PC Magazine December 2021

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

1 min
2021’s top tech

Readers, does the term “Q4” strike terror into your hearts? Probably not, but it might if you worked here. The three months leading up to and including the winter holidays are PCMag’s busiest time of year by far. After all, we review products—lots of them. Most of which would make excellent gifts. And people want to know how our testing went. Despite the hectic climate of Q4, we always take the time to step back and look at our work over the prior year: Which of the more than 2,000 products we reviewed stood out the most? We usually wind up with about 100 top picks; in 2021, the total came to 101. In this issue, you’ll find a list of those products along with brief accounts of why we chose…

3 min
windows 11: your wishlist

I think the biggest sin of W11 is the architecture one. The chip shortage we are in now is serious, and hardware delays are significant.… So updates to W11 are out the window (pun intended) as the hardware we would need to replace perfectly useful machines now is not possible. I see no reason why the TPM functionality should not be an option as opposed to a requirement. Anything that strengthens security is desired, but right now, it is not possible to wholesale replace computers (much less graphics cards). Another factor here is “green.” Forcing companies to junk perfectly good computers, with useful life, to go to Windows 11 is certainly not green. This needs a rethink as much as the interface. One wonders about the marketing decisions at major…

3 min
facebook shuts down its facial-recognition system

Meta will shut down Facebook’s facial-recognition system and delete the template it uses to recognize people in photos. More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to the system, which can suggest people to tag when you upload a photo. So axing the system “will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” said Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artificial Intelligence. Pesenti didn’t point to a single incident that prompted the decision, saying only that there are “growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole.” But it comes as facial-recognition systems (and Facebook in general) have come under fire. Pesenti argued that lawmakers have dragged their feet on laws governing facial-recognition software. “There are many concerns about the place of…

1 min
microsoft onedrive is ditching windows 7, 8, and 8.1

Microsoft is giving some Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users another reason to upgrade to a newer version of the operating system. The company announced that its OneDrive cloud storage platform will start to drop support for those older versions of Windows in early 2022. “In order to focus resources on new technologies and operating systems, and to provide users with the most up-to-date and secure experience, beginning January 1, 2022, updates will no longer be provided for the OneDrive desktop application on your personal Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 devices,” Microsoft said in a blog post on the change. “Personal OneDrive desktop applications running on these operating systems will stop syncing to the cloud on March 1, 2022.” Microsoft advises people using these versions of Windows to finally upgrade to Windows…

2 min
demand for low-end laptop cpus is tanking

As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the PC industry experienced its biggest quarter-over-quarter decline in shipments for laptop CPUs, according to a research firm. The decrease occurred during this year’s third quarter, when shipments for laptop CPUs fell by more than 18 million units from Q2, according to Mercury Research. Driving the decrease was plummeting demand for low-end laptop CPUs such as the Intel Celeron and AMD Athlon, which declined by more than 50% from Q2. Dean McCarron, president of Mercury Research, called the decline “the worst on-quarter downturn for mobile CPUs in the history of the PC CPU market.” “The pullback on entry-level CPUs has no connection to the chip shortage,” McCarron told PCMag in an email. “If anything, it’s probably helping other markets as some of those components…

5 min
the real 5g metaverse will blow facebook’s meta out of the water

Facebook is trying to shuck off its reputation for manipulating elections and destroying societies by becoming “Meta,” the metaverse company. In short, a metaverse is a persistent, open virtual- or augmented-reality platform. Metaverses have existed for decades; Second Life is a metaverse and once had a million users. Meta, of course, wants to take that from the millions to the billions. Everyone involved in 5G is betting on metaverses, too. Qualcomm calls its approach XR, or extended reality. Microsoft calls it MR, mixed reality. T-Mobile’s President of Technology Neville Ray told me that “eyewear wearables” could be the killer consumer app for true 5G. And that’s how you get into the metaverse. There’s a big difference between Facebook’s metaverse and the one the 5G players want. It’s important, and it goes to why…