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Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 phone tries to fix the original's problems
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 10:41:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s original Surface Duo folding phone designed in some serious flaws. The Surface Duo 2, to its credit, appears to have at least addressed them.When Microsoft launched the Surface Duo folding phone a year ago, Microsoft executives preceded it with a gauzy veil of hype that concealed the many flaws reviewers noted: a poor camera, a lack of NFC and 5G, a subsequently poor track record of patches and updates, and an interface whose bugs made the dual-screen interface painful to use.Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 arrives today, available for preorder for $1,499.99 on up, with shipments starting Octobr 21. That’s about the same price as Microsoft’s earlier Surface Duo. Can the new phone fix the flaws of the first? On paper, it takes a good first step.To read this article in full, please click here
Meet Surface Laptop Studio, the RTX-powered PC that makes Windows 11 shine
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s latest premium notebook, the Surface Laptop Studio, borrows the best from Microsoft’s other products: the flexibility of the Surface Studio, the convenience of the Surface Laptop, and the power of the Surface Book. It might not be the Surface Book 4 we were expecting, but with a new pull-forward display, Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, Thunderbolt, Windows Hello 2.0, and a high-refresh-rate screen, it’s both an interesting fusion of other Surfaces as well as a physical avatar for many of the new capabilities within Windows 11.The Surface Laptop Studio won’t come cheaply, though. Microsoft has priced the notebook at $1,599.99 and above, with prices climbing to $3,099.99 for the most premium model. The Surface Studio Laptop is available for preorder beginning today, and will ship on Oct. 5.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft's redesigned Surface Pro 8 sets the new bar for Windows tablets
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft announced three new Surface tablets on Wednesday, including a larger, more powerful Surface Pro 8, a new Surface Go 3 that boasts options for a faster Intel Core i3 processor, and an updated Surface Pro X. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 boasts Thunderbolt ports for the first time, integrated LTE, Slim Pen integrated storage and charging, as well as a new display that can run at up to 120Hz.The new updates to Microsoft’s tablet lineup are on par with what we expected from this Surface launch, with Windows 11 looming on October 5, though Microsoft’s quick pace of recent tablet introductions means that there’s not as much of a performance gap as with prior generations.To read this article in full, please click here
Whoa, NZXT finally put a front mesh panel on the H510
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 08:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Glance at the NZXT H510 Flow, and it looks about as you’d expect given current sensibilities. Optimal airflow dominates the scene at the moment. Most new cases now feature mesh front panels, and the H510 Flow is no different.Yet the Flow represents a shift on NZXT’s part, as you’ll see in the video above. The standard H510 has long sported a solid front panel, as did the H500 and S340 before it. And despite its critics, the case has enjoyed wild popularity. PC builders love this compact ATX mid-tower’s smaller footprint, thoughtful and straightforward design, and minimalist vibe.But general trends have had their influence, with a result that should quiet most naysayers. NZXT put a steel mesh front panel on the body of the H510, complete with removable dust filter, and made minor additional tweaks. Namely, the two included 120mm fans come mounted at the front and rear, instead of the top and rear. (The standard H510’s smaller air intakes on the right side panel and the bottom front of the case are gone, too.) You’ll find no other changes to the chassis aside from airflow improvements; PC builders still get the same H510 otherwise. The removable hard drive cage, front fan/radiator bracket, and signature cable bar remain so for ease when building.To read this article in full, please click here
Nexar Pro review: Solid video, cloud storage make this dash cam a good deal
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
In a field dominated by square or rectangular design, the egg-shaped $160 Nexar Pro dash cam (with its equally egg-shaped discrete interior camera) stands out—in a good way. The Nexar Pro is also one of the cheaper options in a dash cam offering cloud storage, bested only in affordability by the previously reviewed Nexar Beam. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for more reviews and buying advice. To read this article in full, please click here
RockPals 300W Portable Power Station review: Second verse isn't the same as the first
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Previously, I reviewed the RockPals 300W portable power station and rated it 4.5 stars. It had reliable performance, plenty of ports, and a large display that kept you up to speed on everything the power station was doing.Now I’m taking a look at a device that has the same exact name, but a completely different design. The updated power station lost the dual flashlights, has been shrunk down quite a bit, and the screen no longer details every aspect of the station’s performance.Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods. Features There are a total of nine ports, all on the front panel of the 300W power station. There are two DC-out barrel ports capable of 12V/60W. There’s a DC input, which you use with the included power adapter to charge the unit itself. And next to the DC ports is a 12V car charger.To read this article in full, please click here
Amazon's upgraded Kindle Paperwhite lineup makes the best e-reader even better
