PCWorld December 2019

We review the Google Pixel 4a, plus what to expect if you’re switching from an iPhone SE. Find out if your Chromebook is expiring. Reviews of Note 20 Ultra, Norton 360 Deluxe, Mullvad vs. NordVPN, and much more!

United States
R 111,71
R 319,14
12 Issues

in this issue

6 min
amd unveils 32-core threadripper 3970x, 16-core ryzen 9 3950x, and unlocked athlon

AMD officially unwrapped two new Threadripper 3 CPUs with 24 and 32 cores, respectively, on November 7. The company also announced an unlocked Athlon and said its 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X will finally go on sale on November 28. The two new Threadripper CPUs are the biggest news. AMD will sell a 24-core Threadripper 3960X for $1,399. The chip is built on a 7nm process, features 140MB of cache, and will have a base clock of 3.8GHz and boost of 4.5GHz. The 32-core Threadripper 3970X, priced at $1,999, arrives in the wake of much undue hand-wringing that AMD would only go to 24 cores. Both CPUs will go into AMD’s new TRX40 platform using the new sTRX4 socket. The use of a new socket essentially means the original X399 chipset, along with…

2 min
with the app defense alliance, google play protect might actually keep malware off your phone

While Android has come a long way in its fight against so-called “bad actors” in the Play Store, Google isn’t able to stop every malicious app from making its way inside. So it’s stepping up its efforts with the formation of a new App Defense Alliance with some of the biggest names in mobile security. The partnership brings Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium together to augment Android’s Play Protect malware scanner that’s been in effect since Android 8 Oreo. Built to run in the background, Play Protect regularly scans the apps in the Play Store and installed on your phone for known malware and alerts users to their existence. The only problem is, it’s not very good. According to AV-Test’s bi-monthly antivirus review, Play Protect scores dead last in protection and usability,…

2 min
chrome os 78 gives chromebooks virtual desktops, click-to-call, and longer support spans

Google quietly made Chromebooks a substantially better value this week by adding virtual desktops and click-to-call capabilities to Chrome OS, and extending the support lifespan of existing Chromebooks by about a year. Google recently announced that it’s begun pushing Chrome OS 78 to Chromebooks. The updated OS includes three new key features: virtual desktops, called Virtual Desks; click-to-call connections to Android phones; and simpler connections to printers. Virtual desktops have already appeared in Windows, of course, as part of Task View, which can be accessed via the Windows taskbar. In Chrome OS, the way to access Virtual Desks is through a button in the upper right-hand corner, or by using the Shift + Search + = (equal sign) shortcut. You can switch from Desk to Desk by using the Search + ]…

10 min
microsoft’s 10 biggest ignite reveals include the new edge, and more ways to tie office to the web

Microsoft plans to announce a boatload of new capabilities to Office, search, and Edge at its Ignite conference, including rollout plans for its Chromium-based Edge browser, a tool to read your email aloud in the Outlook app, corporate insights driven by Microsoft Search, and more. But subtle improvements like natural-language queries in Excel may prove more significant. Microsoft has arguably struggled to align search and the web with its traditional Office silos of spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. Now, executives say they’ve cracked the problem. Microsoft hasn’t lost its idealistic view of the Internet, dating back to Internet Explorer’s “beauty of the Web” campaign. But today, the web provides more opportunities and more challenges to solve, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Modern Life & Devices Group, in advance…

4 min
16-inch macbook pro hands-on: faster, prettier, and all-around better (especially the keyboard)

Apple has announced the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which replaces the 15-inch models in Apple’s laptop lineup—and delivers some welcome updates to boot. I have a loaner unit and have already begun testing, so stay tuned for my final review. In the meantime, check out my first impressions here. The short story? This new 16-inch MacBook Pro—which is available for order on Apple’s website, and should now be available for sale in the Apple store—doesn’t completely rewrite the MacBook story, but it’s definitely better in some key areas. KEYBOARD CHANGES Critics, rejoice: Apple dumped the butterfly-mechanism keyboard that it’s been using in the MacBook Pro since 2016. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro keyboard uses a scissor mechanism, and is based on the keyboard for the iMac and iMac Pro. This new keyboard doesn’t…

6 min
nvidia reveals faster geforce gtx 1660 super, gtx 1650 super gpus boosted by gddr6 memory

In October, Nvidia Super-fied its GeForce GTX 16-series graphics cards, with the mass-market upgrade following in the footsteps of its beefier RTX Super siblings—and running defense against AMD’s impending Radeon RX 5500 series. The GeForce GTX 1660 Super has launched (we’ve already reviewed it), bolstered by some killer new software features in GeForce Experience. Let’s start with the new hardware before diving into the software improvements. The $229 GeForce GTX 1660 Super largely mirrors the specifications of the spectacular original GTX 1660: clock speeds, CUDA counts, texture units, die size—the underlying graphics processor remains identical in the Super. The key difference? Memory. Nvidia swapped out the slower GDDR5 memory of the original GTX 1660 for cutting-edge GDDR6 VRAM in the new GTX 1660 Super, and oh, what a difference it makes. In our…