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Preview: PC World Latest Technology Reviews

PCWorld Reviews





Published: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 02:07:21 -0700

Last Build Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 02:07:21 -0700

 



Akitio Node Cabinet review: Real, affordable graphics for your laptop

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

The Akitio Node external GPU cabinet is here to give your Thunderbolt 3-equipped laptop a big boost. This affordable unit—basically, a big steel box with a 400-watt PSU and a fan in front—lets you drop in most modern AMD or Nvidia graphics cards and then connect it to a laptop using PCIe over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C.

(image) Gordon Mah Ung

The Akitio features one fan for the PSU, and one in front that offers plenty of airflow.

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OnePlus 5 review: This mid-range Android phone is speedy inside, but stale outside

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:30:00 -0700

There are certain things you can usually count on in a OnePlus phone: great performance, an awesome price, and a touch of originality. But with the OnePlus 5, you’re only getting the first two parts of the three-part equation.

The OnePlus 5 is packed with the latest components on the inside, but its display is nothing special. It’s still a good deal cheaper than other premium phones, but even at a starting price of $479, it’s not quite a killer bargain. And its design, while nice-looking, is derivative of both previous OnePlus phones as well as Apple’s aging iPhone 7 Plus.

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TCL P-series Roku smart TV review: Dolby Vision hits the mainstream

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Support for Dolby Vision elevates the TCP 55P607's image chops.


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PNY GTX 1080 Ti XLR8 OC review: A gorgeous graphics card with great value

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Let’s be frank: Most of the customized versions of Nvidia’s beastly GeForce GTX 1080 Ti that you can buy offer largely similar levels of gaming performance. This monstrous GPU pushes Nvidia’s Pascal architecture as far and fast as it’ll go.

That’s good in some ways. Aside from Founders Edition models, you know you aren’t leaving performance on the table by opting for one custom GTX 1080 Ti over another, and you shouldn’t have any problem pushing clock speeds up around the 2GHz range if you want to try your hand at manual overclocking. But it also means that custom cards need to bring a little something extra to the table if they want to stand out from the crowd.

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Amazon Dash Wand review: A home shopping device made for a not-too-distant future

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Amazon will sell you groceries, one way or another. Case in point: The day before it announced plans to buy Whole Foods for a cool $13.7 billion, it released Amazon Dash Wand, a small Alexa-powered gadget that will likely be just as integral to the company’s produce push.

Amazon’s new scanning stick is Jeff Bezos’s latest attempt to link the virtual world with the physical one. But even though it’s not Amazon’s first shot at a home shopping assistant, it’s definitely the first fully formed one. Combining the ease of a Dash button with the versatility of the relatively unknown Dash scanner and the smarts of an Echo, Dash Wand could be the thing that finally streamlines the way we buy groceries, and eliminates checkout lines, empty refrigerators, and even trips to the store. But that’s going to take a while.

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iMac 21.5" 2017 review

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Apple has finally updated the iMac, so if you're in the market for a new computer, now's the time to do some shopping.


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Tivoli Audio Model One Digital review: Big sound from a small footprint

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Many won’t miss the extra features this tabletop radio is missing.


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Best DVR for cord cutters

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:36:00 -0700

Here’s the hard truth for cord-cutters right now: The ideal over-the-air DVR doesn’t exist. And if you're on the fence about even needing one, you should read the June 22 installment of this column.

While some products are better than others, all of them—from Tablo and TiVo to Channel Master DVR+ and HDHomeRun with Plex—have at least one critical weakness. If you want to record broadcast TV channels from an antenna, you must decide which of those weaknesses you’ll tolerate.

The good news is that the lowly antenna is experiencing a rebirth, and we’re likely to see more over-the-air DVR products later in 2017 and beyond. But if you want to start recording broadcast channels now, here’s a rundown of where the current products stand:

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Dell XPS 15 (2017) review: Kaby Lake and a 4K display make a difference

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:38:00 -0700

Dell’s XPS 15 is proof that iterations—no matter how small—still matter. Externally, even owners of the previous XPS 15 would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between new and old.

The ports are the same, the keyboard and the trackpad are the same and, well, just about external thing with the XPS 15 looks identical. Yet the internal changes make this year’s XPS 15 a markedly better laptop than last year’s.

(image) IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The keyboard on the XPS 15 appears unchanged, which isn’t a good thing because it’s still slightly too small.

