PCWorld January 2021

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!

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2 Min
intel welcomes amd and arm competition, because the pc clearly isn’t dead

If you think Intel is worried about AMD and Apple, the company isn’t flinching. In early December, Intel’s Gregory Bryant said the chip giant welcomed the competition because that basically means there’s money to be made and that the PC business is thriving. “We’ve always said, only the paranoid survive,” said Bryant, who runs Intel’s client computing group, largely responsible for laptops, desktops and workstations. “I think that’s alive and well inside of this company. And I take all competition, whether that’s from Apple or the other ARM guys, Qualcomm, MediaTek or AMD—I take that all very seriously.” “Anytime you’re a growth business and a healthy business, there’s going to be competition,” Bryant said in a talk with investment bank UBS as well as with Yahoo! Finance. “We absolutely intend to compete and…

5 Min
intel’s nuc m15 laptop is a stylishly generic notebook for the rest of us

We’ve come a long way from Intel’s original Next Unit of Computing modular computer that brought tiny computing to the mainstream. We’ve come so far, in fact, we’re not sure what’s actually “NUC”-y about Intel’s new NUC M15 laptop, which is intended as a “Whitebook” design that other notebook makers can utilize for their own products. Intel unveiled its in-house-designed laptop in November with a list of specs that is simultaneously welcome and somewhat confusing. The NUC M15 comes with either an 11th-gen Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1165G7 processor, paired with either 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. For ports, you get two USB-A and two Thunderbolt 4, plus a full-size HDMI port, lock port, and headset jack. We welcome the inclusion of two old school USB-A ports, but their presence should…

4 Min
tested: do high refresh rate monitors make games faster?

PC gamers know that high refresh rate monitors make games look smoother. But do higher refresh rate displays make games feel smoother, too? After getting our grubby paws on gear that measures system latency, we can definitely say that yes, fast monitors provide more responsive gameplay experiences for esports enthusiasts—though its effectiveness depends on the visual settings you’re using to play those games, and the tangible benefits taper off the faster you go. We recently received a 1080p Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR display in our labs. This silky-smooth 360Hz G-Sync monitor runs a whopping six times faster than a typical 60Hz screen. Better yet, it comes with Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer tool. Built into select 360Hz G-Sync Esports monitors, Nvidia Reflex Analyzer can measure how long it takes for your mouse…

8 Min
best wireless mice: cut the cord with these top performers

If you still think of wireless mice as laggy, battery-sucking substitutes for a real mouse, we’ve got good news for you. Mouse manufacturers have largely solved the latency, connectivity, and power-efficiency problems that once blighted these devices. The best of today’s wireless mice rival their wired counterparts in performance, battery life, features, and design. There are two rather obvious benefits of a wireless mouse. It eliminates the tether to your computer, giving you greater range—essential if you are constrained by your work area or playing PC games on your TV—and removes a source of friction that often interferes with speed and accuracy. It also makes an essential device more travel friendly—no one objects to one less cord in their gear bag. You’ll probably pay a bit more for a wireless mouse…

5 Min
how much scalpers are making selling hard-to-get pc hardware and consoles

Maybe you can’t buy the hottest new PC hardware yourself, but scalpers are ready to sell it to you for a tidy profit. These numbers come to us courtesy of Dev blogger Michael Driscoll. Driscoll, an Oracle Data Engineer at USG Corp. by day, applies his data skill sets in his off-hours to the scalping market for PC hardware and consoles. By Driscoll’s analysis, scalpers have sold at least $82 million in Ryzen 5000 CPUs, RTX 30-series cards, RX 6000 GPUs, and Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles. Most of it is still selling at stupid levels above the list price, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, some 322 Ryzen 9 5950X CPUs have sold at a median price of $1,275. Those impossible-to-get GeForce RTX 3080 cards…

5 Min
zenfox t3 3ch dash cam: three cameras give you more to like

The $250 Zenfox T3 three-channel dash cam covers action to the front, rear, and inside of your car. It’s large for a dash cam, which makes it super-easy to handle, set up, and use. In fact, it’s one of my favorites in that regard. However, the size and the placement of the interior camera mounted far up the body unit forces some interesting decisions on where to place the unit. It’s not a deal-killer, but it warrants consideration. DESIGN AND SPECS The T3 CH is a pricey $249.90 on Amazon, but remember it covers a fair chunk of the area surrounding and inside of your vehicle with its three cameras: a 2560x1440 (Sony STARVIS IMX335) front unit, a 1920x1080 (STARVIS IMX307) interior, and 1920x1080 rear (Sony EXMOR IMX291). If you don’t need the…