Tech Advisor May 2021

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

2 min
surface laptop 4’s big change will be its tiger lake, ryzen processors

Microsoft’s next-gen Surface Laptop 4 will follow Microsoft’s recent trend of upgrading internal components more often than external features. The new laptops will include up-to-date Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors and not much else, a new report says. Windows Central says that the Surface Laptop 4 will include Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors and AMD’s Ryzen processors – though whether they’ll be a ‘Surface Edition’ chip based on the Ryzen 5000 Mobile chips that began appearing today, the site can’t say. Prices will remain the same: £909 for the 13.5in model and £1,199 for the 15in version. They’re expected to ship in April. While the site reveals a few new tweaks – Ryzen chips should appear in both the 13.5in and 15in models, for instance – those are essentially the only…

5 min
microsoft viva is teams’ attempt to replace your company’s intranet

Microsoft has announced Viva, a new ‘employee experience platform’ that integrates with Microsoft Teams. If your company uses Teams, chances are that you’ll see Viva, along with some of its more familiar features like Topics and Insights, soon. The tech giant already uses Teams as a launchpad for apps like Word and PowerPoint, plus shared resources on OneDrive and SharePoint. Inside Viva are features that Microsoft is calling Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning, and Viva Topics. Topics is available today; Insights is available in preview, and Insights in private preview. Microsoft designed Connections for employee interactions, and Topics to allow employees to seek out answers from their colleagues. If they can’t help, Learning is designed to provide company-designed and external online courses and videos to help out. Finally, there’s Insights –…

2 min
intel regains market share from amd in notebook, desktop pcs

Although AMD executives have touted their market-share gains in the PC processor market during 2020 as a whole, Intel actually clawed back a bit of share during the fourth quarter, an independent analyst confirmed recently. That’s probably just fine for AMD, which is prioritizing the high-end market. For the fourth quarter of 2020, Intel recorded a market-share gain of 0.8 percentage points in desktop CPUs, as well as 1.2 percentage points in the mobile market, Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research, confirmed. (Both numbers excluded the Internet of Things market and tablets.) AMD gained share in the higher-margin server space, McCarron said via email. That’s a slight reversal from November, when AMD hit an all-time high in notebook PCMarket share, at just over 20 per cent. That Intel gained share isn’t…

9 min
intel benchmarks say apple’s m1 isn’t faster. let’s check the claims

After months of silence about Apple’s impressive M1 chip, Intel just clapped back with a carefully crafted takedown of the Arm-based chip. It isn’t pretty. (You can read our review of the 13in MacBook Pro (M1) on page 26.) Intel said its testing shows: • An 11th gen Core i7-1185G7 can match or greatly exceed the M1’s performance in a MacBook Pro in both native and non-native applications. • The M1 just won’t run a lot of software. • In battery life, it’s pretty much a wash. • The MacBook Pro wouldn’t pass muster to be certified as an Evo laptop. • The new MacBooks have a range of compatibility issues, from multiple monitor to game controllers, as well as many documented software plug-in problems. In the parlance of our time, it’s ‘shots fired’ yet again,…

8 min
gigabyte aero 15 oled (2021)

Price: £2,699 (inc VAT) from Gigabyte’s new Aero 15 OLED laptop is the first we’ve seen to feature one of Nvidia’s brand new, high-performance RTX 30 series GPUs – but instead of targeting this graphics power at gamers, here Gigabyte is focused on creatives. If it’s of interest, there is a non-OLED Aero 15 model available with a lower spec. DESIGN The Aero 15 is thin and light – similar in size and weight to Apple’s 16in MacBook Pro. Its aesthetic draws more from gaming than the sleek elegance of Apple’s device – but gaming laptop chassis manufacturers’ tendency to try to make their machines look like sci-fi spaceships or armour plates has been tempered here to create something that looks more architectural. It’s not overloaded with fussy details, just smooth lines…

14 min
13in macbook pro (m1)

Price: £1,299 from For years, it’s been iPhone this, iPhone that. And for good reason. But now, the Mac – the platform that pushed Apple to the forefront of computing – is back in the spotlight. And for good reason. While the Intel years were good for the Mac, Apple needed something to take its computer to the next level. That something now comes in the form of Apple’s own system on a chip (SoC), called the M1. Along with macOS Big Sur (the OS built for the M1), the Mac makes breakthroughs in performance and battery efficiency that were never possible with Intel silicon. This review takes a look at the £1,299 13in MacBook Pro, which has an Apple 8-core M1. This SoC includes 8GB of RAM and an 8-core graphics…