PCWorld August 2019

We review the Google Pixel 4a, plus what to expect if you’re switching from an iPhone SE. Find out if your Chromebook is expiring. Reviews of Note 20 Ultra, Norton 360 Deluxe, Mullvad vs. NordVPN, and much more!

United States
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12 Numéros

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3 min
are huawei laptops safe? intel, microsoft promise support, but the future remains uncertain

As the U.S. Government’s ban on Huawei grinds on, the biggest questions consumers likely have are whether that Matebook laptop on Amazon is safe to buy, or whether the Huawei machine they’ve already bought is safe. After all, if Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and other U.S. tech companies can no longer sell chips to the Chinese tech company, isn’t the company basically dead to you? The answer likely depends on whether you care about Huawei’s future as a PC maker, or if you only care about your particular future with a Huawei laptop. WHAT THE U.S. BAN ON HUAWEI MEANS The ban on Huawei, enacted in May, essentially forbids U.S. companies from doing business with the tech giant. Obviously, if Huawei is unable to buy CPUs from Intel or AMD, or graphics chips…

2 min
microsoft’s retro windows teasers emerge as a stranger things promo: the windows 1.11 app

Finally, we know what Microsoft’s teasing Twitter posts have all been about: the release of Windows 1.11, an app that mimics the look and feel of an early version of Windows in conjunction with the Netflix show, Stranger Things. Microsoft’s Windows 1.11 app opens a Windows 1.0-like shell where users can dig through file trees and open up clips and teaser stills from the show. The app warns of “glitches” that you’ll experience, which manifest almost immediately; clicking on a file opens a cascade of images that indicates something is very wrong. Microsoft touts the app as “1985 nostalgia with a special edition Windows 10 PC app inspired by Windows 1.0, but one that’s been taken over by the Upside Down from Stranger Things.” Microsoft makes no attempt to hide that it’s…

4 min
people lined up to buy amd’s new ryzen 3000 desktop cpus

That long line you see in the photo above isn’t for the latest Avengers movie or a new pair of Jordan sneakers going on sale. Instead, the lines outside your local computer store on July 7 were PC enthusiasts waiting to buy AMD’s hotly anticipated Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Yes—a desktop CPU. Micro Center officials confirmed to PCWorld the next day that several of its stores had PC DIYers lined up to buy AMD’s muchhyped CPU when they went on sale early in the morning. AMD, for its part, has described the launch of the new Ryzen 3000 series as “historic” and described demand as “significant.” For Joe and Jane DIY, the excitement meant queuing up for AMD’s 6 a.m. Eastern launch. Fortunately, as our Ryzen 9 3900X review demonstrates (see page 25),…

4 min
displayport 2.0 launches, promising 8k video support by late 2020

While U.S. broadcasters are still mired in 1080p, foreign markets are already looking at 8K video—and that’s exactly what the new generation of DisplayPort technology, DisplayPort 2.0, is designed to address. In late 2020, the first products incorporating the new DP 2.0 standard are expected to be made available, according to the Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA. DP 2.0 can use the existing DP connector that appears on many high-end desktop PCs, or be carried over cabling that uses the standard USB-C connector—though you’ll still need a PC with DP 2.0 silicon to support it. DP 2.0 offers three times as much bandwidth as DP 1.4a, the current standard. While DP 2.0 keeps the four available data lanes as its predecessor, the available link rate has been increased up to 20Gbps…

2 min
nokia’s new beacon 1 mesh wi-fi router learns which wireless channels are the least congested

Nokia is doubling down on home networking. Just last year, the former smartphone titan acquired mesh networking startup Unium and bowed its first wireless router, the Beacon 3. Now the company is back with a sleeker, cheaper mesh router that can work in tandem with its pricier sibling. On sale as of July 9, the $129 Beacon 1 (or $299 for a bundle of three) uses the same mesh-networking technology that powers the $199 Beacon 3, along with a new intelligent channel-hopping feature and a bridge mode that’s compatible with an existing router. Dubbed “Intelligent Channel Selection” by Nokia, the Beacon 1’s smart channel-switching feature lets the router pick the best channels for the 2.4- and 5GHz frequency bands by analyzing nearby wireless usage patterns over time, rather than simply picking the…

6 min
valve’s intriguing ‘steam labs’ experiments help you find new games in a sea of releases

Steam is enormous, and growing more so by the day. And that presents a problem: How the hell do you find anything that isn’t already on your radar? It’s less a needle in a haystack, more a needle in a hayfield—and that’s after Valve tried to solve the problem once already, with 2014’s Discovery Update. Five years later, it’s time to try again. This time, Valve’s approach is a bit more advanced—and a bit more scattershot. Under the umbrella of Steam Labs, Valve’s rolling out three new experiments that should hopefully streamline the discovery process and help you find the odd diamond among Steam’s 30,000 game library. GOGGLES ON “Behind the scenes at Steam, we create many experimental features with codenames like The Peabody Recommender and Organize Your Steam Library Using Morse Code.…