PCWorld September 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

8 min
intel launches 10th-gen ‘ice lake’ chips, pushing hard on graphics for notebook pcs

Intel’s eleven new Ice Lake chips are betting big on graphics. Intel claims that its new 10th-gen Core family, launched at the start of August, will offer the best integrated graphics experience of any thin-and-light notebook PC—about equaling what some discrete chips offer in PCWorld tests. Intel began setting up Ice Lake expectations in May, positioning its first mass-market 10nm parts as improvements for the notebook PC as a whole, including AI, communications, and I/O. The overarching message is “new”: a new process technology, a new CPU core, and a new graphics engine, along with “new” advancements in communications and I/O. Here are Intel’s mobile Ice Lake chips, in a nutshell: 11 processors, most sporting 4 cores and 8 threads, in either a 9W, 15W, or 28W power tier. Base frequencies begin…

2 min
warning: watch out for awful graphics card ‘deals’ that aren’t worth your money

Be wary if you’re browsing hardware deals with an eye toward upgrading your gaming PC. Many of the “sales” we’re seeing on graphics cards and desktops aren’t really deals at all, and if you’re not careful, you could wind up spending much more money than you should to get the performance you want. That’s because the new Radeon RX 5700 series and GeForce RTX Super graphics cards released in early July drastically realigned the value proposition for all high-end graphics cards. You can get a lot more for your money with high-end GPUs than you could a scant few days ago. The $400 GeForce RTX 2060 Super delivers performance on a par with the original $500 RTX 2070, while the $500 RTX 2070 Super is almost as fast as the original…

1 min
if you bought an original pixel, google owes you $20—and maybe a lot more

Google’s Pixels may be among the best Android phones you can buy, but they had some problems. Among the notable flaws with the original Pixel was an issue with the microphone not recording when it was supposed to. Now Google is paying out a cool $7 million to make it right. That means anyone who ever bought a Google Pixel or a Google Pixel XL is eligible for a $20 payout, even if your phone never experienced any issues. You read that right: Anyone who bought an original Pixel, in any size or capacity, is eligible to claim $20. If you actually experienced microphone issues with your Pixel, the payout could potentially be much higher. Google is offering $350 to users who experienced issues in one phone, and $500 if multiple phones…

3 min
samsung keeps the high-end android tablet dream alive with the galaxy tab s6

Samsung couldn’t wait until its Unpacked show to unveil all of the new things it’s been working on. Ahead of the big show, Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy Tab S6, a high-end Android tablet aimed at competing with Apple’s iPad Pro and featuring top-of-the-line specs, a Bluetooth S Pen, and the first in-display fingerprint sensor on a tablet. After launching the affordable Galaxy Tab S5e earlier this year, Samsung has skipped right to version 6 for its new premium tablet. Design-wise, it looks a lot like the Galaxy S4 that it replaces, with slim, uniform bezels all around and a wide 16:10 aspect ratio. You’ll also notice that there isn’t a headphone jack this time around, helping Samsung trim 1.4mm from the thickness. Here’s how the Galaxy Tab S6…

2 min
nvidia woos creators with 10 rtx studio laptops, 30-bit color support for geforce gpus

Creators, start your engines. Nvidia’s kicking off Siggraph, an annual professional graphics conference, with a pair of announcements designed to make life easier for industry diehards and amateur video producers alike. The company revealed 10 new RTX Studio laptops from a variety of partners, and new Studio drivers that bring capabilities formerly locked to Quadro GPUs alone over to the more mainstream GeForce and Titan lineups. Nvidia introduced RTX Studio laptops at Computex in May. These laptops run powerful Max-Q hardware to make intense video and image editing as painless and portable as possible, backed by drivers devoted to optimizing creative software rather than games. These are the minimum requirements for Nvidia RTX Studio laptops: GPU: RTX 2060, Quadro RTX 3000 or higher CPU: Intel Core i7 (H-series) or higher RAM: 16GB or higher SSD: 512GB…

6 min
what facebook’s new government-enforced privacy restrictions mean for you

Facebook’s record $5 billion fine that it will pay to the Federal Trade Commission will do little to stop Facebook from trying to slurp up as much of your data as it can, with two exceptions: facial recognition and telephone numbers. Instead, the Facebook-FTC agreement is primarily intended to stem the tide of your data flowing through Facebook and out to third-party developers. In late July, Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion fine and submit to a 20-year oversight program as part of an FTC order agreed to by both companies—punishment for Facebook’s unwillingness to adhere to another, separate 2012 FTC order that also governed user data privacy. As many have noted, the $5 billion fine is a slap on the wrist: Facebook recorded $15 billion in revenue for the…