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Updated: 14 min 18 sec ago

Best soundbars to improve your TV's audio

Wed, 2019-08-28 06:00
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.

Logitech Z207 2.0 Stereo Computer Speakers review: Improved sound for all your devices

Tue, 2019-08-27 21:05

Most of us flit among multiple devices throughout the day, so it’s reasonable to expect our “computer” speakers to do so as well. Logitech’s Z207 speaker system was designed with this in mind. Supporting both wired and wireless connections, it can effortlessly switch from your PC to your tablet to your phone, bringing rich, room-filling sound to your media wherever it’s stored.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best budget computer speakers. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested. 

Each of the speaker enclosures measures about 9.5 x 3.5 x 4.9 inches (HWD) and weighs just over 2 pounds. They’re constructed entirely of plastic, including the attached stands. My review model had a matte-black finish, but they're also available in white. Both enclosures contain one uncovered speaker driver that handles the mid and high tones, and one passive radiator for the bass.

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Microsoft signals probable Surface launch event for Oct. 2

Tue, 2019-08-27 13:33

Microsoft has issued an invitation for an event on October 2 in New York City, the traditional time and place for new Surface hardware.

Microsoft isn’t explicitly tying the event to Surface—it’s billed as a “#MicrosoftEvent,” complete with hashtag, and with a line drawing of the Windows logo.That likely implies that Microsoft will be touting both new Surface hardware as well as new Windows 10 updates, together with the apps and services that connect to it.

Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 6, the Surface Laptop 2, the Surface Studio 2, and the Surface Headphones in October 2018. None dramatically revamped the Surface experience, though all of the computing hardware featured an updated, quad-core, 8th-gen Intel Core chip. Could the Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3, and a Surface Studio 3 be on the way?

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WoW Classic is a step back in time—and a step back for World of Warcraft

Tue, 2019-08-27 13:22

Few of us ever get a chance to start over from scratch, but last night World of Warcraft players got exactly that with the launch of WoW Classic.

Blizzard Entertainment’s “newest” game is essentially the popular massive multiplayer online roleplaying game exactly as it played in 2004, right down to molasses-paced quest text, a dearth of quest markers, and enemies so tough that you feel compelled to group up with other players to beat them. Together, features like these made World of Warcraft’s earliest incarnation more social than its current form, and almost 15 years ago they helped lay the foundation for some of the most enduring friendships of my life.

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The Full Nerd ep. 103: Comet Lake confusion, $500 budget PC battle, not buying RTX is 'crazy'

Tue, 2019-08-27 11:03

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray dive into Intel’s new Comet Lake CPUs (and its crazy 10th-gen Core product names), Nvidia’s CEO saying that buying a non-RTX GPU in 2019 is “crazy,” and finish things off with a heated $500 budget PC build battle. You can craft a great gaming rig without breaking the bank these days, friends.

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Alternatives for Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop and more

Tue, 2019-08-27 08:11

I remember when Adobe made the switch. In 2013, not long after I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite CS6 program, Adobe terminated the desktop versions of its software and launched Creative Cloud, offering subscription-based access only to its suite of products.

It's easy to understand why some users have been unhappy with Adobe's subscription model. A large corporation has the budget to shoulder monthly fees, but small businesses and home users may balk, especially for programs used only occasionally.

I love Adobe products, and I’ve used them since Photoshop version 2.5. I’ve also purchased Freehand and PageMaker, and the Macromedia products. They’re the best, hands-down. But a subset of users have largely left their beloved Adobe software behind for a variety of clones, shareware, and open-source products. 

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How the lack of pay-as-you-go SIMs are thwarting the always-connected PC

Tue, 2019-08-27 06:30

Anyone who’s used an LTE-connected laptop understands the sheer joy of mobile computing: always-on connectivity, wherever you are. But this vision will never be broadly accessible unless the wireless carriers sell us prepaid SIMs that can be topped up cheaply.

American consumers and carriers alike are comfortable with the notion that you own a phone and a wireless plan, and pay for one to power the other. But when you start adding devices to the mix, such as an Apple Watch or a 4G laptop, there are both technical issues and billing issues to overcome. 

The U.S. wireless carriers have convinced customers that a fixed monthly bill is in their best interest. Everywhere else in the world, pay-as-you-go SIMs flourish, allowing wireless devices to connect as needed, without unnecessary fees. 

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Monoprice Monolith desktop balanced headphone amplifer review: A high-value, high-performance audio component

Tue, 2019-08-27 06:00
This desktop headphone amp with THX AAA technology will bring out the best performance from your headphones.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey review: Where learning to sharpen a stick is a major achievement

Mon, 2019-08-26 09:26

Evolution is a series of small victories. So is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. Dumping you into a strange and unfeeling world, it forces you to explore, to experiment, to adapt, to survive by any means necessary. When day-to-day life is this hard-fought, even the small victories feel revelatory. First, learning how to snap off a dead tree branch. Then discovering you can move the tree branch from your right hand to your left. Stripping the smaller twigs off so you’re left with a smooth wooden rod. Finding a rock, and using it to sharpen the stick.

And finally, using that stick to kill the tiger that’s hounded you and your fellow apes for the last three million years.

