PCWorld March 2021

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

9 min
intel benchmarks say apple’s m1 isn’t faster. let’s check the claims

After months of silence about Apple’s impressive M1 chip, Intel just clapped back with a carefully crafted takedown of the Arm-based chip. Its perspective on the M1 isn’t pretty. Intel said its testing shows: • An 11th gen Core i7-1185G7 can match or greatly exceed the M1’s performance in a MacBook Pro in both native and non-native applications. • In battery life, it’s pretty much a wash. • The MacBook Pro wouldn’t pass muster to be certified as an Evo laptop. • The M1 just won’t run a lot of software. • The new MacBooks have a range of compatibility issues, from multiple monitors to game controllers, as well as many documented software plug-in problems. In the parlance of our time, it’s “shots fired” yet again, with Intel highlighting problems in competing products. In November, Intel did…

2 min
geforce rtx 3060 laptops hit the street, but more affordable models are in short supply

When the first GeForce RTX 30-series gaming laptops launched in January, you could—and still can—find abundant stock available for RTX 3070- and 3080-powered machines starting at $1,700 and up. More affordable RTX 3060 laptops recently hit the streets, but they seem much scarcer than the more expensive models. Nvidia’s own listing of RTX 3060 laptops highlights just four models, all from MSI: the $1,000 GF65, $1,500 Stealth 15M; a more potent $1,600 Stealth 15M, and the $1,800 GS66. The GF65 and GS66 are available to buy March 1, with the rest in preorder status until later in the month. Heading over to Newegg, you’ll find several MSI RTX 3060 laptops, some still in preorder status. But good news! A trio of Gigabyte offerings can be purchased right now: the $1,500 Aorus 15G,…

5 min
windows 10x leaks: hands-on with microsoft’s new, simplified oss

Microsoft’s Windows 10X has leaked, and it’s boring. Well, it’s designed to be boring. Simple, really—uncomplicated, straightforward, without the fuss and clutter of “traditional” Windows. We wrote last year that Windows 10X now appears to be the new Windows 10 S (Windows 10 in S Mode [go.pcworld.com/n10s]); after spending some hands-on time with the leaked build, we believe those impressions have been confirmed. We’d like to say that Windows 10X has been graphically overhauled with a variety of new features. However, the fact is that if you read our early Windows 10X coverage a year ago—when Microsoft was visualizing Windows 10X as the future of dual-screen devices—little has changed. (Here’s our original Windows 10X hands-on video for reference.) Well, there’s been one major tweak, of course: Windows 10X is now designed for…

2 min
hp’s new pavilion x360s are smaller, faster, and more sustainable

HP’s updated Pavilion x360 14 and Pavilion x360 15 will get Intel’s newest 11th-gen CPUs and—perhaps more importantly to some—will be more sustainable. How sustainable? HP said the new Pavilion x360s will use ocean-bound recycled plastic for the bezel, keyboard keycaps, and speaker enclosures. (Ocean-bound plastic is plastic intercepted before it floats into the ocean.) Perhaps more sustainable is the recycled aluminum keyboard deck that will be available on the Pavilion x360 14. By using recycled rather than mined aluminum for the keyboard, HP said it will save an estimated 341 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and avoid burning more than 376,000 tons of coal over its production life. The Pavilion x360 15 will start at $749 with an 11th-gen Core i3, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and Wi-Fi 6. The…

2 min
intel’s debut iris xe graphics cards are headed to prebuilt pcs (but not for gaming)

Either the GPU shortage really is that bad, or maybe Intel’s DG1 is really that good, because the company announced Tuesday morning that its first-generation Iris Xe desktop graphics cards are shipping to partners. The company said its Iris Xe, previously code-named DG1, will be sold to system integrators—basically PC companies smaller than OEMs such as Dell and HP—who will use the graphics cards in PCs aimed at mainstream users as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. The Iris Xe is basically the same part as the Irix Xe Max GPU that’s being sold in a limited number of laptops after originally being previewed on desktop PCs as the developer-only DG1 graphics card at CES 2020. Intel created the desktop DG1 to help developers get their feet wet in making applications and…

3 min
comcast suspends data caps for certain states, and that’s unfair

Comcast said Wednesday that it will suspend its data caps in over a dozen states and the District of Columbia for at least six months, apparently because of a deal the company struck with the state of Pennsylvania. If you live anywhere else in the United States, your reaction was probably the same as mine: Why isn’t Comcast doing the rest of us the same favor? Though Comcast services most of the United States, only these 14 states will see a suspension of their data caps for six months: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and parts of North Carolina and Ohio, as well as the District of Columbia. The suspension apparently has come about because of a deal struck between the ISP…