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 06:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Official news came much sooner than expected. On Tuesday, just a day after leaks surfaced on the company’s Canadian and Mexican sites about models with a bigger screen and dramatically more LEDs, Amazon confirmed the launch of three new Kindle Paperwhites. In addition to a successor for the existing Paperwhite—which was already the best Kindle you can buy—two fresh variants have gone up for pre-order: the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition and the Kindle Paperwhite Kids.A larger screen is the biggest and most notable upgrade on Amazon’s latest e-readers. While these keep the same flush-front design and 300ppi resolution as the current fourth-generation Paperwhite, the display has grown from 6-inches to a roomier 6.8-inches and sports a narrower bezel. It also comes with a new ability to shift the color temperature of the screen’s backlight from white to a warmer amber tone, with the swankier Signature Edition featuring an auto-adjusting light sensor.To read this article in full, please click here
HP welcomes Windows 11 with a new Spectre, an Arm laptop, and a tablet with a swiveling camera
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 05:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
HP will release three new Windows 11 devices to kick off the launch of Microsoft's next-gen operating system, including a fresh Spectre with a juicy OLED display and a webcam designed to blow your socks off, the first laptop with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chip, and an 11-inch tablet with a nifty swiveling camera that lets you show off your homework.The HP 11 inch Tablet—yes, that's it's name—is among several new laptops, all-in-ones, and monitors that HP dropped on the world today, but it's really the 11 inch Tablet that catches your eye thanks to that unique camera.To read this article in full, please click here
How to buy the perfect PC case
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters.At a minimum, you want to pick a PC case that’s the right size for your needs and has room for all your hardware and USB devices. But some PC cases offer much, much more. Spacious innards, lower temperatures, muffled sound, extensive water-cooling support, and fancy-schmancy tempered glass panels or RGB lighting are just the tip of the iceberg.Here’s a guide to buying a PC case that’s perfect for you. This is just the first step in your DIY journey; be sure to check out PCWorld’s guide to building a PC, too, as well as our guide on setting up your PC's fans for maximum system cooling.To read this article in full, please click here
The best air purifiers: Keep your home safe, comfortable, and odor-free
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
The world of air purifiers can be confusing, but the bottom line is that the best units can improve your quality of life.
These 7 core apps will change in Windows 11
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:38:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Windows 11 won’t just change the Windows operating system, it will change the way some Windows apps look and feel, too. Though Windows 11 will launch this fall, Microsoft has already been highlighting several Windows apps that are being updated for Windows 11.So far, Microsoft has shown off several Windows apps that it’s reworking for Windows 11, including what you might consider to be core Windows apps: Mail and Calendar, Paint, and even the lowly Clock app. Below, we’ll show you what to expect of these new apps within Windows 11. (Remember, Windows 11 is officially in beta. Things may change between now and the final release.)To read this article in full, please click here
What to expect from Microsoft's Surface event
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:19:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
With mere weeks left before Windows 11’s launch, Microsoft is deploying its vanguard. The company is expected to launch an arsenal of new Surface devices during its September 22 event, including a significantly redesigned Surface Book 4, the Surface Pro 8, and even a next-generation Surface Duo phone.Initial reports say we should expect to see: A new Surface tablet, the Surface Pro 8 An updated Surface Pro X, possibly referred to as just the Surface Pro X (2021) A slightly updated Surface Go 3 A drastically updated Surface Book 4 The new Surface Duo 2 There have been rumors of a new Surface Dock, as well. The Verge has reported early information about the new Surface hardware, and Windows Central published Surface details as well. Both sites have a great track record for Microsoft reporting. We’d expect all of these new devices to be powered by Windows 11, either at launch or immediately after. The timing of this event can’t be coincidental. Let’s dig in! To read this article in full, please click here
How to check your graphics card's GPU temperature
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 08:32:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
How hot is your PC’s graphics card temperature? During normal operations, your GPU temperature shouldn’t matter much—your graphics card should simply drive monitors and play games without overheating and shutting down. But if you have an older PC, or if you want to try your hand at graphics card overclocking, being able to monitor your GPU temperature is vital.The good news? Checking your PC’s graphics card temperature is dead simple, especially now that Windows finally includes a native way to keep tabs on temps. All sorts of free GPU monitoring tools are also available, and many of them can help you check your PC’s CPU temperature, too.To read this article in full, please click here
Best media streaming devices
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 06:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire Stick vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV, and more. Which streaming device is best for-cord cutters? Our buying guide will help you pick the right accessories for your TV.
