PC Magazine November 2020

PC Magazine provides lab-tested reviews, detailed tips and how-tos, insightful feature stories, expert commentary, and the latest tech trends to help you at work, at home, and on the road. And for a limited time, we're offering a copy of Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation with new subscriptions. This brand-new book is all about what made Atari's computers great: excellent graphics and sound, flexible programming environment, and wide support.

United States
Ziff Davis
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the future of computing

If you’re reading the PCMag Digital Edition, you’ve likely got a pretty good grasp on how computers work: bits, bytes, hardware, software, input, output. No big deal; we’ve been living with personal computers for decades now. Well, make that “classical” computers, because there’s a new tech in town: quantum computing. And it’s really different from the computing we’re so used to. We knew going in that researching and reporting on quantum computing wouldn’t be easy. The first roadblock: The technology is really difficult for most humans to understand. Google the term, and you’ll find no end of explainers. But after perusing a bunch of those, one gets the feeling a lot of the writers don’t understand the topic much better than their readers do. Our writer, PCMag senior hardware analyst Tom Brant,…

6 min
all about the new apple iphones

Apple refreshed its iPhone line in October with four new models: the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini ($699); the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 ($799) and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro ($999); and the gigantic 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Max ($1,099). All four models have OLED displays and 5G networking, making them the first iPhones to support 5G. “Every decade there’s a new generation of technology that provides a step change in what we can do with our iPhones,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event. “The next generation is here.” All the new iPhones have a new design with squarer edges, reminiscent of the iPhone 4, which helps them hold their millimeter-wave 5G antennas. Although their screen sizes are larger than last year’s iPhones, Apple says that the phones are physically the same size or…

6 min
inside the pandemic’s biggest cash cow: scalper bot networks hawking hot products

The pandemic and ensuing economic fallout may be leading internet users to dabble in the notorious art of scalping in order to buy up this holiday season’s hottest electronics and resell them for a hefty profit. You probably encountered these scalpers in September if you tried to buy Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics card, the Sony PlayStation 5, or the Microsoft Xbox Series X—all sold out almost immediately. Buyers included third-party resellers who used automated bots to purchase the products ahead of normal consumers. And apparently, interest in the scalping profession has been surging since COVID-19 put millions out of work. “Yes, the pandemic has had an exponential increase in people coming into online reselling,” said Alex Kabbara, vice president of AIO Bot. His company publishes a popular “all in one” automated bot…

5 min
for now, verizon’s 5g home internet service offers very little coverage

Verizon’s 5G Home service may be fast, but very few people can access it—even in the eight cities Verizon purports to serve. Since the company doesn’t offer a coverage map for its home service, we pumped more than 400 Chicago and Minneapolis addresses through the Verizon 5G Home address finder and discovered that the home service has even less coverage than the mobile service does. That’s not what I expected after I spoke to Verizon last month. On Oct. 1, the company launched a new indoor home router that is supposed to have better range than the tiny antennas in mobile phones. But looking at neighborhoods on the North Side of Chicago and in Minneapolis, we found that not only does the coverage not reach beyond what Verizon claims for phones,…

9 min
3 ways amd’s ryzen 5000 cpus could dominate the desktop (and one way they won’t)

Back in May, we published an opinion piece that detailed the five different ways AMD is beating Intel in the desktop CPU market. You might think Intel would have worked to change that narrative with some aggressive pricing maneuvering—you can’t change up your chip designs on a dime, after all—but that hasn’t happened. And if AMD has anything to say about it, the chips will continue to stack ever higher against the silicon giant. On Oct. 8, AMD took to its virtual event stage to unveil its new line of “Zen 3” CPUs. By the looks of them, these chips not only could extend the company’s desktop domination for multi-core content-creation tasks (something its Zen 2-based chips have been doing handily for more than a year now), but they also finally…

6 min
browse the web from a world away with a vpn

It has been a long quarantine, gentle reader. But while I’ve been transforming my towering, mist-shrouded Manhattan home into a VPN testing space, people have continued to reach out with their privacy and security questions. Recently, I received a message from a Patagonia-based reader with a problem: Their web traffic was being blocked because of their location. From our southerly reader, edited for brevity and privacy: “When I go online, websites identify me as coming from Argentina, but some services will not respond because of my location. Now, I also have a website that is hosted by a Swiss provider. If I have control over my domain in Switzerland, can I somehow connect my PC to the site and have all my movements be seen as coming from Switzerland?” The answer to the…