Devices |

The best 5G gadgets at CES

By Luke Hopewell January 14, 2022

You think 5G is just for smartphones? Think again. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showed us how versatile 5G can be.

We’ve said for a long time that 5G is designed to connect the world’s next wave of smart gear. From cars to translators and more.

On the road again

5G is set to pave the road for the true self-driving car of your dreams.

Both Qualcomm and Sony were out in force to demonstrate that at this year’s CES.

Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon Digital Chassis at the show, which is a suite of connected systems designed for near-future self-driving cars.

The systems – all connected via 5G to the cloud – it’s a suite of systems that come together to create a view of the car’s surroundings.

Using this information, both the driver and the machine can have up-to-the-second info about what’s happening around the car.

Cheap and cheerful

5G isn’t just for thousand-dollar super phones. Nokia is seeing to that.

At CES this year, it demonstrated that 5G is available to even the inexpensive end of the smartphone line-up.

The Nokia G400 will go for just $US239 when it launches this year. And it’s no slouch, with a 120Hz display for a smooth experience and a 48-megapixel camera.

We can expect to see 5G devices get cheaper and cheaper in coming months and years. It’s even coming built-in on many laptops coming out this year too.

5G for your nan

At first the idea of an umbrella that doesn’t keep you dry seems silly. But then you realise that it’s the 5G-enabled Essence SmartCare Umbrella, and it’s a personal protection system for your nanna.

The Essence Umbrella is what’s known as a “mobile personal emergency response system” (or mPERS), and it’s designed to keep you safe wherever you go.

It features “built-in fall detection, real-time activity monitoring and two-way voice capabilities” so those living alone or in senior care scenarios can feel safe.

It’s a tiny device that runs on 5G CAT-M networks, so it also functions as a location device.

A babel fish?

We’ve seen awesome translators come out on smartphones recently, like the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

But what if you need to translate something to a bunch of people at once? That’s where VM-Fi works best.

The VM-Fi is a 5G-powered translator that can broadcast live translations to multiple people in a single room.

With a range of about 50 metres and a super-fast connection, it can translate speeches, tours and meetings in an instant.

Devices |

The 10 best smart home gadgets from CES 2022

By Luke Hopewell January 14, 2022

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has just wrapped for 2022. It brought us a wealth of gadgets that will make your home truly futuristic.

These are the best smart home gadgets from CES 2022!

Your next TV isnt a TV

While TV manufacturers announced great new technologies like Mini LED and QD-OLED, we started to see glimmers that your next TV, might not be a TV at all.

Maybe you could try something like the Samsung Freestyle projector? A slick and practical projector that can give you a 100-inch image on your wall or roof.

No need for a TV in your space at all!

Alternatively, those looking for a desktop TV for gaming or computing might want to look at Razer’s new creation. It’s a desk with a computer and OLED screen built-in.

The ultra-modern design might not suit everyone’s taste, however.

Maybe you want an even slimmer gadget to replace your TV? In that case, you’d be after TCL’s NXTwear Air cinema glasses.

These 75-gram specs contain the equivalent of a 140-inch screen, all thanks to two 1080p micro OLED panels in the lenses.

If you really want a TV, however, it might be worth looking at this one from LG that follows you round.

Alternative power for an alternative world

As climate change takes centre-stage as the greatest challenge of our generation, we need to start thinking about alternative ways to power our stuff.

Thankfully, the world’s tech giants are on the case.

There’s the Exeter portable Bluetooth speaker that takes the ambient light in your home and converts it to power.

Better still, there’s Samsung’s new remote, which takes the waves emitted by your router to recharge.


Getting the best nights sleep for longer

You spend around half your life asleep, so it’s important to have a good bed for your shut-eye.

But your sleep needs change over time, it can be hard for your bed to be a true 10-year purchase.

The folks from Sleep Number want to fix that, with a bed that adapts to your needs as you age.

It’s essentially smart furniture that changes as you do. If you get pregnant, it adjusts the mattress to your changing body. If you’re getting older and need more support, it adapts accordingly.

It also warms your feet as you drift off for a deeper and more relaxing sleep.

Taking care of yourself

CES is the same show that previously gave us the “smart fork”. Since it has been away, the gadget industry has had a bit of a think about what actually needs to be “smart” around the home.

