Tech Advisor December 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

10 min
msi ge65 raider

Price: £2,098 from MSI’s GE65 Raider is proof of how far gaming laptop performance has come. Just two years ago, a top-end gaming laptop would run on a quad-core 7th-gen CPU. The GE65 Raider doubles the core count with its 9th-gen Core i7-9880H chip. Real-time ray tracing support? It has that, too, with its full-power GeForce RTX 2070. All this, mind you, weighs 2.27kg. This much power at this weight comes with a compromise, though, which we’ll get to later. Size and weight The laptop measures in at 357.7x248x26.9mm. It weighs 2.27kg. Throw in its massive 280-watt charger, and you add another 1kg to your backpack. We should point out we actually found the size of the GE65 to be very appealing. It’s not anywhere near as slender as its GS65 Stealth…

12 min
samsung galaxy note10+

Price: £999 from The Galaxy Note10+ will be too expensive for some people. It’ll be too big for others. Some will baulk at its lack of a headphone jack and a few might really want a dual selfie cam. For those people, there’s the Galaxy S10+, which is an excellent alternative that checks off all of the above boxes without sacrificing too much of what the Note10+ brings. But if the four drawbacks I list above aren’t an issue, the Galaxy Note10+ should quickly become your favourite phone of all time. No matter what handset you’re upgrading from, the Note10+ will be an improvement, likely a significant one. It’s not just the speed (though it’s basically the fastest phone ever made) or the display (which is pretty much flawless). From the…

7 min
android 10

Price: Free Just like every year, Android 10 is a good update. Granular privacy and permission settings are a quiet winner and the playful design, improved gestures and better-late-than-never dark mode shake things up. While it’s great to see every Pixel phone supported, therein lies the issue – when will any other existing phones get Android 10? Some released soon may have it, but Android remains fragmented enough that many of the great ideas here will get lost in other manufacturers’ interpretations and people with older phones will simply never see the benefit of the OS’s evolution until they upgrade. Android 10 is the seventeenth version of Android, but we’re not here to nitpick the name. Google’s latest mobile operating system is available now for every Pixel phone including 2016’s first generation. The…

35 min
best budget laptops

Although we review many mid-range and high-end laptops, there are plenty of cheaper options. Here we review and rank them with the same care and attention, so you can find the best budget laptop for your needs under £500. If your needs are basic, then any of the laptops below will be perfectly good. They’ll all handle web browsing, office work, casual games and a bit of photo editing. Chances are you’re looking for a budget laptop for a specific task, whether that’s video editing, music production or even playing Minecraft and other games. There’s also a chance you’re looking for the best budget laptop with an SSD or with good battery life. Typically, it’s hard to get something which is capable of demanding tasks such as these examples (particularly games) within a…

4 min
windows 10: looking to the next two releases

The next two Windows 10 updates, codenamed ‘19H2’ and ‘20H1’, reflect Microsoft’s recent decision to split the major Windows 10 feature releases into two: a full-fledged update, with new features, and a secondary patch update. We’ve already had the major ‘19H1’ update, known officially as the May 2019 Update, so we’re now looking forward to the minor 19H2 patch and then the major 20H1 feature release. Here’s what we know so far about both of them. At the time of writing, the upcoming 19H2 feature will focus on ‘quality enhancements’, while the ‘20H1’ feature will return to more substantive improvements. If the latter hews to Microsoft’s usual schedule, it’ll drop in March or April of 2020. Interim beta builds will provide further hints about what’s coming, and we’ll continue to cover…

2 min
microsoft windows 10 insider build 18985

Microsoft has revealed that, as part of a future version of Windows, it will beef up the Swift Pair Bluetooth pairing experience launched last year, making an even simpler version the default experience for more Microsoft peripherals. We called Swift Pair one of the hidden features of the April 2018 Update, and it was. Though the notification-driven pairing feature was thought to be the future of Bluetooth peripherals, it was set up originally for a single product: the Microsoft Surface Mouse. Now, Microsoft’s added more devices within Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18985, part of the ‘20H1’ updates due next spring. Microsoft’s making two key changes to its Swift Pair simplified Bluetooth pairing. First, it’s adding support for more Microsoft peripherals: • Surface Ergonomic Keyboard • Surface Precision Mouse • Microsoft Modern Mobile Mouse • Surface…