PCWorld April 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

3 min
early review of intel 11th-gen rocket lake gives the chip mixed marks

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake chip won’t hit shelves until the end of March, but an unexpectedly early review of a retail Core i7-11700K labels the chip as power-hungry and unable to surpass AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X in many tests. The review, written by respected CPU expert Dr. Ian Cutress of Anandtech.com, was based on a Core i7-11700K that is presumably one of the hundreds of CPUs accidentally sold a month before launch by a German retailer. Benchmarks of the chip have been making the rounds ever since, but Cutress is the first experienced journalist to publish a review. Cutress stepped carefully in his story, avoiding mention of any information he had already been given by Intel under embargo during regular briefings for the chip. He said he informed Intel that he had the…

4 min
ryzen 5000 failure rates: we reality-check the claims

Are Ryzen 5000 chips failing? We looked into the original story and the issues around quality control at system vendors, and the problem may not be as bad as it initially appeared. The kerfuffle kicked off on Sunday, when system builder PowerGPU tweeted to its 222,000 followers: “The failure on the new AMD CPUs are still too high.” The company said that of the 320 Ryzen 5000 series CPUs it had received, 19 were “DOA” (dead on arrival), an eyebrow-raising 6 percent failure rate. The company also said it had seen three to five failing B550- and X570-based motherboards a week. HotHardware’s Paul Lilly initially covered the tweet, which became even more controversial when PowerGPU deleted it on Monday. PowerGPU then tweeted, “We just had a chat with AMD. We are…

2 min
microsoft reveals it won’t raise prices for office 2021, which may ship with teams

Microsoft has announced plans to release a consumer version of Office 2021, a standalone version of Microsoft 365 that will have some but not all of the features of Microsoft’s perpetually updating cloud productivity service. This may be the first standalone version of Office to ship with Microsoft Teams as a standard feature. The company will release Office 2021 for personal and small business users “later this year,” Microsoft said in a blog post. It said it did not plan to change the prices for this new release, meaning that the cheapest version of Office 2021 will be $150, the price Microsoft charges for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2019. (That version doesn’t include Microsoft Outlook; just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.) There will be versions for both the Mac and Windows. Since…

2 min
microsoft’s next windows 10 21h1 has essentially one new feature

Microsoft announced the next feature release of Windows 10, Windows 10 21H1, with—just one feature. Okay, maybe two. No one quite expected Microsoft to release a major Windows 10 feature update in the spring of 2021, given the work Microsoft has been putting into the forthcoming Windows 10X. Still, probably no one expected this: just two consumer-facing features, with only one of them addressing something a typical user might do. The rest is bug fixes. In a blog post on February 17, John Cable, Microsoft’s vice president of program management, listed the new features contained inside Windows 10 21H1: • Windows Hello multicamera support will allow users to choose an external camera priority when using high-end displays with integrated cameras. • Improvements to Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) performance include optimization of document opening…

2 min
google chrome will replace third-party cookies with tracking that’s less intrusive

Google has pledged for over a year to crack down on third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, taking progressive steps to weed out the code that collects data about you and shares it with the site you’re visiting. Cookies can be helpful in storing your user name and password or saving your shopping cart, but they can also be used to serve up ads as you browse, making it feel creepily like someone is keeping track of what you’re looking for. On Wednesday the company made a further commitment to privacy by saying it won’t replace cookies with alternative methods of tracking users in Chrome. “We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable…

3 min
google is working to solve the chromebook’s support problem

PCs have no expiration date. Chromebooks do. However, executives at Google said Tuesday that they’re working with Chromebook makers to ensure you won’t end up buying a Chromebook that will go out of support anytime soon. During a recent press briefing to mark the 10th anniversary of Chrome OS and Chromebooks, a reporter asked the Google executives on the call about a typical Chromebook experience: Once a Chromebook’s support window expires, it won’t receive updates. If a website or service requires an up-to-date browser to access it, does that mean the unsupported Chromebook is now worthless to the user? One of the distinctions between a PC and a Chromebook is that support window. Microsoft stops supporting Windows versions at some point, but it doesn’t stop supporting the PC surrounding it. Assuming your…