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Get extra savings off this flight deal alert service now
Mon, 26 Feb 2024 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Traveling the world is a noble aspiration, but it’s also a very expensive one — especially these days. As airfare goes up, you can fight back with the help of Dollar Flight Club. This leading flight deal alert service monitors thousands of flights around the world every day and lets you know when to get the best fares to destinations all over the world. Right now, you can get a lifetime Premium or Premium Plus+ subscription at an extra discount. Dollar Flight Club has helped more than one million members worldwide save on airfare. Condé Nast Traveler writes, “Dollar Flight Club has an impressive track record hunting down low-priced seats.” All you have to do is enter your departure airport(s), and Dollar Flight Club gets to work, sending you the best fares to destinations from your airport. You can save thousands on international flights or hundreds on domestic flights, and even find deals in first class with a Premium Plus+ subscription. Right now, you can get a lifetime Premium subscription for just $39.97 (reg. $690), or a lifetime Premium Plus+ subscription for just $59.97 (reg. $1,690). No coupon is needed.   Dollar Flight Club Premium Plus+ Lifetime Subscription (Save up to $2K on Business, Premium Economy & Economy Class) – $59.97 See Deal   Dollar Flight Club Premium Lifetime Subscription (Save up to $2000 on Domestic & International Flight Deals) – $39.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
New ThinkPad T laptops get more repairable with help from iFixit
Sun, 25 Feb 2024 23:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Lenovo’s ThinkPad brand is the go-to pick if you want a giant fleet of corporate laptops that can take a beating. But as they’ve become sleeker and more modern, they’ve also adopted a lot of the trappings of those modern designs, including more restrictive internals and fewer options for upgrading after purchase. With the latest refresh of the much-loved T series, Lenovo got a little help from some experts on how to make a modern laptop that keeps your options open. A new X series detachable and ThinkBook convertible round out today’s new announcements. ThinkPad T14, T14i, and T14s Gen 5 The bread and butter of the ThinkPad family, the T14 strikes a balance between portability and utility. Now in its fifth generation since replacing the T400 series, it’s being offered in both Intel and AMD varieties. While they all have the distinctive “Communications Bar” on the top of the lid as seen on the Z series, the headline feature of the latest models is that Lenovo has adjusted its internal design in order to be more repairable and serviceable by the end user (or their IT department). According to the promotional material, the designers consulted iFixit for hardware revisions and repair guides, resulting in the final laptops getting a 9.3 score for repairability. They all have user-accessible RAM DIMM slots, which is becoming a rarity for modern laptops. Lenovo The T14 Gen 5 can be configured with the latest Core Ultra or Ryzen 8040 processors, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of Gen 4 M.2 storage. The screens are surprisingly robust for ThinkPads as well, topping out at a 2.8K OLED with 120Hz, something that wouldn’t look out of place on a gaming laptop. Fingerprint readers, IR cameras for Windows Hello, and the ThinkPad’s usual manual camera shutter for privacy are all present. Double USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 4 if you go with Intel), double USB-A, HDMI, and an Ethernet port give you plenty of connection options, with 5G and LTE choices if you want an always-on mobile connection. Graphics are integrated (Arc or Radeon) on all versions. The 0.7-inch, 1.3-kg (2.86 pounds) laptop starts at $1,199 for the Intel (T14i) variant, on sale starting in April. The AMD version, sans “i,” will be considerably cheaper at $949 with a May launch. Adam Patrick Murray/Foundry For a slightly sleeker take on the ThinkPad middle ground, the T14s offers more or less the same design in a skinnier 0.65-inch body that shaves .06 kilograms off weight, despite having a bigger 58 watt-hour battery. (The Ethernet port had to be kicked to the curb, though.) Other specifications are more or less identical, but AMD processors aren’t available with the 14s, and this model is notably absent when Lenovo talks up its new repairability standard. Reading between the lines, I’m guessing that means that one or both of the RAM DIMMs won’t be user-replaceable. The ThinkPad T14s starts at $1,399 and will be available in April. ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 Adam Patrick Murray/IDG The bigger brother ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 has more or less all the same features as the T14, but AMD is off the table. The extra 0.22-inch thickness and 0.33 kilograms allows for a roomier 52.5 watt-hour battery, or 86Wh if you spring for the upgrade. Speaking of which, it gets an even better 16-inch 4K OLED screen at the top end. It also has a full-sized keyboard for data entry fans. It’ll go on sale starting in April for $1,219, just a hair more expensive than the base model 14-incher. Adam Patrick Murray/Foundry ThinkPad X12 tablet Gen 2 Adam Patrick Murray/Foundry Lenovo has made a few tablets with the ThinkPad brand in a few different flavors, but finally seems to have settled on a Surface-style detachable with the X12. The second-gen version uses a 3:2 IPS display and Core Ultra U processors to extend battery life in that compact body, but tops out at 32GB of memory and 1TB of storage. The detachable magnetic keyboard comes in the box, something Microsoft still refuses to do for the Surface, though a powered stylus is a paid extra. You also get a fingerprint reader and IR camera, dual USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 4), and optional 5G or LTE. The 0.75-pound package, keyboard included, will cost $1,399 and up when it launches in April. Adam Patrick Murray/Foundry ThinkBook 14 Gen 4 Adam Patrick Murray/Foundry A little less premium and a little more flexible, the ThinkBook 14 Gen 4 uses a Yoga-style convertible touchscreen body. It’s considerably thinner than the last version at 16.85mm/0.74 inches, despite a deeper 1.5mm key travel on the keyboard. Intel-powered internals top out at 64GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. That touchscreen is a standard IPS LCD with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and it offers double USB-C, double USB-A, HDMI, and MicroSD card slots. Note that while you get a fingerprint reader integrated with the power button, the Windows Hello IR camera is an optional upgrade. It’s also on the heavy side for a 14-incher at 1.64 kilograms, or 3.61 pounds. Prices start at $1,169 when it launches in March. Laptops
This Lenovo laptop is totally see-through and cool as hell
Sun, 25 Feb 2024 23:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Today at Barcelona’s MWC 2024, Lenovo announced its ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop concept and I’ve never been as equally confused as I am delighted. The laptop’s borderless display looks more like a pane of glass than an actual screen. The keyboard is transparent, too. Is it cool? Heck yeah! Will this concept ever come to exist in our reality? I’m not sure (probably not), but I’m hopeful. I enjoy innovative laptops as much as the next person, but I do have to wonder… who is this for? What can this transparent display do that a non-transparent display cannot? Read on to find out. Looking to pick up a brand new laptop? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops available right now. Lenovo ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop Lenovo The Lenovo ThinkPad Display Laptop, seen in the image above, comes with a 17.3-inch Micro-LED display. These types of displays have much smaller pixels, which results in a higher color gamut. They also tend to be brighter and more efficient than OLED displays. The keyboard is completely flat and touch-sensitive, and you’ll be able to switch between the keyboard and drawing board with a stylus. The display will also blend into the background due to its see-through nature, if that’s your cup of tea. According to Lenovo, you can expect 1,000 nits of brightness, meaning you should be able to use this laptop both indoors and outdoors. Supposedly, it’ll even be able to interact with objects in real space. No information yet on the hardware inside of this machine, but if I had to guess, it would probably include the latest Intel Core Ultra chip. While I can definitely appreciate the out-the-box thinking when it comes to design and innovation, I’m unable to tame this niggling thought… imagine the copious amounts of fingerprints the screen and keyboard will attract. I shudder to think of it. This product is simply a proof of concept as of this writing and is not currently available to purchase. Laptops
Best PC computer deals: Top picks from desktops to all-in-ones
