Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 555

Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

It’s easy to mock how many devices are called ‘smart’ these days. As a description of sophisticated technology, it has become almost meaningless through overuse. It should not be confused with the SMART system of testing the health of your hard drive. Using this, you can check whether it’s keeping your PC in fine fettle, or is hours away from killing it. To see SMART data, you need a program like the excellent CrystalDiskInfo. But to understand the data, you need to read Nik Rawlinson’s masterful Cover Feature. He explains what the numbers mean, revealing which warning signs to look out for. Nik also sets you a challenge (at the bottom of page 51) that I know will unleash the competitive side of our readers, particularly those with computers over 10 years…

1 min.
what we think

Decisions made in the White House rarely affect Computeractive’s publishing schedule, but President Trump’s order forced us to ditch our planned review of the Honor View 20 phone. There’s no point recommending a device that might be rendered useless in a few months. Turn to page 28 and you’ll see we replaced it with the Mi 9 from Xiaomi, a Chinese company that’s escaped Trump’s wrath - for now. Until the US-China trade war subsides, you shouldn’t buy any Huawei products. They’re often excellent, but it’s not worth the risk.…

1 min.
ee bans huawei from 5g

Mobile firm EE, owned by BT, dropped Huawei phones from the launch of its 5G network at the end of May. Marc Allera, head of BT’s consumer division, said: “Until we have the information and confidence that ensures our customers will get support for the lifetime of their devices with us then we’ve got the Huawei devices on pause”. Vodafone also said it will exclude Huawei phones from its 5G network, due to go live on 3 July. EE’s network will arrive in six cities first – London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. This will be followed by another 10 before the end of 2019, including Liverpool, Glasgow and Sheffield, eventually covering around 50 cities some time next year.…

9 min.

Microsoft yet to ban Huawei, but drops laptop Microsoft has yet to confirm whether it will stop providing updates for Huawei computers that run Windows, after President Trump told US firms to stop working with the Chinese giant. In May, Trump passed an executive order forbidding US firms from working with “foreign adversaries” such as Huawei, amid growing fears its technology poses a security risk. While Microsoft hasn’t said it will prevent Huawei from installing Windows on its laptops, it did remove the company’s well-regarded MateBook X laptop (pictured right) from its online store. Searching for ‘Huawei’ on the store no longer produces any results, suggesting a ban may follow soon. Computeractive reviewed the MateBook X Pro in Issue 547 (page 23), giving it a five-star ‘Buy It’ award. Google bans Huawei Google by contrast promptly…

2 min.
in brief

‘SIMPLER, CUTER’ ICONS FOR WORD & EXCEL Microsoft has unveiled new icons for Word documents, Excel spreadsheets (both pictured), PowerPoint presentations and OneNote notes. Posting a video on Twitter (www.snipca.com/31630), Microsoft’s Erin Woo called them “simpler, a little cuter”. They’re being added to Office phone and tablet apps, though it’s unclear whether they’ll also appear in Windows. Last year Microsoft redesigned its logos for Office programs: www.snipca.com/31633. AMAZON’S NEW TABLET DOUBLES STORAGE Amazon has doubled the storage on the cheapest version of its Fire 7 tablet (£49.99), taking it to 16GB. It also has a new 1.3GHz processor, which Amazon claims is faster than its predecessor. However, battery life has been cut from eight to seven hours to accommodate an ‘always on’ Alexa, letting you activate the voice assistant without having to press…

3 min.
why does google need to know what you’ve bought online?

Just when you think you’ve learnt everything that Google knows about you, another detail emerges that further erodes any trust you had left in the internet giant. Visit http://myaccount.google.com/purchases and you’ll see what we mean. If you’ve bought anything online using a Gmail address, which then received a confirmation email, you’ll see it listed here. It includes items bought from any site, not just Google’s, and covers purchases dating back years. Even items bought from high-street stores could be listed, if you gave the shop your Gmail address. This little-known list came to prominence through a report from US broadcaster CNBC. Once you’re told about its existence, it’s hard to resist taking a peek. One Computeractive employee was reminded of his past month’s purchases: bin bags, a Mary Poppins Returns DVD, printer…