PCWorld April 2019

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!

United States
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
5 mwc android announcements you might have missed but really need to know

By now you’ve surely gotten your fill of the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold (if not, don’t worry we’ll have lots more to say about them), but there was plenty of important stuff announced during MWC that didn’t involve folding phones. And with so much hinge hype, some of them might have flown under your radar. Here are five announcements made during MWC that you might have missed: 1. GOOGLE ASSISTANT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN MESSAGES Back when Allo launched, one of its best features was having Google Assistant built right into your conversations. Now that Allo isn’t long for this world, Google has been slowly integrating the shuttered chat service’s features into Android Messages. Now it’s Assistant’s turn. Google announced during MWC that its Messages app will soon be…

4 min
3 obstacles that folding phones like samsung’s galaxy fold and huawei’s mate x must overcome

In just a few months, the first folding phones will be available for sale, and if you have a couple thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy one for your very own. But while those first few buyers will be the talk of the town, the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X might not be as top-of-the-line as their price tags would suggest. While they certainly represent an advancement in overall smartphone technology and an exciting new direction for the future, in some ways, folding phones are a step backward from the premium phone we’re used to using. Here are three areas of concern I have as the folding revolution takes shape: 1. DISPLAY QUALITY The odd shapes of the folding displays are the most obvious challenge. When…

2 min
hp recalls 78,500 more laptop batteries over fire concerns

HP has recalled 78,500 batteries used in its laptops and mobile workstations, due to overheating issues which can cause fire and burn hazards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall on Tuesday, but noted that the recall expansion was previously announced on January 17 by HP, and delayed due to the government furlough. It’s considered an expansion of the previous HP battery recall of January, 2018, which affected 50,000 batteries. HP has received eight new reports of battery packs in the U.S. overheating, melting, or charring, including one report of minor injury and two reports of property damage totaling $1,100, the CPSC said. Specifically, the batteries were either sold inside of or as accessories to: HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series, 4xx G4 series),…

3 min
windows 7 will use pop-ups to warn users of the operating system’s impending death

Windows 7 support ends about nine months from now, on January 14, 2020—and if you’re a Windows 7 user, you’ll see more than this story reminding you of that date. In fact, according to Microsoft, you could see several pop-up reminders warning you to upgrade to Windows 10 before the year is out. Microsoft says that Windows 7 users will see a notification appear on their PC “a handful of times” before the year is out. The company didn’t say what message it would contain, though, or when or where it would appear. “By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer…

3 min
windows 10 should never reboot your pc without your express permission, researchers conclude

If you think Windows should never, ever update while you’re using it, a new survey by the University College, London agrees with you. In a survey of 93 participants, the study found that Windows 10 Home’s WIndows Update patching experience proved frustrating, in part because users simply weren’t familiar with the tools that Microsoft provided for automatically updating their PCs. Windows itself also provided limited information to assist users in making decisions on when to allow patches, and its built-in tools were inadequate, the researchers said. The three authors (Jason Morris, Ingolf Becker, and Simon Parkin) recommended that operating systems like Windows 10 obtain explicit permission for restarts to apply Windows Update patches. The paper, though, acknowledges the fundamental tension at the heart of providing updates. Microsoft’s approach of choosing unilaterally when…

2 min
recent windows 10 patch brings good, bad performance news for pc gamers

Here’s a conundrum for PC gamers: A recent Windows 10 patch solves some of the Spectre mitigation issues, increasing performance—but a new, separate issue means that your GPU and mouse performance may be slower than normal. The KB4482887 patch, issued March 1, enables “Retpoline,” a technique for helping reduce the performance hit of the Spectre mitigations Microsoft previously rolled out. But WindowsLatest also noted a catch: One of the known issues with the patch involves graphics and mouse performance degradation on certain games. Whether your PC will be affected depends on a few conditions. The “Retpoline” performance improvements affect only a subset of the processors affected by Spectre, specifically Broadwell or older Core processors. If you own a Skylake or more recent version of Intel’s Core chips, those chips won’t be affected…