Beauty giant L’oréal has an answer, with a gadget that helps make taking care of your colour even easier.

It’s called the Colorsonic, and it’s a handheld wand that blends hair colour together and applies it in an easy and consistent way like magic.

Elsewhere, Oral-B is continuing to gameify brushing your teeth with a new brush that collects stats on your habit and displays them for you (and your dentist) to see.

Connecting it all together

And to tie it all together, there’s a Smart Hub from Samsung.

It’s called the Home Hub, and it’s an 8.4-inch tablet that connects to all your Samsung SmartThings-enabled appliances around the home.

Samsung is also supporting standards that should bring support for other devices sometime soon.

In the meantime, it can tell you all about the power usage of the compatible devices in your home, as well as tell you what needs cleaning and when.

Good home internet to power your future

Of course, without great internet, these futuristic gadgets won’t be able to do their work.

We’ve been at this internet caper for a while, and have found that not all nbn providers are created equal.

Getting strong Wi-Fi around the house is just as important as getting connected quickly. Thankfully our Smart Modem 2 does both.

With built-in 4G backup, you’re online as soon as you take your modem out of the box. That means you don’t have to wait while your connection is configured on our end to get connected.

We know how important getting strong Wi-Fi around the house can be, which is why we continue to improve our Smart Modem Gen 2, with its strong Wi-Fi capabilities and mobile backup for more reliable connectivity.

We also offer a booster and a guarantee that your Wi-Fi will work from wall-to-wall or your money back.

The Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2 also makes sure you’re getting the best of the service you’re paying for. If you ever have any issues with your home broadband experience, our field technicians have one-click access to vital stats on the health of your home network making it faster for our experts to get you back online.

Samsung CES 2021 Bot Handy
Smart Home | Tech and Innovation | Telstra News |

CES 2021: step inside the future home

By Luke Hopewell January 15, 2021

2020 was a year we spent more time at home. While we might be doing the same for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean it has to be an analogue experience.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all happening online this year. Nevertheless, the gadgets and announcements have been coming thick and fast.

Technology around your home has come a long way over the last few decades. But as this year’s announcements from CES demonstrate, we’ve come a long way from Betamax and TVs that looked like large boxes.

Step inside our virtual home, where all the new and best technology from CES 2021 is ready and waiting.

Staying COVID-safe at the front door

Touching as few surfaces as possible has become something we all need to think about. You never know where COVID-19 might be hiding.

Smart home company Arlo knows this and has made a touches doorbell for the COVID era.

It gauges a visitor’s distance using what Arlo calls “proximity sensing technology” and alerts the homeowner of an arrival once the guest has safely approached.

Now to see if you can play ding-dong-ditch with it.

Four-legged tech

There’s even new gear for your furry friend!

Chamberlain has announced that the myQ Pet Portal is a new smart pet door that allows your dog to enter and exit safely on demand, and comes equipped with two-way HD cameras and sensors that only let the right pets in.

The pathogen-free home office

Targus Keyboard

In keeping with the theme, Targus has announced a new series of home office gear designed to keep you safe during a pandemic.

The flagship product is a UV light that sits above your keyboard and mouse designed to blast viruses and bacteria that might live there.

And if you need to stay clean on the go, Targus has an antimicrobial backpack, too.

Smarter treats

A lot of us got pretty handy in the kitchen during 2020’s on-and-off lockdowns. From bread to muffins and everything in-between, we all became overnight masterchefs.

Now that we’re probably going to be stuck at home a bit longer, it’s time to go back to being lazy in the kitchen. And what better gadget to be lazy with than an instant ice-cream maker.

The ColdSnap is a “rapid freezing product” that makes fresh frozen treats in a flash. Using pods, you can make a variety of things, from ice cream sundaes to frozen smoothies, and even a frozen alcoholic beverage for after dark.

Powering your future garage

Don’t think that your car misses out on all the tech fun, either. CES has new gear for your four-wheeled companion also!

Ensuring you get the right information about your car and the traffic conditions is essential when you drive. We’ve seen some pretty big screens added to cars in the last few years, but none bigger than this. Mercedes Benz’ new Hyperscreen is a 55-inch display that is built right into your car. And it’s not just a concept, either: it’s headed to the new EQS electric sedan later this year.

