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Preview: PC World Latest Technology Reviews

PCWorld Reviews





Published: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:02:56 -0700

Last Build Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:02:56 -0700

 



Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD review: Everything you want in a battery pack

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:48:00 -0700


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Samsung Fast Charge Portable Battery Pack 5100 review: Slim, portable, and full of energy

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700

Note: The following is part of our roundup of USB-C battery packs. Go there for details on how we tested this device.

Samsung may have earned the honor of being at the end of random battery jokes, and suggesting a battery pack from Samsung may seem unlikely. But just put the Note 7 debacle in a box—keep it there, just in case something else bad happens.

Now, look at the Fast Charge Portable Battery Pack 5100. This $59 pack has a 5100 mAh (19.38Wh) capacity, is slightly thicker than a Galaxy S8, and is easy on the eyes.
A carrying loop sticks out of the top, with a power button and a USB-C port for charging the pack found on one side. On the other side you’ll find a USB-A port, used to charge your phone.

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RAVPower 20100 review: USB-C and QC 3.0 together

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700


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Aukey 30000 PowerBank with Power Delivery review: A respectable upgrade

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700

Note: The following is part of our roundup of USB-C battery packs. Go there for details on how we tested this device.

The Aukey 30000 Power Bank was last year’s top pick, despite a couple of flaws. Its price point, combined with Quick Charge (QC) 3.0 and a handy flashlight (as gimmicky as it may sound) were enough to propel it to the top.

The current model (available for $80 on Amazon) adds Power Delivery (PD) charging, extending its compatibility to more devices, such as a MacBooks.

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Elgato Stream Deck review: A streamer's best friend

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 03:37:00 -0700

Pro-grade equipment at a bargain price. That’s the reputation Elgato earned as first YouTube videos and then Twitch streaming took over video games. Straddling a line between hobbyist and professional-grade—a line that’s hard to walk competently, I might add—Elgato’s capture cards have become a mainstay of streamers at all levels.

The Stream Deck, Elgato’s latest piece of hardware, is something altogether different: A video switcher (or mixer), not a capture card. But aside from some early-days software issues, it’s poised to be just as important a piece of kit for a certain tier of creatives.

Power at your fingertips

Video switchers are a fairly standard (and boring) part of multi-camera broadcasts. If you’ve ever watched a sporting event or another live broadcast, chances are a switcher was employed—it allows a producer to switch between multiple camera feeds on the fly, rather than sticking a camera on a tripod and calling it a day. Usually it’s a big gray rectangle full of dials, levers, and color-coded buttons.

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Netgear Arlo Go review: This security camera lets you roam free

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

This indoor/outdoor security camera runs on batteries and a cellular connection, It doesn't need to be in range of your Wi-Fi network.


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

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:35:00 -0700


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Kobo Aura H20 Edition 2 review: A waterproof e-reader worthy of your consideration

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:00:00 -0700

While not indestructible, this Kindle competitor can survive being submerged in water.


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Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) review: This low-cost laptop provides incredible value

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 03:30:00 -0700

Anyone who’s researched sub-$500 laptops in recent months will know the Acer Aspire E 15. For a while now, the E5-575-33BM model has maintained its status as a best-selling laptop on Amazon. In fact, it’s often been the top seller.

Looking at specs, it’s easy to see why this cheaper version of the Aspire E 15 is so popular. For just $350, you get a Core i3 processor, a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080, a 1TB storage drive, and Windows 10. Typically 15-inch laptops in the $300 range only offer 1366x768 screens.

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Emerson Sensi Touch review: A big step up from the first-generation, but it’s not as deluxe as the competition

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

This is a smart and stylish thermostat, but it’s not in the same league as Nest or Ecobee.


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Samsung T5 review: USB 3.1 Gen 2 makes the best SSD even better

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:00:00 -0700

We’ve been fans of Samsung’s super-svelte T series USB SSDs since their introduction in the form of the T1. They’re small, light, silent, nearly indestructible, attractively styled—and the T1’s 300MBps performance over USB was a kick in the pants when we first experienced it.

The follow-on T3 added a Type-C connector and Gen 1 USB 3.1, but overall performance was only a marginally better. With the T5, the company has gone state-of-the-art with 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2, and the performance increase is now noticeable. Very noticeable. We like it.

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Windows 10 S review: Microsoft's OS for students is hard to love

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Windows 10 S is what happens when a once-easygoing operating system has kids and turns into a helicopter parent. Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows 10 found on the Surface Laptop and a small group of low-cost, third-party notebooks, keeps students safe and secure by restricting them to the Windows Store. But as our review shows, the lack of freedom chafes.

Locking your PC away from the big, bad, outside world makes sense when your children are going off to high school or college, Microsoft thinks. But even the most dutiful parent will wonder why their child can’t use Chrome to beam YouTube videos to a Chromecast, print on some local printers, or protect their PC with anything other than Windows Defender. There’s always an escape hatch: a simple upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. But otherwise, Windows 10 S can be an exercise in frustration.

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BloomSky weather station/webcam review: Your eye on the sky

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0700

More webcam than weather station (unless you purchase an add-on kit), BloomSky still holds some appeal as an adjunct tool for weather enthusiasts.


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Best smart thermostat

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 04:35:00 -0700

There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.


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SteelSeries Rival 500 mouse review: Innovative design we hope to see more of

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 04:00:00 -0700

What’s all this under my thumb? That’s the first thought I had when using the SteelSeries Rival 500 mouse (available for $80 on Amazon), and most likely the first thought anyone would have with this device—there’s a lot to take in. But is a unique and intuitive layout under the thumb enough to make up for the Rival 500’s shortcomings? Or is it just one standout feature that’ll hopefully carry forward into other, better mice in the future?