Sun, 25 Feb 2024 22:49:01 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Whether you’re looking for a productivity desktop, a gaming PC powerhouse, or a stylish all-in-one Windows machine, we’ve got you covered. The team at PCWorld sort through all of the daily computer sales and put together a curated list of the best deals available. But not all deals are really deals, so we only choose those offered by reputable companies and that include great hardware to ensure you get the best value for your money. We’ve also included some helpful answers to common questions about buying a computer at the bottom of this article. If you’re considering a laptop instead, be sure to check out our best laptop deals, updated daily. Note: Tech deals come and go quickly, so it’s possible some of these computer discounts will have expired before this article’s next update. Best gaming desktop computer deals HP Victus 15L, Core i7/RTX 3060/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/1TB HDD, $829.99 (41% off on HP) Acer Predator Orion 5000, Core i7/RTX 3080/16GB RAM/1TB SSD, $1,499.99 (32% off on BestBuy) CLX Gaming Desktop, Core i9/RTX 4070/64GB RAM/2TB SSD/6TB HDD, $2,589.99 (19% off on Adorama) HP Omen 45L, Core i7/RTX 3070/16GB RAM/1TB SSD, $1,249.99 (37% off on Adorama) Yeyian Tanto, Core i5/RTX 4070/16GB RAM/1TB SSD, $1,159.00 (27% off on Newegg) Skytech Azure, Ryzen 7/RTX 4060/16GB RAM/1TB SSD, $1,099.99 (8% off on Amazon) Lenovo Legion 5i, Core i5/RTX 3060/16GB RAM/512GB SSD, $929.99 (26% off on BestBuy) My top picks: Desktops rocking the RTX 3060 GPU can still be good budget gaming rigs and the prices have dropped significantly over the last year. The HP Victus 15L deal for $450 off on HP is a great example. The combo of an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU will still give you quality 1080p gaming power and there is a ton of onboard storage to cover your entire game library. For those who need a computer that can moonlight as a high-end gaming rig while still tearing through content creation projects by day, look no further than the CLX Gaming Desktop deal for $610 off on Adorama. This beast of a machine comes with 64GB of RAM and a total of 8TB—yes, I said 8TB—of onboard storage. It also packs a Core i9 processor and RTX 4070 GPU to provide superb 1440p gaming. Best mainstream desktop computer deals IdeaCentre Mini, Core i5/8GB RAM/512GB SSD, $519.99 (20% off on Lenovo) MSI Cubi, Core i5/8GB RAM/512GB SSD, $469.99 (31% off on Adorama) HP Pavilion Desktop, Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/2TB HDD, $829.99 (17% off on HP) IdeaCentre Mini, Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD, $749.99 (12% off on BestBuy) My top picks: Deals on Mini-PCs this week don’t disappoint. The two best deals I’ve found include the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini for $130 off on Lenovo and the MSI Cubi for $209 off on Adorama. Both of them come with almost exactly the same specs, but ultimately if I had to choose, I’d go with the MSI Cubi as you can save yourself some money and at this price range that’s likely the most important factor. If a mini-PC isn’t your cup of tea, then the HP Pavilion Desktop for $170 off on HP is also a solid deal for a productivity machine. It comes with a strong Core i7 CPU and more storage than you know what to do with. Best all-in-one computer deals All-in-one desktop computers combine a PC’s hardware with a modern display to make a desktop computer that has both form and function. Since everything is built together, you can save precious desktop space with an all-in-one. They make capable work computers and they can also be excellent home computers with the wide range of features appealing to the whole family. IdeaCentre AiO 3, Ryzen 5/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/27-inch 1080p touch display, $699.99 (17% off on Lenovo) Yoga AiO 9i, Core i9/Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/31.5-inch 4K display, $1,599.99 (19% off on Lenovo) HP Envy AiO 34, Core i5/GTX 1650/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/34-inch 5K display, $1,499.99 (25% off on HP) Apple iMac, Core i5/Radeon Pro 5300/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/27-inch 5K display, $1,129.99 (44% off on Adorama) My top picks: Lenovo is running two great discounts on its all-in-one computers with both the IdeaCentre AiO 3 for $150 off and the flagship Yoga AiO 9i for $280 off on Lenovo’s website. Both are loaded with solid performance features. Plus, you’ll also get the reliability that comes with any Lenovo computer. If you can swing it, I would personally recommend the recently redesigned Yoga AiO 9i, which sports a very powerful Core i9-13900H CPU and a gorgeous 4K display. If you have the desktop space, the HP Envy AiO 34 is about as big and beautiful as an all-in-one gets with a 34-inch 5K ultra-widescreen display. It’s currently on sale for $500 off on HP. Oh, and it even comes with a discrete graphics card too—that’s practically unheard of with an all-in-one. Computer deals FAQ 1. What are good websites to find computer deals? There are a ton of sites that sell computers, and scouring through all of them would take you a lot of time—that’s why we do it for you here and highlight the best deals we find. However, to save you some time and frustration, you need to be smart about where you look at any given time of the year. If you’re looking for a new computer during the holidays or around popular sale periods such as Black Friday or back-to-school, then you are likely to find great deals directly through first party vendor websites. These include the retail storefronts of popular computer manufacturers such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. However, if you are looking in between sales periods, it’s generally a good idea to search through large third-party retailers such as Amazon, Adorama, Walmart, BestBuy, and Newegg. Oftentimes these websites will offer limited Deals of the Day type sales in hopes of getting rid of excess stock. On the upside, you can score still-decent PCs at a steep discount. 