PC Magazine December 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
R 60,77
R 304,47
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
the tech products hall of fame for 2020

As this year draws to a close (and thank goodness for that!), the PCMag staff has once again taken stock of all the products we’ve reviewed this year. You’ll find the best of the best in this issue. And we’re not stinting on the number of “best” products we’re showcasing for you. Our analysts haven’t let a little thing like a global pandemic slow them down; we’ve reviewed almost 2,000 products thus far in 2020, from laptops and desktops to smart doorbells, VPNs to PC games to fitness wearables. Our final list of 100 is just three short of the list of best products in 2019. Surely you’ll find a few good gift possibilities (for others or yourself!) in this story. What are the best tech products you’ve come across in 2020?…

4 min
is contact tracing doomed in the us?

Healthcare workers and state and local governments are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen a resurgence around the globe as we head into the winter months. But as the CDC notes, contact tracing is key to slowing the disease’s spread. Can Americans look past a distrust of big tech and the government to make contact tracing in the US effective? Public perception is a major hurdle. A June survey from Avira found that 71 percent of Americans had no plans to download contact-tracing apps. “Of those who said they would not use the apps, the main reason was concerns that the technology won’t protect people’s digital privacy,” the company found. More people distrust the government than big tech, however: “32% said they would trust technology by Google/Apple…

1 min
2020’s most common passwords are laughably insecure

Chances are that if a password is easy for you to remember, a hacker can easily crack it. And despite years (and years) of tech companies warning consumers to use hard-to-crack passwords, plus two-factor authentication, people are still using laughably insecure codes. Of NordPass’ 200 most used passwords for 2020, the top three are 123456, 123456789, and picture1. Next on the list is just “password,” but various number combinations, as well as qwerty, abc123, and Million2 also make the list. You should also avoid iloveyou, omgpop, ashley, chatbooks, princess, sunshine, dragon, and pokemon as passwords. NordPass worked with a third-party provider to evaluate a database containing 275,699,516 passwords. Of those, only 122,894,788, or 44%, were unique. The others were repeats of common, easy-to-remember passwords that leave users highly vulnerable to online threats.…

2 min
boston dynamics’ spot robodog finds work on a bp oil rig

Boston Dynamics’ four-legged canine-inspired Spot is by no means an old dog, but that doesn’t mean it can’t learn new tricks. The 55-pound robot, unveiled in 2016, has boarded BP’s Mad Dog oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, where it will master tasks including reading gauges, finding corrosion, mapping the facility, and sniffing out methane, according to Reuters. Earlier this year, BP announced its objective to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, while boosting employee safety and operational efficiency. One way to achieve that goal is to deploy robots, which can navigate hazardous situations in ways humans can’t (or shouldn’t). “Several hours a day, several operators will walk the facility; read gauges; listen for noise that doesn’t sound right; look out at the horizon for anomalies, boats that may not be caught…

8 min
iris xe max: 5 things you need to know about intel’s first discrete gpu

Rumors have been flying and trickles of official info seeping out about Intel’s first discrete graphics processor. Would it be for desktops? Laptops? Gamers or business go-getters? In November, the chip giant provided PCMag with the details in a private briefing. The solution, named Iris Xe Max, will make its way into a few 11th Generation “Tiger Lake”– based laptops first. (Expect them as 2020 draws to a close.) I’ve gathered some of the most important points—and more so, what I see as the implications of Xe Max—for you. IT’LL BE A LIMITED MAX MENU, TO START We saw plenty of information about the Iris Xe Max, but it may not end up coming to loads of laptops in practice, at least at the beginning. It aims for the same general discrete-GPU target…

5 min
next-gen game consoles are hideous, except the xbox series s

After a truly strange year, game-related or otherwise, the next generation of video game consoles is here. They’re no longer hypothetical concepts: You can actually buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Although I recommend you read our reviews before dropping $500 on either of these bad boys, console-launch reviews have only so much value. Consoles succeed or fail based on the strength of the game libraries, and those libraries grow with time. But there’s one thing about these boxes that not even the greatest game in the world can fix. With the exception of the humble Xbox Series S, next-gen consoles are super ugly. KEEP IT SIMPLE I’ve stewed on this take since the PS5’s full reveal, but I wanted to wait until I got my hands on some hardware before…