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Control review: So good, you might finally stop asking for Alan Wake 2

Mon, 2019-08-26 09:00

A fake Christmas tree, undecorated. A stack of letters. A boat shaped like a swan. A “Get well soon!” balloon, inflated and floating. A stoplight. The exhibits go on and on down the hallway, white room after white room, identical but for the everyday object at the center of each one. Normal, ordinary objects—at least to the casual observer. But that baby carriage is emitting smoke, and you could swear you hear quacks echoing from a few rooms down.

You’re at the heart of the Federal Bureau of Control, and these aren’t exhibits—they’re cells. Each contains an Altered Item, some of the most dangerous objects on the planet. And, uh, some of them are missing.

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10 truly helpful Windows 10 tools you might not know about

Mon, 2019-08-26 07:39

So you’ve mastered Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts and Snap open windows like a boss. Now what?

Windows 10 offers many other power tools for enthusiasts—if you know where to find them. Some are older, yet still obscure. Others are relatively new, added during the twice-annual major upgrades Microsoft’s been pushing out since Windows 10 launched nearly four long years ago (though the second update looks to be minor this year). But all 10 of these little-used tricks and tools can help hardened PC users save time or eliminate headaches.

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EZVIZ CTQ6C pan-and-tilt camera review: Smart motion tracking keeps intruders in sight

Mon, 2019-08-26 07:00
This camera locks on to movement while recording to capture more complete evidence of a crime.

Ask a PC expert: Is it okay to buy a used CPU?

Mon, 2019-08-26 06:30

Look, processors aren’t cheap. People save pennies up for months to afford new computer hardware. But you can save some serious cash by buying used CPUs. Is the risk worth the reward?

Emotions run high when used parts come up. Some people swear by them; others swear never to buy them. Not all computer parts are as risky to buy used as others, however. PCWorld CPU guru Gordon Mah Ung dives into the complicated question by explaining why processors tend to be less risky to buy used than other PC hardware, then outlines several other considerations, such as where to find used gear you can trust and whether you’ll be able to find affordable motherboards for older chips.

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11 Apple Card features you can get elsewhere—and 4 you can’t

Mon, 2019-08-26 06:00
Good news: Choosing an Apple Card alternative doesn’t mean a life of deprivation.

Best gaming keyboards: Our picks for the top budget, mid-tier, and RGB boards

Fri, 2019-08-23 15:15

Choosing a gaming keyboard is a matter of personal taste. To that point, there are a plethora of options, with a dizzying mix of features. One person could be into Cherry Browns and white backlighting. Another might favor Razer Greens and a rippling RGB glow. Gigantic wrist pads, compact shapes, numeric keypads, macro keys, volume controls.... You get the picture

To help you sort through the many options, we’ve rounded up a large number of planks, putting them through their paces, to come up with our top recommendations. All of these are mechanical keyboards, and for good reason—they’re simply more comfortable to use over the long haul. But we’re open-minded, so if we encounter an alternative that works well, you may see it appear on this list. We’ll keep updating it periodically as we test new keyboards.

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Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 4 review: The resurrection continues with this surprisingly normal keyboard

Fri, 2019-08-23 06:30

Maybe you heard, Mad Catz is back from the dead. And so far it’s been a rousing return! We looked at the return of the famed R.A.T. earlier this year and came away impressed. Sure, it’s not to everyone’s taste, but you won’t find a mouse that modular anywhere else. It’s a unique design, befitting a comeback.

But the S.T.R.I.K.E.? I admit, I don’t have the same nostalgia for Mad Catz’s keyboard efforts. Nevertheless, we went hands-on with the Strike 4 (because there’s no way in hell I’m typing that as a faux-acronym every time) to see whether Mad Catz could become a multi-market threat, or whether it should stick to mice to avoid a second bankruptcy.

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Anker SoundCore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones review: Comfy and inexpensive with surprisingly rich sound

Fri, 2019-08-23 06:00
The SoundCore Life Q20 headphone surprised us with its rich, lifelike sound and a comfortable fit that allowed for lengthy listening sessions.

Ask a PC expert: Should you upgrade your Core i7-2600K?

Fri, 2019-08-23 06:00

Intel’s quad-core, eight-thread Core i7-2600K came this close to cracking our Full Nerd podcast’s inaugural PC Hall of Fame and for damned good reason. The Sandy Bridge-era flagship delivered a near-perfect enthusiast experience for the time, piling on threads while simultaneously loading up spectacular single-thread performance—the opposite of Bulldozer, AMD’s disastrous rival CPU architecture. Sandy Bridge was significantly faster than what came before it.

And it overclocked like a beast too! Hang around forums long enough and you’ll undoubtedly run into old-timers waxing poetic about pushing the processor to 4.7GHz without breaking a sweat. The Core i7-2600K kicked so much ass that it still powers some gaming PCs eight long years about its debut.

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Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy

Thu, 2019-08-22 21:58

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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Best power banks of 2019: The top USB portable chargers for your phone

Thu, 2019-08-22 13:44

Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a backup power bank. But given the large number of options on Amazon, you might feel overwhelmed, understandably. Besides the various charging specs, ports, and even cables you have to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. It’s common to see products from Anker, Mophie, and MyCharge, but how do you know which ones deliver on their promises? Is it worth saving a few bucks if a battery pack’s performance is lacking?

As for the latter, be advised: Amazon voluntarily recalled six different models of its AmazonBasics-branded external power banks after they were found to potentially overheat.

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