2. When’s the best time to shop for a PC computer? Typically you’ll want to time your PC computer shopping around a prominent sales period. The biggest sales periods are Black Friday/Cyber Monday in late November and Amazon Prime Day in early-to-mid July. The best sales often occur leading up to and during these two events and they are great times to snag a new PC computer for cheap. Other holiday shopping periods such as the New Year sales in January, President’s Day sales in April, and the back-to-school sales event in August are also good times to find discounts on computers. 3. What type of desktop should I get? You’ll see a ton of options when searching for a desktop computer, but they all mainly fit into four main categories: productivity tower PCs, gaming PCs, mini PCS, and all-in-ones (AiO). Which you should end up buying is entirely dependent upon what your needs are and what you want to do with your computer. If you are looking for something that will work in a home office or family room, then a productivity PC or AiO with a solid CPU and lots of RAM and storage is probably the way to go. If gaming is your main concern, a gaming PC can offer a lot more bang for your buck than a laptop and you should focus on getting the best GPU possible. Or if you just want something that can fit anywhere and provide basic computing then a mini PC is a good bet. 4. What CPU and GPU should I get? When looking at your new computer’s CPU, get at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5, both of which will provide plenty of processing power for everyday computing tasks. If you don’t intend to do any PC gaming, then feel free to save some money by going with integrated graphics. However, if you are looking to get your game on, we recommend at least an Nvidia GeForce 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT, as these are the least expensive discrete graphics cards that can handle ray tracing well. If you aren’t interested in those cutting-edge lighting effects, however, the RTX 3050 and Radeon RX 6600 also provide good 1080p gaming performance at even lower prices. 5. How much memory and storage does my PC need? As for RAM, we think its best to shoot for 16GB at the minimum for productivity and gaming, but for family computers and internet browsing, 8GB should suffice. Storage size is dependent upon your personal needs, but it is generally a good idea to opt for an SSD over an standard HDD as they are much faster and don’t significantly affect the price of a desktop. Before deciding, it’s best to consider what your intended use of the computer will be. Are you just doing work or web browsing? Then something like 512GB will be plenty. If you want to load up a lot of large files such as games or content creation projects, then you’ll need at least 1 or 2TB or storage. However, just remember that even if your computer doesn’t have enough storage built-in you can always upgrade your SSD or go with an external drive to increase your available storage options. 6. Is it a good idea to buy a refurbished computer? Refurbished computers are used machines that have been repaired, upgraded, and cleaned for the purpose of reselling. They’re usually open-box returns, overstock, or models with minor cosmetic damage (scratches, scuffs, etc). Refurbished computers can be a bargain hunter’s dream as they’re likely still in good (or great) condition and you can save a lot of money. That being said, refurbished computers can have their downsides as well. In addition to cosmetic blemishes, some of the internal components might be a little older or outdated and they might not be in peak condition due to previous usage. If you do consider buying a refurbished computer I recommend looking at eBay as they offer a one-year warranty. You can also check out manufacturer’s retail storefronts like Dell’s Outlet Store and Apple’s Refurbished Store—just be sure to look at the terms of warranty offered before purchasing. Desktop PCs, Gaming Desktop PCs
This AI-powered drone makes sharing sky-high imagery easy
