Tech Advisor January 2020

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

18 min
review: microsoft 15in surface laptop 3

Price: £1,699 from Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 feels fresh again, after two successive generations of relatively stagnant designs. Those eager for a larger computing experience now have a new 15in option, which also boasts something novel: a custom-designed mobile AMD Ryzen processor. In all, it’s an intriguing mix of style and speed. The new Surface Laptop 3 has a modern USB-C port in addition to the tried-and-trusted Surface Connector, expanding your charging and I/O options. Microsoft’s stunning PixelSense display remains, and while the touchpad has grown larger and more functional, you may find the keyboard a tad less enjoyable. But wait, there’s a choice to be made. Microsoft also has a Surface Laptop 3 for Business. This 15in option essentially replicates the consumer version we reviewed, but includes a 10th-gen Intel Core…

3 min
hands-on: microsoft surface pro 7

Price: £799 from Most of the improvements in Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 are tied to an Intel ‘Ice Lake’ microprocessor upgrade, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Admittedly, we’ve dinged prior Surface tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 because they have largely remained static over the past few generations. We can’t quite say the same for the Surface Pro 7, for two reasons: One is that chip, and the other is the addition of a more modern USB-C port. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 starts at £799, and is available in either black or platinum. (The existing Type Covers have several different colour options, including black and the red colour shown here.) That price can quickly climb to £2,249, though, with higher-end. A corporate version running Windows 10 Pro is available…

5 min
hands-on: microsoft surface pro x

Price: £999 from Microsoft’s Surface Pro X adds a formerly missing piece to the Surface line-up: an always-on, always-connected device that enables productivity wherever you go. What it changes on the inside – especially the custom Snapdragon 8cx-based processor that Microsoft co-designed with Qualcomm – is reflected by dramatic changes on the outside: a pair of USB-C ports, a rechargeable pen tray...and the unfortunate removal of the headphone jack, USB-A, and the microSD slot. There’s also a SIM slot for connectivity, though it’s well hidden. The 14in Surface Pro X tablet is priced from £999 to £1,819 and is available now. That base price is a few hundred more than the cheapest £799 configuration of the Intel-based Surface Pro 7. As shown below, users will get to select from various memory and…

2 min
first look: microsoft surface neo

With Microsoft’s Surface Neo, the company looks ahead to a future that’s foldable. At its Surface event, Microsoft unveiled a prototype Surface Neo that will feature a next-gen Lakefield CPU, the thinnest LCD ever made, and a new vision for mobile productivity. It won’t ship until late next year, but what Microsoft showed gives all the other companies trying folding devices a lot to think about. The Surface Neo features two opposing screens that fold on a geared 360-degree hinge. That hinge allows the Neo to be used as a large tablet, as a book-shaped reader, or as a small tablet when the screens are folded back-to-back. Microsoft knows productivity matters whatever the mode, so it’s cleverly designed a magnetic wireless keyboard that attaches to the back of the screen or sits…

4 min
why the neo’s keyboard was the best thing at surface showcase

My Microsoft a-ha! moment came not with the surprise Surface Duo Android phone, nor with the two-screened Surface Neo, but when Microsoft unfolded the wraparound keyboard accessory that shipped with its dual-screen Neo prototype. Why? Because tapping on glass loses its appeal beyond banging out a quick text message. Actual work requires a keyboard with travel, in much the same way that we wear comfortable, cushioned shoes for walking or running. The Neo’s keyboard is emblematic of what Microsoft is trying to achieve: flexibility. We’ve previously told you what microprocessor diversity means for Microsoft, as well as its chip partners Qualcomm, AMD, and Intel. What we thought then was that Qualcomm would enable all-day battery life (which emerged as the Surface Pro X), AMD would pump up the Surface’s graphics firepower (the…

3 min
first look: microsoft surface duo

Microsoft’s Surface Duo shocked the tech world this morning. Everything else the company revealed at its event in New York was foretold in leaks over the days before, but not this dual-screen smartphone, the company’s first foray into mobile since the long, agonizing death of Windows Phone. This time, however, Microsoft is partnering with Google to run the phone on a special version of Android, guaranteeing no app gap. The Android world already has Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, and the Surface Duo works similarly, opening like a book. Microsoft’s version reveals not a bendable OLED display, however, but rather two 5.6in displays mounted side by side. Like its newborn cousin the Surface Neo, there’s a very visible hinge in the middle of the Surface Duo. Considering the torrent of troubles Samsung’s had…