PC Magazine May 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
take a deep breath

We’ve made it through a year of pandemic lockdown. While this has been a truly difficult and heartbreaking time, there’s also much to be grateful for—and one of those things is technology. It helped us stay connected to friends, family, work, and school. It also kept us informed and entertained, gave us health and exercise guidance, and helped us to shop safely. Nothing comes without a cost, though, and tech does exact one. Many of us became (even) more sedentary as we gazed at our screens for hours each day. Some of us experienced various levels and types of burnout: “Zoom fatigue” set in as we tried to maintain relationships virtually, and remote work hours intruded too seamlessly into our own time. Lots of students (not to mention teachers!) were stressed…

3 min
cleaning up after tech

CLEANING UP THE E-WASTE MESS: BIG TECH NEEDS TO DO MORE To say “Apple, which famously has devices whose smooth, enclosed surfaces don’t allow for easy consumer repair…” is to make the recycling understatement of the decade. To open up an Apple MacBook, one needs pentalobe 5-pointed screwdriver bits. Batteries are held inside a MacBook by an adhesive that needs a toxic chemical to make battery removal and replacement possible. Apple solid-state drives use a “custom” connector for which a special adapter is required to do data recovery. For some newer MacBooks, either a special adapter is not yet available or solid state storage is integrated into the system motherboard. Recover data from a failed newer MacBook? Fuhgeddaboutit! Spare parts for MacBooks? Not readily available, so take your chances on eBay. Sorry, Tyler…

4 min
lg to close mobile phone business

LG announced that it will close its mobile phone business, still the number-three player by sales in the US. The company will sell down its existing inventory of phones, including the LG Stylo 6, LG Wing, and LG Velvet, while continuing to provide support and software updates “for a period of time which will vary by region.” “LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence, and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services,” the company said in a press release. The company had reportedly sought a buyer for its money-losing phone business but hadn’t found any takers. Among other things, this means the “LG Rollable” phone, which…

4 min
hands on with the oneplus watch: lots of promise for just $159

I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptical before unboxing the first smartwatch from OnePlus, aptly named the OnePlus Watch. At $159, it’s less than half the price of our Editors’ Choice winner, the Apple Watch Series 6 (which starts at $399). And while it doesn’t work with iPhones, it offers many of the same features as Apple’s market-leading wearable. So far, my skepticism appears to have been unfounded. The OnePlus Watch offers a large color touch screen, built-in GPS, 2GB of storage, a 402mAh battery that promises two weeks of power, and the ability to make and receive calls. It also has plenty of health and fitness features, including support for more than 110 workout types, automatic workout detection for jogging and running, rapid-heart-rate alerts, guided breathing exercises, stress detection, and the…

11 min
after ‘rocket lake,’ 5 things intel must do on desktop to get its cpu magic back

We’re not keen on kicking a company while it’s down, so we’ll avoid the same introduction you’ve read a few dozen times already in the last couple of years: AMD and its Ryzen lineup is running loops around Intel and its desktop Core CPUs. And Intel keeps shooting itself in the sneaker, right when you think it might be about to get back into the race. The company’s latest launch of processors, the 11th Generation “Rocket Lake” Core series, has been met with mostly ho-hum reviews (ours among them). At a time when Intel needed to really make the Empire State Building disappear, the mirror broke, and everyone saw through the illusion. So now that the dust of the Rocket Lake launch is settling, and the verdict is firming up on 11th…

6 min
vaccine passports are destined to fail

In April, after sitting on the floor of a Walgreens for three hours, I was finally injected with a tiny amount of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. It was a triumph for me to have remained healthy to this point, and a much larger triumph of medical science to have created, tested, and distributed vaccines for a completely new disease in such a short time. This is in stark contrast to the tech sector, which failed the world once with contact-tracing apps and seems poised to fail us once again with vaccine passports. AN APP TO KEEP US SAFE? You could be forgiven for having forgotten about contract-tracing apps. The idea was that our phones would silently keep tabs on every other person (with a phone) that came close enough to us to spread…