Sun, 25 Feb 2024 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Flying a drone and capturing photographs and videos can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. Of course, doing it all at once can also be overwhelming, which is an area where we can lean on AI for help. For example, you can get this AIR NEO AI-Powered Autofly™ Camera Drone on sale for just $129.97 (reg. $159) for this week only.  Equipped with AI-powered autofly technology, this impressive drone is easy to take out into the world to your favorite adventure spots with a pocket-sized, ultra-light design. In addition to flying the drone for you while you find the perfect shot, the AIR NEO supports instant social sharing with its partner Robust AirSelfie app, which is designed for direct and easy sharing.  You can get this AIR NEO AI-Powered Autofly™ Camera Drone on sale for just $129.97 (reg. $159) for this week only.   AIR NEO AI-Powered Autofly™ Camera Drone – $129.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
These open-ear headphones are only $30 this week
Sat, 24 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Listening to music can be a lifesaving practice, but it can also get in the way of things by cutting you off from the outside world. Thanks to induction technology and open-ear headphones, you can now listen to music while keeping your ears open for conversations. This week only, you can get these Open-Ear Conduction Stereo Wireless Headphones on sale for just $29.97 (reg. $79). These headphones rest easily and comfortably over your ears and then send the audio directly to your inner ear from the outside. They are built to withstand the elements with IPX6 water resistance, and they come compatible with apps like SIRI and others that operate with voice commands. They also promise 6 hours of battery life on a full charge.  One recent five-star review said, “Highly recommend, very good sound quality!” Discover why during this limited-time deal.  This week only, you can get these Open-Ear Conduction Stereo Wireless Headphones on sale for just $29.97 (reg. $79).    Open-Ear Conduction Stereo Wireless Headphones – $29.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
Power up everything wirelessly with $60 off a 4-in-1 fast-charging hub
Sat, 24 Feb 2024 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Phone, watch, earbuds, tablet, we’ve all got a lot of stuff that needs to stay topped up. This fast charge 4-in-one wireless charging station can take on three of your essentials, with a fourth wired USB port for another, and this week it’s available at a special price. The station itself has three wireless docks. The phone charger has a back stand that lets you use your phone while it charges, ideal for personal tasks and managing media. The watch stand rests at an angle that tilts your watch band out of the way while making it easy to charge, and your earbuds can get some energy sitting underneath it. A USB port in the back gives you an extra wired connection as well. The 15W charger provides speed as well as energy, and the matte black plastic design is sturdy and light. It’ll fit in on your desk, by your bed, or anywhere you need batteries filled. Get a 4-in-1 wireless fast-charging station for $39.97, $60 off the $99 MSRP, only through this week.   Fast Charge 4-in-1 Wireless Charging Hub – $39.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
Cooler Master’s new gaming keyboard is freakin’ adorable
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 15:59:04 +0000
Source: PCWorld
A few weeks ago I made the case that we need a little more variety when it comes to style in our PC components. While accessories don’t have nearly the same problem — you can get keyboards in an almost literal rainbow of colors — “gaming” devices seem to be stuck on black and RGB lighting, with only the occasional white variant. Cooler Master’s latest keyboard design is bucking that trend, specifically with its “Macaron” colorway. Cooler Master Look at this thing. It looks like a field full of Marshmallow Peeps in their natural habitat. While the MK770 keyboard does come in a far more typical “Space Gray” option, the mix of pastel green, pink, and yellow on the Macaron option gets my vote for sheer cheerfulness. The MK770 is no slouch in terms of specs, either. In addition to the now-typical “triple wireless” connection (wired, Bluetooth, and 2.4GHz dongle), it’s adopting a lot of the usual features from custom-inspired designs like Razer’s BlackWidow V4 75% and Corsair’s K65 Plus. That means multiple layers of sound absorption in the case, a “floating” gasket mount for the PCB, high-quality PBT keycaps. The board has hot-swap switch sockets, but the ones that come with it are no slouch — Kailh’s Box V2 are some of my favorites for their stability, even if I’d go with something a little heavier than the standard linear Reds on display here. RGB lighting hardly seems necessary on a keyboard so colorful, but it’s there all the same. The layout is a variation of the somewhat niche “1800” design, which means the number pad is squished into the left while preserving the arrow keys. Note that Page Up, Page Down, Delete, and Insert are all crammed into the function layer to make room for a beefy rotary dial in the corner. The MK770 is listed at $119.99 on Cooler Master’s website. That’s well below the going rate for a board with this many features — Corsair’s custom-inspired design is $160 and quite a bit smaller. It doesn’t look like the keyboard is actually on sale yet, though. I’ve asked for some clarification on a release date, and I’ll update this story if I get it. Keyboards
