PC Magazine April 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
clearing the cobwebs—both physical and virtual

I know it’s not just me. Over the past year, time has become…weird. Sometimes it seems to move at a nearly glacial pace; then it speeds up, and voila, winter’s over. Part of the reason could be the different schedules we’ve been on since COVID-19 hit us—or actually, the absence of schedules. Without those normal daily or weekly touchpoints, our perception of time has morphed. The good news? With vaccinations rolling out and infection rates dropping, many of us can or will soon be able to resume some of the activities we’ve missed. But our lives have changed regardless, and it’s unlikely that things will ever return to exactly how they were before the pandemic. Some things never change, though, and one of those things is the coming of spring—and the need…

1 min
microsoft transforms word documents into powerpoint presentations using ai

Microsoft is introducing a new conversion tool for Office users that automatically transforms a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation, with the help of artificial intelligence. Called the Transform command, the tool uses AI to look at all the different sections of a Word document in order to convert it into a presentation. The conversion includes imagery, icons, videos, themes, and fonts, so you should get a professional-looking set of PowerPoint slides with nothing missing. The Transform tool is even more intelligent than that: If you have a Word document consisting mainly of text, Transform adds assets to it by relying on Microsoft’s AI to select what works best. It also offers a number of PowerPoint themes to choose among. “The tool uses AI to look at all the different sections of a…

1 min
here’s why bill gates (still) prefers android to iphone

When it comes to the great iOS-versus-Android debate, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates knows which side he’s on. According to 9to5Google, Gates shared his preferences in a recent, audio-only interview via the Clubhouse app. And it may not come as a surprise that he’s firmly team Android. Gates told journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin and Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davidson that after proclaiming he preferred Android in the past, nothing has changed. While he keeps an iPhone on hand in case he wants to use it for any reason—say, using the iPhone-only Clubhouse app—he has a day-to-day Android device. Gates prefers the more open nature of the Android ecosystem, as it’s more “flexible” about how software interfaces with the OS. During the interview, though, Davidson indicated that an Android version of Clubhouse could be on…

4 min
microsoft’s ar mesh has serious pocket pc vibes

Microsoft launched its Ignite conference in March by demoing the VR meetings we all wish we’d been having for the past year. The company’s Mesh collaboration system, running on $3,500 HoloLens headsets, offers real-time “holographic” video-conferencing with avatars or motion-captured models. It’s quite similar to a third-party offering, Spatial, which we’ve seen at Qualcomm and Microsoft events for the past two years. We’ve even seen Spatial running on HoloLens. Collaboration is definitely a killer enterprise app for mixed reality, especially in our upcoming post-COVID world, where there may be a lot less business travel and a lot more working at home. The bigger issue is that AR/VR hardware strategies from Microsoft and everyone else seem to be stuck, and I suspect that (to their horror) only Apple will pull one off. In a…

4 min
streaming video services usher in a golden age of trash tv

I have a sin to confess: I’m not a huge WandaVision fan. There’s plenty to like about the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) show streaming on Disney+: It has cool ideas, performances, and aesthetics. But between the awkward initial pacing, a plot that’s a little too thin to sustain a whole season, and a weird lack of emotional investment in side characters you’re supposed to already care about from the larger MCU, I don’t love it. I’m still watching it, though. Not just because I’m a geek; what else can you do during lockdown except watching video streaming shows? Here’s another sin I have to confess: As the pandemic drags on, and I watch an increasing number of streaming shows, I’ve realized that flashy, expensive, “prestige” shows like WandaVision are not…

6 min
tcl 43s435: as affordable as a new tv gets

TCL is no stranger to budget-friendly TVs, and the company has consistently impressed us with its 6-Series, which offers excellent performance for a reasonable price. It’s one of the company’s more expensive lines, though, so it’s probably not the one to consider if you’re shopping with a tight budget. The TCL 4-Series can be had for about half the price (starting as low as $259.99 for the 43-inch 43S435 we tested), which is about as low as you’ll pay for a brand-new TV. Just note that it makes many compromises in performance to reach that price. PROS: Very inexpensive. Generally solid color range. CONS: Mediocre contrast. Slightly weak greens. Only three HDMI ports. BOTTOM LINE: The TCL 4-Series line of TVs offers modest picture quality and Roku functionality at a rock-bottom price. AN ORDINARY…