Hotspot Shield review: Still the undisputed speed champ in VPNs
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Hotspot Shield in brief: P2P allowed: Yes Business location: United States Number of servers: 1,800+* Number of country locations: 85 Cost: $95.88 per yearVPN protocol: Standard TLS1.2 / DTLS1.2 tunnel using OpenSSL 1.1 libraryData encryption: AES-GCM (128- and 256-bit) and ChaCha-poly1305 supportedData authentication: All supported cipher suites perform authenticated encryption using an AEAD model.Handshake: Standard TLS1.2/DTLS1.2To read this article in full, please click here
Best power banks: The top portable chargers for your phone
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 12:26:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a backup battery pack. But try searching for one on Amazon, say, and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by the vast number of options. Besides the various charging specs, ports, and even cables you have to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. How are you supposed to know which ones actually live up to their promise?  We’ve done the legwork for you, evaluating a wide range of power banks from different manufacturers, costing different prices, and some offering unique features. Our testing is extensive, too, subjecting the packs to real-world usage (read about our testing process in detail below). Our picks below reflect a range of needs. (You might also be interested in our our roundup of USB car chargers if you spend a lot of time in transit.)To read this article in full, please click here
RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House review: Perfect for a weekend camping trip
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 07:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
I’ve been quiet for the last few months, but I can explain. I was tasked with testing several power stations, ranging from affordable to almost too expensive. The goal? Find a range of portable power stations for all budgets and use cases.Admittedly, testing took far longer than I expected. But, alas, here I am, ready with the first review born out of months of testing, frustration, and more testing.First up is the RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House, a $179 powerhouse that looks more like a portable speaker than something you’d plug a 110v gadget into, or that could power a lamp for 37:26 minutes. But I’m getting ahead of myself.To read this article in full, please click here
Ultrawide vs. dual monitors: Which should you choose?
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Want to maximize your desktop’s real estate? You have two options: an ultrawide monitor, or a dual-monitor setup. Either choice will massively expand the screen space at your command. But ultrawide and dual-monitor setups are not the same. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Here’s how to decide whether an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors is right for you.How wide is it? Everyone looking to buy an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors wants more usable display space. But how much do you gain with each scenario?A 34-inch ultrawide monitor, the most common size, is not as large you might think. This size of ultrawide is nearly identical to a 27-inch widescreen monitor in height and about 8 inches wider.  To read this article in full, please click here
Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade SSD review: A worthy Samsung 980 Pro rival
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Adata’s XPG Gammix S70 Blade is the second fastest NVMe SSD we’ve tested, bettering Samsung’s excellent 980 Pro by a smidge—the drive it replaces in the number two spot. It’s also PlayStation 5 compatible and offers a large improvement in real world performance over its predecessor, the previously reviewed and fast-in-its-own-right XPG Gammix S70. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.To read this article in full, please click here
Brace yourselves: Windows 11 may have more popups
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 16:15:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Popups within Windows are one of the operating system’s more polarizing features. If you’re not a fan, you may want to brace yourself, because Microsoft is testing whether or not to add even more to Windows 11. It might not be bad news, though.As part of the review notes for the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22458, Microsoft says that it’s including an enhanced Tips app for Windows 11, with more hints about how to use the new upcoming operating system. But Microsoft also says that it’s going to be scattering more of these hints around the operating system itself.To read this article in full, please click here
Office 2021 will ship alongside Windows 11 on October 5
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 10:48:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft said Thursday that it plans to launch Office 2021, a standalone version of Office 365, on Oct. 5—the same day as Windows 11 releases. It will include some, but not all of the features of Microsoft’s perpetually-updating cloud productivity serviceMicrosoft will release Office 2021 for personal and small business users “later this year,” Microsoft said in a blog post in February. On Thursday, Microsoft added the ship date of October 5. Microsoft also did not offer any other pricing guidance beyond what it had said in February, which was that it did not plan to change the prices for this new release. If true, that would price the cheapest version of Office 2021 at $150, the price Microsoft charges for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2019.Remove non-product link (That version doesn’t include Microsoft Outlook, just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.) There will be Office 2021 versions for both the Mac and Windows, Microsoft said.To read this article in full, please click here
Why use virtual desktops? 5 practical reasons from real-world users
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 08:55:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
When Microsoft finally added virtual desktop support to Windows 10, my productivity instantly skyrocketed. Virtual desktops create secondary (and tertiary, and..) home screens for your PC, each running instances of its own software, that you can quickly hop between. They’re one of the best Windows 10 tools you may not even know about. But every time I profess my love for virtual desktops I inevitably get asked, “What do you use them for?”I can only speak to my own experiences, of course. I like segregating my work software from my play software, to resist the allure of Discord and GeForce Now when I’m on the clock. Virtual desktops also come in handy if I’m working on several complicated projects at once—each one gets its own desktop. But don’t just take my word for it! Buried deep in a LifeProTips Reddit thread revolving around using Win + Shift + <arrow keys> to shift windows between your monitors (keyboard shortcuts rock, y’all), I found an interesting chain of comments where real people were sharing how they use virtual desktops.To read this article in full, please click here