Best gaming laptops under $1,000: Best overall, best battery life, and more
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 14:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Gaming laptops can be downright expensive. It takes a complex cooling system to keep the heat-generating hardware running without issue. Plus, laptops are smaller than desktop PC towers, which means there’s less space to disperse the heat. Fortunately, you can score a laptop with reliable processing and graphics performance for under $1,000 these days. If you’re not sure where to begin your quest for a budget-friendly machine, don’t sweat it. We did the heavy lifting for you. Note that laptop prices can fluctuate and there might be times when the price of one of our picks hovers over $1,000. Why you should trust us: Hey, it’s in our name! PCWorld prides itself on laptop experience and expertise. We’ve been covering PCs since 1983, and we now review more than 70 laptops every year. All of the picks below have been personally tested and vetted by our experts, who’ve applied not only performance benchmarks but rigorous usability standards. We’re also committed to reviewing PC laptops at every price point to help you find a machine that matches your budget. For more recommendations on gaming laptops, see our roundup of the best gaming laptops across all prices, or take a look at our roundup of the best laptop deals. Note 2/21/2024: Since our last update, we’ve published a number of new laptop reviews. You’ll find a brief synopsis of those reviews below. We’ve also changed the format of this roundup. Each individual blurb now contains new sections as well as new pros and cons. HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook: The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook offers fast performance, a lightweight design, and a reliable build, but you’ll pay out the nose for its premium quality. HP Elitebook 640 G10: The HP Elitebook 640 G10 is an affordable business notebook that runs near-silent and lasts 13 hours on a single charge. You won’t find a better laptop with integrated 4G at this price. Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen 4: The Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen 4 laptop is a lightweight, flexible PC with tablet-like convenience. HP Pavilion Plus Laptop 14: The HP Pavilion Plus Laptop 14 gets the job done with its zippy CPU performance, gorgeous OLED display, and all-day battery life. It won’t break the bank, either. MSI Titan 18 HX: The MSI Titan 18 HX doubles the RAM and SSD storage compared to last year’s model. That said, while gaming performance is phenomenal, the astronomical price tag is a hard pill to swallow. MSI Raider GE78: The MSI Raider GE78 delivers incredible CPU and gaming performance as well as a fantastic cooling system. The only real downside is the high price. Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition – Best overall Pros All-day battery life Stunning display Durable build Cons 720p webcam is less than impressive Keys feel too soft Price When Reviewed: $1,099.99 Best Prices Today: $949.99 at Best Buy Why we like the Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition checks off a lot of boxes in terms of performance, battery life, and more. The massive 90 watt-hour battery lasted 11 hours on a single charge, which is impressive for a gaming laptop. Gaming rigs tend to fizzle out at the five- or six-hour mark. The Asus TUF is also capable of blazing through most modern games on the High or Ultra graphics setting thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS CPU and the AMD Radeon RX 7600S GPU. Who should buy the Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition is a fantastic option for 1080p gamers, especially those who enjoy untethered gaming on the go. You don’t have to go hunting for an outlet thanks to the long battery life and the 16-inch, 165Hz refresh-rate, 1200p display offers stunning visuals. It just goes to show you that budget gaming laptops don’t have to skimp on performance. Read our full Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition review MSI Thin GF63 (2023) – Most portable Pros Good 1080p gaming Attractive