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Zenfone AR review: A better phone for Tango AR but far from perfect

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 03:30:00 -0700

The Asus Zenfone AR is a study in contrasts. On one hand, it has last year’s Snapdragon 821 processor... but it also packs up to 8GB of RAM. It has three rear cameras... but only one is used for taking photos. And while the Zenfone AR is on the bleeding edge of Google’s Tango AR and Daydream VR ambitions, it doesn’t have common premium features such as wireless charging and water resistance.

(image) Chris Hebert/IDG

Don’t be fooled by the design—there’s an array of tech inside.

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Corsair K95 RGB Platinum review: The luxury car of keyboards

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:19:00 -0700

It’s been a while since we’ve taken an in-depth look at one of Corsair’s keyboards, but the K95 RGB Platinum is a great reason to return. It is the luxury sedan of keyboards, dominating any desk it graces, both in sheer size and an impressive light-show that (for the moment) outshines all its competitors. Is it a bit gaudy? Sure. Everything about it is flashy, oversized, and slightly ridiculous.

But that’s luxury, right?

Sportier design

The craziest bit is that the K95 RGB Platinum is actually slimmed down from the K90/95 of old. Where once the K90 line sported 18 (yes, eighteen) macro keys on the left side of the keyboard, the new K95 RGB Platinum now has six.

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Best Bluetooth speakers

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:38:00 -0700

Updated August 14, 2017 to add our review of the JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker, which we've named to the new category of best $100 Bluetooth speaker.

There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.

The industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we’ve picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and—yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers—price is no object. We also added an outdoor category to our coverage, with Soundcast's VG7 the first to win our praise, with the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ taking the runner-up spot.

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AMD Radeon RX Vega review: Vega 56, Vega 64, and liquid-cooled Vega 64 tested

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 06:00:00 -0700

After months of teases and delays, the wait for Vega is finally over. On Monday, AMD launches its flagship Radeon RX 64 lineup: the $499 Radeon RX Vega 64 and the $699 liquid-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64, which is only available as part of a convoluted “Radeon Aqua Pack” bundle. (Update: After the initial wave of availability, virtually all available air-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64 cards are only available in $599 Radeon Packs as well.) Reviews are also lifting for the $399 Radeon RX Vega 56, which will hit the streets on August 28. And for the first time in a long time—over a year, in fact—the Red Team is fielding high-end graphics cards capable of challenging Nvidia’s enthusiast-class hardware.

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Elgato Eve Degree review: This pricey sensor’s limited appeal is further narrowed by its HomeKit exclusivity

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 04:30:00 -0700

If you need to know the exact temperature and humidity inside your home, this stylish comfort gauge can work in concert with your HomeKit-based smart home.


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JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker review: Better-than-expected sound in a compact, waterproof enclosure

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

$100 isn’t chickenfeed, but this small speaker sounds like it should cost a lot more.


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Tacoma review: Telling a tale of the future

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Show, don’t tell. It’s one of filmmaking’s oldest adages—write for the screen. Don’t drag out in dialogue what’s better served through action, left unsaid, sequestered away in subtext.

I bring it up because Fullbright’s first game, Gone Home, was a master of subtext. Arriving at your family’s empty house in the middle of the night, you’re left wandering room to room, piecing together a story from the objects you find scattered about. An invoice, a rejection letter from a publisher, a milk carton, a scribbled drawing, an old newspaper clipping—Gone Home worked in subtleties, a family dynamic reduced to its material possessions.

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Davis Vantage Vue wireless weather station review: The Cadillac of home weather stations is showing its age

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Most any weather enthusiast will recommend Davis, but is the name alone still enough to justify the price tag?


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Primephonic review: Classical music fans get a high-res streaming service to call their own

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

This boutique service hits all the right notes with FLAC streams and high-resolution downloads.


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Zenfone AR hands-on

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 22:00:00 -0700

The Zenfone AR is only the second handset capable of running Tango apps. Here's a taste of what it can do.


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Ryzen Threadripper review: AMD's monster 1950X stomps on other CPUs

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 06:00:00 -0700


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Best soundbars

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.


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Ryzen Threadripper review

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Here's what you need to know about what is arguably the most powerful consumer CPU ever unleashed upon mankind.


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Hisense H9D Plus 4K UHD smart TV review: Great color, but not enough brightness to make HDR shine

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 04:30:00 -0700

This 55-inch TV doesn't offer a lot of peak brightness, but its wide color gamut helps with HDR.


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Alienware 17 R4 review: Worth its weight in performance

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 03:30:00 -0700

If there’s any gaming laptop as recognizable year-to-year as Razer’s Blade line, it’s probably Alienware’s. Following a redesign a few years back, the humbly named Alienware 17 has stayed pretty much the same ever since, at least on the outside.

And you know what that means: Time to hit the gym if you want to do anything with this laptop besides set it on a desk and forget about it.

The build: Bigfoot

The Alienware 17 R4 (currently priced at $2,549 on Amazon) is still so big. Just staggeringly huge. With so many following Razer’s lead and slimming down to actual laptop size as opposed to so-called “desktop replacements” proportions, I keep expecting Alienware to do the same.

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Honeywell Lyric C1 Wi-Fi Security Camera review: Excellent security and easy to use

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Honeywell's smart surveillance camera offers intelligent sound detection and motion-detection zones to assure you get only the most important alerts.


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