The chip shortage might ruin Christmas if you don't shop soon
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 07:28:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
For PC enthusiasts, the global chip shortages aren’t fresh news. Trying to get components for DIY builds or a even good pre-built PC at a decent price has been a wild ride since spring 2020, and laptops fly off store shelves as quickly as they arrive. But continuing to wait out all electronics purchases won’t pay off this holiday season—not with recent reports that even toys will be affected by the shortages when shoppers go on the hunt for gifts. Yes, children’s toys with electronic chips will be in short supply, according to Slickdeals.net. In its interview with the head of Sky Castle Toys, the crowdsourced-deals site explains the steeper difficulty faced by the toy industry in obtaining processors. Competition from other major industries like PC, automobile, smartphone, and home appliance makers means fewer available chips for toys that incorporate motion, light, or sound, or connect to a companion app.To read this article in full, please click here
The best Windows backup software
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 06:08:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
We need backup software for our PCs because our storage drives won’t last forever. Backup software ensures we’re covered when the day comes that our primary drive up and dies.It would be nice if Microsoft itself provided Windows users with something like Apple’s Time Machine: an effective, set-it-and-forget-it, total system recovery and backup solution that requires little interaction or thought on the user’s part. Instead, Microsoft delivers a mishmash of restore points, recovery discs, file backup, and even the un-retired System Backup (Windows 7), which was probably originally put out to pasture for its propensity to choke on dissimilar hardware. Online backup services are another option, but desktop clients tend to offer far more flexibility. To read this article in full, please click here
Are all USB-C to USB-A cables the same? We compare two $12 Amazon Basics cables
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
If you’re asking yourself if all USB-A to USB-C cables work the same, well, the short answer is no. Not at all.To illustrate our point, we reviewed two six-foot, gray-braided Amazon Basics USB-A to USB-C cables that look virtually identical and, surprisingly, cost virtually identical amounts. A USB 3.1 model cost $12.40 while a USB 2.0 model cost $11.90.Our prior evaluation of pure USB-C cables revolved around three features: Charging performance, data transfer performance, and monitor cable performance. But our testing of the USB-A to USB-C cables we’re comparing today showed they really only differentiate in one key area: data transfer speed.To read this article in full, please click here
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 vs. AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT: Which GPU should you buy?
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Let’s get ready to rumble! Today we’re pitting the first two “sweet spot” 1080p graphics cards from this generation in an epic head-to-head showdown: Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 versus the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT.Mainstream options like these have historically been priced competitively to garner the attention of as many gamers as possible. With recent MSRP and street pricing raging out of control, are they still attractive choices? Which is the best graphics card for you: The RTX 3060 or the Radeon RX 6600 XT? Let’s look at their pricing, performance, and more to answer those questions.To read this article in full, please click here
Leaked Alder Lake prices strike at Ryzen's CPU dominance
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:52:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake processors aren’t upon us yet, but another price leak indicates they might indeed compete with AMD’s best CPUs, unlike current top-end Core offerings.The latest oopsie comes from retail IT vendor Provantage, which puts the top-end Core i9-12900K at $605. The IT vendor also lists the Core i7-12700K at $420, as well as a Core i5-12600K for $283.After news reports of the part numbers and prices surfaced, Provantage removed the listings. The latest leak follows reports two weeks ago—supposedly from European retailers—that placed the Core i9-12900K at $705, the Core i7-12700K at $495, and the Core i5-12600 at $343.To read this article in full, please click here
Razer just made gamer thimbles
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:59:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Razer has never been afraid to take a shot on products that seem unusual at first glance. Witness its RGB-infused N95 mask, the now-defunct Razer Game Store with its own zVault currency, or the first-gen Firefly mousepad, which has evolved into something special but originally prompted us to review it against a ripped-up piece of cardboard. The company’s latest offering might just take the cake though. This week, Razer introduced gamer thimbles.To read this article in full, please click here
How to install (or replace) a case fan
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 08:05:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Many of the chips inside a typical PC generate a lot of heat and require some form of active cooling to remain stable. Powerful recent hardware like Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3000-series graphics cards and AMD's Ryzen 5000 processors demand even more heat dissipation. System builders usually rely on heatsinks and fans to manage the heat within a PC. If you’re upgrading or building a new PC—or your PC is overheating—you may need to install new or additional fans. To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft adds a passwordless option for Microsoft accounts
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 06:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft is now offering you the choice to get rid of passwords entirely from your Microsoft account, moving to a passwordless future where your phone and face will log you in instead. The shift begins today and will roll out through the coming weeks. Your Microsoft account, together with apps that require you to sign in (such as Outlook, OneDrive, and others), won’t require you to verify yourself using a password.So how will your account be secured? In place of a password, Microsoft will use its Microsoft Authenticator app for your phone, Windows Hello, and codes sent to your email or phone in place of a traditional password. We’ve seen Microsoft offer to sign into your account without a password since 2017, but today is the first day that Microsoft is also inviting you to ditch passwords entirely.To read this article in full, please click here
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