backlighting Rugged build Cons Not the most color-accurate screen Price When Reviewed: $852 Best Prices Today: $858 at Amazon Why we like the MSI Thin GF63 The MSI Thin GF63 weighs just over four pounds, which is lightweight for a gaming laptop. For context, most gaming laptops tip the scales at five or six pounds. In addition to the MSI Thin GF63 being portable, it’s also packing a good amount of power. Between the Intel Core i5-12450H CPU and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, you should be able to run most games on the Medium or High graphics preset. The 1080p display is also spacious at 15.6-inches with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Who should buy the MSI Thin GF63 The MSI Thin GF63 is a good option for college students, as it’s light enough to take with you from class-to-class. It’s also powerful enough for everyday tasks like watching Netflix, writing papers, and so on. It’ll scratch the gaming itch, too. Read our full MSI Thin GF63 (2023) review Dell Inspiron 16 Plus – If you're willing to spend a little more… Pros Metal build Long battery life Respectable graphics performance Cons Light on ports Gets loud under heavier workloads Price When Reviewed: $1,249.99 Best Prices Today: $1249.99 at Dell Why we like the Dell Inspiron Plus 16 7630 The Dell Inspiron Plus 16 7630 is something of a sleeper hit due to its powerful internal components and high refresh-rate display. Inside, you’ll find an Intel Core i7-13700H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, which delivers solid gaming performance. The reviewer was able to play Cyberpunk 2077 at a respectable 30 frames-per-second at 1080p with the Ray Tracing: Ultra preset turned on. In addition to the good performance, you’re also getting a quality metal build as well as good battery life. Who should buy the Dell Inspiron Plus 16 7630 If you’re able to stretch your budget another $200 or so, we feel as though the Dell Inspiron Plus 16 7630 is a good option for college students and remote workers. It can handle anything from multimedia applications and day-to-day productivity as well as some gaming. It’s a little light on the port selection and it can get loud under heavier loads, but those are minor nitpicks in the grand scheme of things. Read our full Dell Inspiron Plus 16 7630 review How we tested The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them. Windows laptops PCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on. HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a hefty 30GB file. Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time. 3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. Gaming tests: We benchmark each gaming laptop using several titles. Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies. What you should look for in a budget gaming laptop When it comes to picking the right gaming laptop, it really depends on what you want to do with it. Do you plan on playing lightweight indie titles like Stardew Valley (no shade, I love this game) or something more visually demanding like Cyberpunk 2077? Are you going to use the machine for work as well as play? It’s possible to get reliable performance out of a gaming laptop that costs under a grand, but you’ll need to take a hard look at the individual components. You don’t need a powerful GPU for something like Fortnite. You can run even most of the newest games very well at 1080p resolution with even entry level graphics cards if you don’t mind dialing down the in-game visual settings from Ultra to more-reasonable High to Medium settings. You’ll almost certainly need to do so to hit 60 frames per second in modern games on a gaming laptop under $1,000, but the good news is they should still look good, especially on a laptop display. GPU: The thing about the GPU is that it can’t be swapped out and upgraded later, so you need to be real choosy about which one you pick, as this component will determine how well your machine runs games. Luckily, you don’t need the best of the best to get reliable gaming performance. The GTX 1650 is an entry-level GPU that’s affordable and good enough for 1080p gaming with mid-to-high graphics settings. That said, expect lower frame rates on newer titles. If you’re looking for a bit more power, the more modern RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti are preferred options, and commonly found in gaming laptops under $1,000. You may occasionally find a deal on an RTX 3060-powered laptop under $1,000, but they’re relatively rare. CPU: Like the GPU, the processor can’t be upgraded either, so you’ll want to be selective. For Intel, we’d recommend an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7. For AMD, you’ll want to spring for a Ryzen 4000 or 5000. A processor with at least four cores is good, but six cores or more is better. RAM: You’ll want at least 8GB