this moment in time, and to bring the Galaxy S10 5G to Australia as our first 5G-enabled smartphone and to be the first to offer it to our customers. We cannot wait to see all of the possibilities that 5G will bring to life, and we are excited to be on the journey with you.

Telstra currently offers 5G in select areas and is progressively rolling it out to other areas. In non-5G coverage areas, you’ll automatically switch to our 4GX/4G or 3G. Check coverage at telstra.com/coverage.

Devices |

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S9

By Campbell Simpson March 6, 2018

Unveiled at Samsung’s massive Unpacked event in Barcelona last week, the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be available to purchase on selected plans from Telstra March 16. If you want to check Samsung’s latest phone out before you buy it, there will be preview models in the majority of Telstra stores around the country from today.

For those that want to know exactly what you’ll be getting when you unbox your very own Samsung Galaxy S9, here’s a preview of everything you’ll receive from us – including our pre-order bonus of a Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible and additional Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017) tablet.

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S9 shares a similar look and feel to Samsung’s previous top smartphone, the S8. You might recognise it because Samsung has continued with the beautiful edge-to-edge 5.8-inch Infinity Display with Quad HD+ resolution.

On the front of the phone, you’ll also see the 8-megapixel selfie camera as well as Samsung’s iris recognition security features (top left and right).

When you turn it over, you’ll get your first look at the Galaxy S9’s innovative 12-megapixel camera, whose dual-aperture lens adapts to the photograph depending on lighting conditions. If you look carefully, you can actually see the apertures change when you’re taking photos.

The other noticeable feature here is that Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor from the S8 to the centre line of the phone – further away from the camera, making lens smudges far less likely.

From this view you can also see the heart rate sensor to the right of the camera.

On the bottom of the handset, we can see that while other devices have moved away from including a 3.5mm headphone port, the Samsung Galaxy S9 retains it – meaning that you can use both Bluetooth or wired headphones, like those included in the box. There is also a multipurpose USB Type-C connector for charging, data transfer, or connecting other accessories.

The headphones included in the box are of an ergonomically designed earbud style, lightweight and comfortable. They have been tuned and branded by Samsung’s partner AKG, and have a 3.5mm jack to connect directly to the S9. A packet of small, medium and large silicon earbud tips is included to suit different ear sizes.

You will also find a fast-charging Samsung travel USB power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. Another USB connector in the box lets you directly connect your existing phone to easily transfer your data during the initial setup of your new S9.

Of course, all the necessary extras are included too – like an ejection pin to help you insert SIM cards or microSD memory cards, a basic clear plastic case to help you protect the phone, and some paperwork which includes a Quick Start Guide, the Warranty Card (which we recommend you always hold on to) and guide on how to transfer content to your brand new Galaxy S9.

If you want to get yourself a proper hands-on experience, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are available to preview in most Telstra stores starting today.

If you are already convinced that this is your next phone, then you can take advantage of our exclusive pre-order offer – a bonus Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible and a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017), available to customers on eligible mobile plans. Click here for more information.

Consumer | Cyber Security |

Goodbye, wallet: why your phone is the cashless future

By Darren Pauli February 1, 2018

Telstra security operations specialist Darren Pauli has spent nearly a year with his smartphone replacing a wallet – securely making payments for everyday items and services. There are some guidelines you should keep in mind if you’re considering doing the same.

My wallet is history. I carry my phone instead.

How often do you use your Medicare card? How often do you pull out your driver’s licence? If you’re like me, the answer is rarely.

It was some time in March of last year that I acted on this realisation and threw my wallet in the bin – opting instead to carry only my phone.

That digital device – these days much more of a computer than just a phone – is my credit card, driver’s licence, and the link to my entire digital life.

With it, I can buy coffee by tapping it at point-of-sale machines (using Android Pay or Apple Pay), and I can securely access all of my important data and essential digital services with a few taps of apps.

The reason behind my switch from wallet to phone was simple: modern mobiles are faster and more user-friendly than ever, and security technology is now both reliable and easy to use.

This confluence of technology meant that, for me, the wallet’s 400-year reign as a mandatory hip accessory was over.

Replacing your wallet with your phone isn’t without risks. Keeping a scan of my driver’s licence and other documents in the cloud may be not be enough to keep some security pros happy, but the checks I employ are a big improvement on those the average person uses.

The two essentials

Firstly, your mobile and your bank must support near field communication (NFC) payments. This is required to make contactless payments.

Almost all Android phones include NFC, and most modern Apple devices have technology for Apple Pay built in (a full list can be found here).

Secondly, you must acquaint yourself with a security-driven mindset. Sometimes called operational security, this mindset is used to safely navigate technology through competence and confidence, not fear.

You can start now by setting a unique password for your bank account. Change your email account password next week.

Think of operational security (opsec) as the measure of your security awareness in the world of technology. You win points for knowing how to spot phishing, and for making up a fake birthday and home address for Facebook and other websites.

In short, you become more security-savvy the more you think like an attacker and build roadblocks to frustrate your opponent.

In 2018 this is a necessary skill: You cannot force your favourite online chat forum to use better security that’s harder to hack, but you can change your forum password to something unique or disposable. You can keep your real information out of your forum profile.

And doing this means hackers who break into that forum will not be able to use your password to get into your emails, or use your real name, birthdate, and address to help open a bank account.

In bite-sized chunks, strong, painless mobile security is possible. And maybe even a future of lighter pockets.

This is part one of a two-part series on smartphone and password cyber security. The second part covers in-depth security tips for using your phone as a mobile wallet.