PCWorld October 2018

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

2 min
the next windows 10 has a name and a date: the october 2018 update, due this fall

We now know when the next Windows 10 update is coming, and if you forget, it’s right there in the name. Microsoft’s fall update to Windows 10 will be known as the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. It’s expected to be a collection of improvements and updates rather than any earth-shattering new features. Microsoft made the announcement at the IFA show in Berlin, Germany, where the company also continued its tradition of highlighting exemplary PC hardware from its hardware partners. They included the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS, a convertible that uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 chip; and the Lenovo Yoga Book C930, an innovative dual-screen laptop. Executives also highlighted the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 (go.pcworld.com/dl70) and the Acer Predator Triton 900, a gaming laptop with a pivoting hinge. Finally,…

4 min
samsung wants to force its folding galaxy phone on us this year whether we want it or not

Samsung has been threatening to release a folding phone for the better part of five years, and now it looks like it might actually happen. In an interview with CNBC at the IFA trade show in Berlin, mobile CEO DJ Koh, who has been talking up the company’s folding phone project any chance he gets, all but announced that we’ll get a first look at the new handset before the year is up. According to CNBC, Koh “hinted that more details of the device could be unveiled this year at the Samsung Developer Conference in November in San Francisco,” but stopped short of divulging when it would actually go on sale. Koh said that the new phone’s development process has “nearly concluded.” Based on his rather vague comments, it will probably be…

5 min
intel’s whiskey lake notebook chip launches, emphasizing connectivity this time around

While Intel’s new Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake mobile Core chips differ from their predecessors mainly in terms of available boost speed, Intel’s marketing spin will emphasize something else: an “optimized for connectivity” tagline in marketing materials for notebooks and tablets sold with these new 8th-gen U- and Y-series chips. Rather than pitch the new processors as simply faster, Intel’s messaging will emphasize the Gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity Intel built into its six new chips. That may be because Intel’s chips are simply becoming harder to tell apart. These new 14nm Core chips are essentially the third iteration of the original Skylake 14nm processor, though Intel has shipped 14nm chips since 2014’s Broadwell generation. Here’s the number that matters, though: Intel is promising that Whiskey Lake/Amber Lake will deliver a 10-percent generational improvement…

4 min
why did lenovo stretch the thinkpad x1 extreme to 15 inches? to kill the macbook pro.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme has a mission: to kill the MacBook Pro 15. I’m not just saying that to manufacture drama, either. A Lenovo representative straight-out told me, “this is our MacBook Pro killer,” during our briefing on the product. I could say, “crummy MacBook butterfly keyboard vs. legendary ThinkPad keyboard? No contest. End of story.” But the struggle is real: Even though the latest MacBook Pro 15 suffered some performance issues before Apple found a fix, the brand still carries some cachet with corporate users. Heck, it’s still what I see most often on my fellow commuters’ laps as I take the train to work. To face down this formidable foe, Lenovo has stretched its new, top-of-the-line ThinkPad X1 Extreme to accommodate a 15-inch display (14 inches had been the maximum…

2 min
netgear’s xr700 nighthawk pro gaming router features 10-gigabit ethernet

Netgear is upping the ante in the gamer-oriented router arena with the XR700 Nighthawk Pro. This 802.11ad router’s signature feature is a 10-gigabit-per-second ethernet port that, when connected to Netgear’s SX10 Nighthawk Pro switch, provides a whopping 15 wired gigabit ports for the ultimate LAN party. If you’re lucky enough to have an insanely fast broadband connection, that 10G port can be configured as a WAN port. As with Netgear’s previous gaming router, the XR500, the XR700 features the DumaOS quality-of-service engine that automatically prioritizes gaming traffic on your home network. But the firmware also allows power users to get deep into the router’s settings, twisting virtual dials and knobs to optimize the router’s performance for whichever applications you wish. For multiplayer games, for instance, there’s a geo filter that allows you…

3 min
acer’s blisteringly fast 4k, 144hz hdr gaming monitors cost far less than rival displays

Consider the 60Hz barrier for ultra–high-definition screens officially broken. Acer announced not one, but two new 4K, 144Hz gaming monitors at IFA in Berlin, for folks who like their frame rates high and temperatures low. One, the $1,299 Predator XB273K, supports Nvidia’s gameplay-smoothing G-Sync technology. The other, the $899 Nitro XV273K, plays nice with AMD’s rival FreeSync tech. On paper, the Predator XB273K matches many of the key specifications of Acer’s Predator X27, a $2,000 display that we dubbed the Holy Grail of gaming monitors (see page 29) in our review. It’s got 4K resolution, a blazing-fast 144Hz maximum refresh rate (though that’s probably when overclocked), G-Sync, and even DisplayHDR 400 certification. Despite being a monitor with 4K, G-Sync, and HDR, Acer hasn’t branded the Predator XB273K with Nvidia’s official “G-Sync HDR”…