Tech Advisor March 2019

Every issue of Tech Advisor is packed with the latest news, reviews and features plus comprehensive and impartial buying advice as well as easy-to-understand tutorials and workshops to help you to get the most from your PC. Whether you want to buy the best value equipment or make the most out of equipment you already own, Tech Advisor delivers expert advice you can trust.

United Kingdom
IDG Communications - UK
12 Issues

in this issue

6 min
qualcomm announces snapdragon 8cx for pcs

Qualcomm’s efforts to put its Snapdragon chips into PCs have historically run into one major obstacle: the performance simply isn’t competitive with that of chips from Intel and AMD. Now Qualcomm is trying again, with what it’s calling an ‘extreme’ version of the Snapdragon: the 8cx. The firm is promising that the 8cx will offer the equivalent performance of the competition’s 15-watt processor offerings – though it’s not saying which one. (Intel’s U-series Core chips consume 15 watts.) At the same time, Qualcomm is promising more of its traditional strength: an incredible 25 hours of battery life, plus support for niceties such as LPDDR4X memory, NVMe SSDs, USB 3.1, and four PCI Express lanes. There’s Qualcomm QuickCharge, too. Executives said that the company has already designed the Snapdragon 835 and 845 for…

3 min
qualcomm’s snapdragon 8cx reference laptop

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is the chip the company hopes will scale the performance mountain, reaching the heights that competing Intel Core chips have already surmounted. After trying it at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, we can say it seems promising. As we’ve seen, the Snapdragon 8cx was designed as a ground-up, optimized design specifically for laptops. Its mission is to achieve performance comparable to that of an Intel U-series Core i5 chip. Qualcomm supplied a limited number of Snapdragon 8cx reference notebooks at the event, all running Windows 10 Pro. We tried to navigate to one of the web-based benchmarks we’ve used to test previous Snapdragon PCs, but we were told that benchmarking wasn’t allowed. In part, that’s because the clock speeds of the chip haven’t been formally determined. We were…

7 min
asus zenbook 14

Price: £999 from The latest version of the Asus ZenBook only came out in the UK last summer, but the company hasn’t wasted any time getting an updated version out, having used IFA 2018 to unveil a huge redesign to the whole ZenBook line. Along with a total design revamp for all three models – 13-, 14-, and 15in – the two smaller versions also include one very novel new feature: a numberpad built into the touchpad. We got the ZenBook 14 into the office to test out, and here’s what we think of the slimmer, lighter, and light-up laptop. Design The ZenBook line has had a massive design overhaul over less than 12 months, and the ZenBook 14 now features smaller bezels, a new hinge, and a more compact build than any…

9 min
chillblast fusion juggernaut 2080

Price: £2,049 from The Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut 2080 has a name that suggests computing dominance – but, pleasingly, a price that sees this machine fall comfortably into the gaming market. Instead of breaking the bank, this system has a specification that may break benchmarks. Its new Core i5 processor has a hefty overclock, and it’s packing an overclocked version of one of Nvidia’s latest graphics cards. Price This machine will set you back £2,049 from Chillblast. That’s around £500 more than the recent Overclockers UK Radiance RZ, and it’s also a little pricier than the Yoyotech BlackBox SP, which weighed in at £1,649. As usual with Chillblast, it’s possible to customize this machine if you need to update its components. Beefier Core i5 and Core i7 chips are available. The graphics can be upgraded…

17 min
xiaomi mi 8 pro

Price: £499 from Readers of Tech Advisor will be familiar with Xiaomi, but until now its handsets have only been available as imports from sites such as Gearbest or Geekbuying. Now the firm is entering the UK market. With its Mi 8 Pro among the first devices to launch in the UK, market leaders Samsung and Apple have every reason to be worried. Costing significantly less than its UK rivals at £499, it is every bit as fast and stylish, with decent cameras and one feature missing in the Galaxy S9: the in-display fingerprint sensor. So it doesn’t have a waterproof casing, nor wireless charging support. And its display is only Full-HD+. But it’s difficult to hold any of these things against the Mi 8 Pro when you consider its incredible value. And,…

17 min
best gaming laptops

Picking a gaming laptop is a lot more fun today than it was five years ago, when a ‘real’ gaming laptop meant 5kg of back-breaking hardware to haul around. With major advances in laptop CPUs and graphics technologies, you can now get great gaming performance in sizes from slender to huge, and prices from budget to sky-high. That’s where this handy-dandy buyer’s guide come in. We’ll name the best gaming laptops currently available, and we’ll highlight what to look for when buying a gaming laptop. The ‘best’ screen for a laptop When you buy a gaming laptop, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make regards the screen. After all, what you get on day one is what you’re stuck with until you junk the device. You can, of course, run…