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MacBook 2017 review

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:38:00 -0700

Apple's third-generation Macbook offers a performance boost with Intel's Kaby Lake and lower prices.


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Focal Spark Wireless in-ear headphone review: Audiophile sound at a budget price

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0700

The French manufacturer's in-ear-headphones will bathe you in intoxicating audiophile sound and a smart set of accessories without breaking your budget. And they won't fall off while you run.


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Focal Spark in-ear-headphones review: Refined audio and French style on a budget

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0700

These modestly priced headphones sound leaps and bounds beyond their price tag.


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Mingis on Tech: Is the new iPad Pro enterprise-ready?

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Apple's top-end tablet hardware was already workplace worthy, but iOS still required some workarounds for things to go smoothly. iOS 11 may change that when it arrives later this year.


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Galaxy S8 and S8+ case roundup: Protect your investment in style

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:00:00 -0700


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Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer review: Smart lighting, plus a snazzy dimmer

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 04:00:00 -0700

This in-wall dimmer switch gives your room an instant upgrade.


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Iris Smart Hub (2017) review: Lowe’s offers an affordable smart-home system for the hacker mindset

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

A new professional monitoring option puts the focus squarely on security.


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Intel Core i9 review: The fastest consumer CPU prepares for Ryzen war

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 06:00:00 -0700

We’re reviewing the first Core i9 chip—Intel’s 10-core Core i9-7900X ($1,000 on Newegg)—as a veritable CPU storm looms. Sure, Core i9 blew in as the most powerful CPU the company has ever sold to consumers, and it’s currently the fastest Core-series CPU available. But an ill wind is blowing: AMD’s Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 chips offer stiff competition in the low end, while its massive 12-core and 16-core Threadripper CPUs loom on the high end.

Because there’s so much to say about Core i9, we put the prices, features and FAQs into a separate story you’ll want to read for background. For this review, we’ll walk through some of the under-the-hood issues directly related to performance, and then we’ll dive into the benchmarks. 

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Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Review: Active noise cancellation on a budget

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

But the low price tag comes at the cost of other desirable features.


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iPad Pro 10.5 review: Meet the best iPad Apple has ever made

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Apple has perfected the iPad Pro with this year's new 10.5-inch model, which is faster, bigger, and better than its already-powerful predecessor.


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Microsoft Surface Pro (2017): Everything you need to know

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 15:20:00 -0700

Updated June 15: We have our official review of the Surface Pro, which we’ve added below. 

With the the Surface Pro (2017), Microsoft has rebooted its flagship Surface product, one of the leading 2-in-1s in the category. It’s also shedding the numerical designations of prior products. If you’ve owned a Surface Pro 4, however, you already have a good idea of what Microsoft has in store for you with the new Surface Pro. 

We’ve assembled everything we know about the new Surface Pro: the price and release date, the specs, and our official review. We’ve also answered some of the questions we think you’ll have about Microsoft’s new device.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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The best laptops of 2017: Ultrabooks, budget PCs, 2-in-1s, and more

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:44:00 -0700

Choosing the best laptop can be difficult these days. With companies like Dell, HP, Acer, and Asus continually launching updates of popular notebooks and expansions of product lines, we’re all but swimming in options right now.

Summer will push even more convertibles, 2-in-1s, and traditional notebooks onto store shelves. The most interesting ones poke holes in existing assumptions about certain categories. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, for example, is an attempt to revive the company’s battle with Chromebooks, while Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming—our “Best budget gaming laptop” pick—offers 1080p gaming for just $850. Vendors also are serious about squeezing AMD’s new CPUs into their lineups, with Asus recently debuting the first Ryzen laptop at Computex.

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Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) review: More power for more money

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Set Microsoft’s Surface Pro (2017) next to its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4, and I defy you to tell the difference. With the same dimensions and weight, the two are virtually indistinguishable—a kickstand that reclines further and a few cosmetic changes are all that separate them. What sells the new Surface Pro, though, is on the inside: a dramatic upgrade to the processor and graphics that propels it to the head of the 2-in-1 class.

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Samsung Galaxy Book review: An excellent 2-in-1 for a good price

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Samsung’s Galaxy Book is a 2-in-1 tablet with a detachable keyboard that gets pretty much everything you care about right. Its price, performance, and battery life are all among the best we’ve tested.

While it lacks the razzle-dazzle of flagships like the new Surface Pro, it's still the sort of all-around performer that will attract a buyer looking for good value. Samsung’s only real swing and miss is a somewhat gimmicky integration with its Galaxy smartphones, which replaces the Windows Hello features that are becoming more common.