Keeping in the theme of EVs, everyone is getting in on the game these days. Cadillac and GM gave everyone a closer look at the “ultra-luxury” Celestiq EV, for example.

Entertainment like never before

The TV is often the crown jewel of the lounge room. But this year’s CES innovations show that your lounge doesn’t need to be the only entertainment room in your home.

LG has been making headway with its OLED technology for some time, and now it’s moving the TV tech out of your rumpus and into your bedroom. The company has envisioned a variety of transparent OLED TVs, including a transparent model that comes up out of your bed and rolls up when you’re not using it.

Other TV innovations from CES this year include a screen that won’t make you choose between flat or curved: you can have both! A variety of flexible OLED displays were shown off that bend on command to give you an immersive experience when you want it.

Leading TV brands like Samsung and LG are also introducing a new technology called Mini LED. It’s basically powering the TV backlight with even smaller LED lights than ever to make brighter whites and a better colour experience.
Keeping it all connected

While we’re all spending time at home, connectivity is vital to keep us going. Especially when it comes to new gadgets and there were some exciting WiFi announcements at CES also.

Strong Wi-Fi around the home means you get the work, learning and playing done in every room and on multiple devices.

We’ve got some tips to ensure you can get the most out of your home Wi-Fi router, and we’re not stopping there.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to your strong home Wi-Fi coverage with our new Wi-Fi Guarantee. You can learn more on Telstra Exchange.

Smart home and tech of the modern, future house
Devices | Smart Home | Tech and Innovation |

A tour of your futuristic smart home at CES 2020

By Luke Hopewell February 14, 2020

2020 is the year that tech takes over your house. From the front door to the bathroom and every room in-between, tech titans are bringing the latest gadgets home for your convenience. Step inside for a look at your smart home of the future.

Welcome home, reader.

You’ve just stepped into the home of the future through a front door that features smart, NFC keys. It’s a comfortable two-bedroom in the suburbs, and thanks to the major tech manufacturers at 2020’s Consumer Electronics Show, it now has all the latest gadgets. From smart fridges to clever household robots that pick up your dog’s business (seriously).

Fancy a tour?

The kitchen

The fridge is more than just a fancy gadget. It’s helped you cut down on food waste dramatically, and has saved you so much time going to the supermarket to pick up groceries. It’s a Samsung unit with built-in Artificial Intelligence that can recognise your food.

It lets you know what you’re running out of, makes suggestions based on what you have and helps you reorder stuff when you’re out thanks to the big screen on the front. You don’t even need to add stuff to your shopping list anymore!

Speaking of food, you’re about to be treated to a dinner designed specifically for you, down to the molecular level. DnaNudge is a new service you’re using that recommends the food you should and shouldn’t be eating based on your genes.

Because you’re the type of person who retains too much salt after eating it, you’ll find nothing too salty in that new smart fridge of yours. They know everything about what’s good for you after doing a cheek swab and sending it back.

When you do have stuff you need to throw away, it’s easier than ever thanks to the Townew trashcan that automatically seals your trashbags for you for more considerate disposal without the unwanted smells.

The sink is fitted with a smart tap that you can speak to via Amazon Alexa. You can ask it to pour you a specific measure of water at a specific temperature for perfect portion control while preparing recipes, and also for cutting-down on wastage.

The bedroom

When you lie your head down at night, you won’t have to worry about your sleep apnoea or keeping your partner awake with annoying snoring. Not since you got the second-generation MOTION Pillow that is. With airbag technology, it intelligently repositions you throughout the night, so your breathing isn’t inhibited. Your phone even charges wirelessly as part of the pillow too so you can see your sleep habits as soon as you wake up.

Of course, before you go to sleep, you want to watch some stuff, and control your content without losing a smart remote in the bed sheets. That’s why you’ve got the Hachi Infinite Projector installed: a short-throw projector that turns your bedroom wall into a touchscreen.

The bathroom

Yep, there’s even tech in here for making your life easier and more connected.

The Moxie Showerhead is from Kohler, and in addition to spitting out water, it spits out tunes and the latest news thanks to an Amazon Alexa integration.

