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Google Pixel 8a review: full featured AI power for everyone

The Pixel 8a can go toe-to-toe with the Pixel Pro as well as the best from Samsung and Apple. Google's AI software might now push its hardware into the lead for most users.

The black handset sits on a grey textured and patterned rug.

Belkin Auto-Tracking Stand Pro with DockKit is next level hands free video utility

Belkin just dropped the most versatile auto tracking system for iPhones ever to hit the market. Simple, instant, and works the way you want it to.

Belkin Auto-Tracking Stand Pro with DockKit is next level hands free video utility

Elder Scrolls Online is celebrating 10 years in 2024, and in May you can snag an absolutely stunning house for free as part of their daily login rewards. It'll take just three days of logins to get it and it includes everything you see in this picture and more – there's a whole underground cavern hidden away here too. Even if you don't play often, scoring Sword Swinger's Redoubt will make you feel like royalty whenever you visit again.


The big 2024 iPad line up refresh is here

Apple drops the M4 processor into iPad Pro before anything else, plus an all-new Apple Pencil, new iPad Air, and a price drop on the base iPad. A big day for the tablet.

Promo image of the new iPad Pro on a white background

Is the 'a' for AI now? Google has revealed the Pixel 8a today and the big push is on the role of AI in our devices. Given the a series for Pixel typically offers a lot of the benefits of the fancier models at a better price, this year there's a firm focus on how big a role Google's Gemini AI will play in your photos, videos, and generally getting things done.

Nice wins include getting the same G3 chip here that you get in the Pixel 8 Pro, and a promise of seven years of feature and security updates. That's 2030! Starts from $849 and pre-orders are now open for May 14 release.

Stylish person holds a black Pixel 8a phone

If you're unsure whether this footage from POOLS is relaxing or horrifying, join the club. Liminal spaces are a game genre now.


Last year Xbox had some fun with controller shaped BBQ Shapes largely for media promo purposes, but enough people wanted it that they're hitting stores. The word is they'll be appearing at Coles stores so check the savoury snacks aisle to get your hands on a pack. "From early May until sold out." Good luck.


You're probably starting to see Qi2 getting a mention out there in wireless charger land. Just remember Apple has shared its MagSafe tech with the Qi standard so that everyone can start to get the integrated magnetic locking system on their devices. It's a win for car mounts and desk chargers of all stripes.


Smart lighting is getting smarter, thankfully, but the new Nanoleaf outdoor string lights show it's also getting prettier. This will launch in both 15M and 30M lengths in June, and they are 'addressable' which means you can build colour settings across all the bulbs in the string. RRP is $199/$329.

Outdoor seating area with multi coloured string lights hanging above.
Pretty deck lights are pretty.

Rode offers new tools for mobile AV creators

Rode launched one new field microphone and two new mobile accessories to give plenty for on the go creators to work with.

Women holds iPhone with Magnetic Mount and a microphone attached
Art & Culture

A New Journey awaits: Dark Spectrum was an absolute breakout hit of last year's Vivid Sydney Festival. Using a series of underground tunnels around Wynyard station it created an amazing light and sound show that blew our family away.

So it's wonderful to hear a whole new design is coming in 2024. I'd have visited the very same event if it didn't change this year, but something new? Can't wait. It will run from 24 May to 15 June. Hit the Dark Spectrum: A New Journey website for tickets.

A rendering of a new Dark Spectrum room called 'Radiate' with yellow lanterns hanging everywhere

Eat the grass: I missed this when it launched last year, but wanted to pay respect to the great name for a robot mower – the Goat. The Ecovacs Goat G1 does away with the need for wire boundaries and instead uses beacons to track lawn edges and promises a traditional neat lawn cutting motion instead of randomly driving around all day and hoping it eventually cuts everything. Plus nice bonuses like remote camera access. RRP is $2,999 with specials dropping it closer to $2,500 now and then.

The robot lawn mower on a lush lawn near the edge of a cement path

Paleblue lets you keep traditional batteries charged on the go

Just when you thought traditional batteries were dead, here comes Paleblue with a full range of classic cells that recharge over USB.

Four AA batteries being charged on USB via a laptop USB port.

ROG Phone 8: It often feels like phones have become a two horse race, maybe three. So I love it when things like the Asus ROG brand keeps delivering phones for a precise market. The gamer focused handset has a beefy 2500-nit brightness and a superfast 720Hz touch sampling rate.

Three ROG Phone 8 Series devices standing tall

It's not messing around on specs and not messing around on price either. Starting from $1,799 all the way up to $2,499. Check it out at JB Hi-Fi or the Asus store.


MacBook Air gets M3 boost: Apple has dropped the M3 update for MacBook Air today across both 13-inch and 15-inch models. Along with some speed bumps, the big win for power users is that the M3 models offer support for two external monitors when the lid is closed, which is sometimes the one reason some folks feel like they 'must' go for a Pro. M3 models also get a Wi-Fi 6E upgrade. M3 models start from $1,799.

M2 MacBook Air options remain available in the range and now start from $1,599.


VR in space: Here's a great use of VR – in space! The HTC Vive Focus 3 is being used to help astronauts with both physical and mental health efforts. With the highly confined quarters on the ISS, astronauts are now using VR to experience more expansive environments back on Earth as well as to go cycling in Danish landscapes. Cool initiative – read more about it here.

Using the HTC Vive Focus 3 on the ISS.

Fly Arrakis Airways: There are a lot of games getting totally carried away with IP tie-ins. There's plenty I like, there's plenty more that are real head scratchers on why they exist. One of the best I've ever seen has to be this new update for Microsoft Flight Simulator, giving players the option to fly Royal Atreides Ornithopters across the surface of Arrakis. The precision engineering of Flight Simulator applied to a gorgeously rendered fictional world feels like a win for fans of both.

Promo image of an Ornithopter above the surface of Arrakis with the Dune and Flight Simulator logos.
Electric Vehicles

Always Be Charging: The Australian government has given a $3 million grant to researchers at Swinburne University of Technology to prototype "embedding advanced wireless charging infrastructure on regional roads". The theory is to be able to electrify heavy vehicles and have dynamic wireless charging as they move. Swinburne suggests such electrification could save $324 billion by 2050 alongside all the environmental benefits.


Millie Bobby Brown is stupidly talented and this looks like a very fun fantasy romp with a girl power twist.

Lands on Netflix March 8.


Geometry Survivor is out now: A "rogue-lite auto-shooter" that looks super fun. Seemingly a blend of the Xbox classic Geometry Wars and Vampire Survivors, take a look at the trailer and you'll know if it's for you or not. It's on Xbox, Playstation, Switch and Steam now.