(image) Adam Patrick Murray

Price: Galaxy Book's value proposition

While some competing 2-in-1 products we’ve reviewed cost upwards of $1,400, the version of the Samsung Galaxy Book we tested ships for $1,300. The price includes 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, plus optional LTE connectivity via Verizon. A more full-featured version starts with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. There’s also a microSD card slot that accepts cards up to 256GB. Inside you’ll find 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 4.1 BLE. 

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Stack Downlight Starter Kit review: These truly smart bulbs practically think for themselves

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 05:00:00 -0700

These white LED bulbs can automatically adjust their color temperature based on the time.


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Surface Pro 2017 Review

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Microsoft's new Surface Pro (2017) Windows tablet packs the power of Intel's new Kaby Lake chip inside, offering a powerful, pricey upgrade to the Surface Pro 4.


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Best color LED smart bulbs

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:00:00 -0700

Smart color light bulbs—LED-based bulbs that can be controlled by a smartphone and “tuned” to emit any hue in the rainbow—are no longer a new idea. What is new is how far this technology has come since its advent just a few years ago. Also new: Products like the Nanoleaf Aurora that fundamentally change the light bulb concept. Aurora is a system of interlocking LED panels that let you decorate with light. You'll find our review here.

Color LED bulbs aren’t quite a commodity yet, but they are getting close to maturity as far as the market goes (the Aurora being an exception). Today’s bulbs are more compact, much brighter, have better color representation, and, for the most part, feature control apps that do more than ever, and are easier to set up. Prices have also come down, with some no-name color-tunable bulbs now available for less than $10 each. (Buyer beware: You get what you pay for.)

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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MartinLogan Unison review: This DTS Play-Fi and AirPlay preamp will stream anything—including your vinyl

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

The Unison will stream just about any audio source in your home—including hi-res audio—while correcting your room's acoustic anomalies with Anthem Room Correction.


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Nanoleaf Aurora review: Forget smart light bulbs, light up the entire wall

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

This modular, wall-mountable LED system is giddily entertaining.


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Logitech Brio 4K Pro review: A superb webcam ready for a ultra high-resolution world

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 04:30:00 -0700

To understand just how far webcams have come since the stuttering, pixelated video streams of yore, look no further than the Logitech Brio 4K Pro. With support for 4K recording, high dynamic range, and 5X zoom, it offers a level of video quality that surpasses the needs of most users.

But while casual Skype callers might not dramatically benefit from pixel-popping resolution or more accurate colors, streamers, vloggers, and tech enthusiasts certainly can. In fact, the Brio 4K Pro makes a costly DIY setup far less necessary to produce higher-quality video.

Compact and feature-packed 

The Brio stuffs all of its power in a pretty slim package. It’s just four inches wide and one inch high and deep. Thanks in part to its metallic-gray aluminum casing, the camera is a lightweight two ounces.

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The System76 Galago Pro is a fierce featherweight competitor for Linux lovers

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 04:00:00 -0700

For most people running Linux on a laptop, chances are they had to go through the ritual of wiping Windows and installing the Linux OS. It’s a time-honored tradition in the Linux world, but things are slowly changing, with Linux now coming preinstalled on some very nice portables. Case in point: the ultralight System76 Galago Pro, a laptop that pleasantly surprised me more than once.

System76? Never heard of 'em

Traditionally, getting your laptop to work with Linux can be a pain. Old ThinkPads are still a favorite among Linux users for their reliability and compatibility with the Linux kernel. And though modern kernels have come a long way in hardware compatibility, just grabbing a laptop and hoping for the best can still be a big gamble. 

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HTC U11 review: A powerful Android phone that knows how to have fun

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

The annals of Android are littered with one-and-done gimmicks that were originally hailed as the next big thing. Indeed, from slide-out game pads to built-in projectors, way too many Android phones have included features that never caught on. So, will the new Edge Sense feature in the HTC U11 meet a similar fate? Probably. But the U11 is still a great phone that’s fun to use.

A more pocketable version of the ill-conceived U Ultra, HTC’s newest flagship isn’t just another spec’d-out handset with good looks and a great camera. The new Edge Sense feature lets you launch apps and actions by squeezing the sides of the phone. It’s a gimmick for sure, but one of the funnest gimmicks ever to grace an Android handset.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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