There are touchscreens inside the bathroom mirror so you can keep binge-watching your latest show while brushing with your smart toothbrush, and your lipstick shade can change daily thanks to L’Oreal’s new Perso gadget that mixes you a new shade each day based on what your favourite influencers are wearing. And your skin glows each day thanks to Neutrogena’s new Skin360 app which delivers personalised skincare for your exact needs.

But be careful on your way out: the cat’s smart litter box that analyses its stool for health problems before intelligently cleaning it up is in the corner over there.

The lounge room

Every surface in your living room – from the coffee table to the arms of the chairs – allow for your phone to be charged wirelessly in here. After all, everything in your house is controlled from your smartphone, so why risk it running low?

Plus, all your content and smart home tech is controlled via the phone as it connects to the superfast new Wi-Fi 6 modem router with intelligent cybersecurity controls built-in so the bad guys can’t easily hack your house. You can pair that with the updates to Google’s voice Assistant, which can now schedule actions, read you an article or start a call for you.

“But where’s the TV?”, your visitors might ask in puzzlement. “Oh,” you can respond modestly, “it’s integrated into the ceiling”. At the push of a button, LG’s latest rollable OLED TV unfurls from the ceiling like a projector screen without the projector to deliver dazzling colour and deep blacks.

When buying the TV, there were a lot of considerations in mind. You had to consider whether you wanted either LG’s Real 8K TV, or Samsung’s portrait-oriented Sero TV. Perhaps you even wanted to pair a TCL TV with its new sound-reflecting technology for better Dolby Atmos sound immersion. In the end, however, you decided that technology shouldn’t be the focal point of a room. Rather, it should disappear out of sight when not being used.

All in all, your new home of the future isn’t a bad place to put your feet up.

The future of gaming at CES 2020
Devices | Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

Games of the future at CES 2020

By Luke Hopewell February 3, 2020

The game has changed. This year’s CES showed off new form factors and wild new ways to play. Here are the three trends we saw and loved.

Games on your face

The next frontier of gaming isn’t so much native 4K or even 8K support. The game is now much bigger, more mobile and more immersive.

A number of manufacturers at this year’s CES shunned occlusive and bulky VR headsets and instead showed off gaming via Augmented Reality glasses.

Panasonic, for example, showed off a pair of steampunk glasses, while a company called Nreal showed off AR glasses that plug into your phone for gaming support.

We can’t wait to see if this takes off in 2020!

PC gaming goes more portable

Nintendo’s Switch revolutionised mobile gaming with a nifty handheld that also becomes a fully-fledged console for your TV. Now that the console has experienced incredible success, other manufacturers want to get in on the portable form factor, specifically for PC gaming.

Alienware showed off an incredible concept at CES called the UFO: a handheld gaming PC with an 8-inch screen and detachable controllers for fully-portable mobile gaming.

It’s not going into production just yet, but Alienware says that its designers have already invested thousands of hours making handheld PC gaming feel just right, and we think they’re onto something!

If you still want your gaming to feature a keyboard and mouse, your experience is set to get way more portable in the future.

Gaming rigs typically pack in an incredible discrete graphics card (or GPU), but all this graphic performance sacrifices portability. If you’re looking for a laptop that can do what a desktop gaming rig does but still can slip inside a backpack, you’ll love the new Lenovo Legion external GPU.

An eGPU outsources the job of intensive graphics processing to an external box that plugs into your laptop when you want to game. This way you can have a thin and light laptop during the day while still having a fast gaming computer when you need it!

Having it all

Of course, you don’t always have to choose your platform. What if you wanted PC gaming and console gaming in the one box? With Origin’s Big O machine, the dream is a reality.

Originally outed as a concept last year, Origin is now flogging its incredible custom gaming PC that crams a console of your choosing into the one impressive gaming box that sits on your desktop. That makes it the perfect gaming PC – if we can even call it that now – to sit alongside the TV in your lounge room.

Unfortunately, you do have to make a choice between having an Xbox or PlayStation version in the same machine, as the two still don’t get along under the same roof. But with the monstrous machine starting at $2499, you can probably still afford to pick up another for cheap.

Maybe even with our Xbox All Access deal?