PCWorld September 2020

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

4 min
3 reasons to spend $1,000 on the samsung galaxy note 20, and 3 reasons not to

You might think the new $1,000 Galaxy Note 20 and $1,000 Galaxy S20 are two peas in the same pod as “affordable” counterparts to their high-priced Ultra siblings. They’re not. While the Galaxy S20 is basically a smaller version of the S20 Ultra, with the same chip, RAM, and screen tech as its pricier sibling, the Galaxy Note 20 shares very little with the Note 20 Ultra. Samsung has set the cheaper Galaxy Note 20 apart from both the Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S20 Ultra with a number of changes, many of which might make buyers think twice about buying one. Here’s why your thousand bucks might be better spent on the slightly older Galaxy S20—or not. THE GALAXY NOTE 20’S PROCESSOR IS FASTER THAN THE S20’S… For the first time…

3 min
samsung’s new galaxy fold z 2 is vastly improved, but now it needs a purpose

The follow-up to the Galaxy Fold is such a departure from the original beleaguered model that Samsung gave it a new name. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 would seem to fix much of what was wrong with the original Fold, bringing bigger outside and inside screens, better cameras, and a smarter design with a stronger screen and sturdier hinge. Whether that fits into “the new normal” Samsung is selling with the Galaxy Note 20 is another story. While Samsung continuously stressed during Unpacked how its lineup of new “power devices” are built for the new way of doing things remotely, the original Galaxy Fold doesn’t really fit that mold. It’s a device for traveling light and convenient, and, let’s face it, to be seen by others. Even for those able to afford…

4 min
the google pixel 4a is a great phone at a great price, but is it too late to matter?

At long last and longer rumor, the Google Pixel 4a has arrived, adding another strong entry to a very crowded midrange market. As premium phone sales continue to plummet due to the coronavirus, the Pixel 4a should be the 2020 value phone to beat, with surprisingly good looks and an aggressive $349 price tag. But while the Pixel 4a brings all the things you’d expect from a Google phone—namely an optimized UI and an excellent camera—it might be too little, too late. Google has built an excellent phone for an excellent price, but so have so many others. In just the time since it was originally rumored to launch at Google I/O in May, the Samsung Galaxy A51, OnePlus Nord, and TCL 10 Pro—not to mention the iPhone SE—have brought extreme…

7 min
what’s wrong with intel, and how to fix it: former principal engineer, francois piednoël, unloads

In a blunt video posted in early August, outspoken former Intel principal engineer Francois Piednoël offered his advice on how to “fix” Intel CPUs, criticized current leadership for not being engineers, said AVX512 was a misadventure, and declared that it’s only luck AMD hasn’t grabbed more market share. “First, Intel is really out of focus,” Piednoël said in the nearly hour-long video presentation. “The leaders of Intel today are not engineers, they are not people who understand what to design to the market.” Piednoël said Intel’s technical decisions have largely been “nonsense” since 2016. Incidentally, Piednoël left Intel in 2017 after serving as a principal engineer and performance architect for 20 years, working on CPUs from the Pentium III to the 6th-gen Core i7. The outspoken engineer often made technical presentations and…

3 min
amd’s notebook pc share climbs to an all-time high of nearly 20 percent

AMD’s share in the notebook PC market is now the highest ever, just under 20 percent, the company said in early August. AMD’s market share of X86 notebook PCs now stands at an all-time high of 19.9 percent, according to the company, citing a recent report by analyst firm Mercury Research. Though PCWorld did not have access to the full report, Dean McCarron, the Mercury analyst who authored it, confirmed the accuracy of AMD’s statement in an email. Though neither AMD nor Mercury cited the reasons for AMD’s strength in the notebook PC market, it’s reasonable to assume that AMD’s mobile Ryzen 4000 is the cause. AMD’s latest mobile chip is blowing away Intel in terms of performance. Notebook sales more than doubled during AMD’s recent quarter. AMD’s mobile Ryzen 4000 now…

3 min
dell quietly fixes charging issues with some xps 17 9700 laptops

Dell has confirmed that charging issues with some of the company’s new XPS 17 9700 laptops, as well as some of its Precision 5750 corporate laptops, have been identified and fixed. The problem came to light when Dell XPS 17 9700 review units tested by Notebookcheck.com (which first reported it) and PCWorld exhibited the strange behavior of discharging their battery while plugged in, if the laptop was under heavy load. To help diagnose the issue, PCWorld sent its review unit and charger back to Dell for analysis. Dell confirmed what had been observed, and said it was resolving the matter: “Dell has identified an issue on a limited quantity of XPS 17 9700 laptops and Precision 5750 mobile workstations where users may notice their battery depleting at a higher than expected rate under…