of RAM. If you can afford 16GB of RAM, go for it. Memory is normally upgradable, so you can always swap it out and add more later on. Storage: Storage impacts how many games and applications you can install on your laptop. Like RAM, storage is often upgradable and can be swapped out later. However, you should aim for at least 512GB of SSD storage plus a hard drive, as AAA titles tend to eat up a lot of space. SSDs load games faster, as data is stored on chips rather than spinning disks. Display: 1080p is what you can expect at this price range, either with a 60Hz or 144Hz (preferred) refresh rate. Budget gaming laptops don’t always have the best displays, as that’s where manufacturers tend to cut corners to keep the cost low. If you’ve got a dim display, you can always pick up an external monitor to plug into it. Battery life: Generally speaking, gaming laptops are known for having poor battery life. That’s because they use a ton of power. They also tend to be heavier than other laptops because they need more space for heatsinks and other cooling components. Depending on the use, most will last anywhere from four to six hours on a single charge. That said, there are a few exceptions. The HP Envy 14 (featured above), for example, hit the 15 hour mark during our battery test. FAQ 1. Are Chromebooks good gaming laptops? This will depend on the type of gaming you want to do. But frankly, no they don’t make good gaming laptops in a general sense. Chromebooks can handle web games and Android games just fine. But a Chromebook won’t cut it if you’re looking to play the latest high-powered AAA games. This comes down to two factors, they don’t run Windows and they likely don’t have sufficient graphics power.
With that said, Google is trying to bring cloud gaming to Chromebooks and it will likely be available in the future. Cloud gaming services use a remote PC or console to play games streamed through the cloud onto the Chromebook. Until that service is up and running though, Chromebooks will not be able to compete in the gaming arena. 2. Can you game with integrated graphics? Nowadays, the latest processors with integrated graphics can run a faire amount of modern PC games at reasonable settings. Intel’s newer Iris Xe line of processors with integrated graphics, for example, have been shown to run some of the latest games at 1080p and 30fps. You should know though that not all integrated graphics are capable of the same things. Intel and AMD’s integrated graphics have made huge leaps in recent years with regard to gaming performance. If you’re on a budget or looking for an ultra thin laptop with integrated graphics you can still enjoy some light gaming as well. Check out our article about Intel’s Core 12th-gen Iris Xe and AMD’s brand new Ryzen 6000 RDNA 2 for more detailed info. 3. What size laptop is best? This will come down to personal preference and intended use. If you plan to travel a lot with your laptop, then a small ultraportable size in the neighborhood of 13 to 14 inches is best. However, if want to use it as a gaming machine, then something in the 15- to 17-inch range would be ideal. Also, don’t forget to check the weight of the laptop before you buy it. Ultra thin laptops can weigh a featherlight 2 pounds while beefy gaming computers top the scales at three or four times that. Gaming Laptops, Laptops
Best laptop deals today: Home use laptops, gaming laptops and more
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 14:19:19 +0000
Source: PCWorld
If you’re looking to score a fast laptop at a killer price, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re on the hunt for a blazing fast gaming rig, a lightweight 2-in-1, or an everyday Chromebook, we’ve assembled a list of the best laptop deals available right now, using our finely honed editorial judgement to only recommend truly compelling deals on worthwhile notebooks. For more notebook options, check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops available right now. We’ve got can’t-miss picks for every use case and budget, putting our thousands of hours of hands-on testing to work for you. The best laptop deals today Everyday laptops Sometimes all you need is an everyday, no-frills laptop for browsing the web and checking e-mail. If you’re in the market for such a machine, check out our picks below. Lenovo IdeaPad 1, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU/AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics/8GB RAM/256GB SSD/14-inch 1080p display, $249.99 ($170 off at Microcenter) Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3, Intel Core i3-1315U CPU/Intel UHD graphics/8GB RAM/256GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $299 ($230 off at B&H) HP 17-cp0007 (refurb), AMD Ryzen 3 5300U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/12GB RAM/256GB SSD + 1TB HDD/17.3-inch 1080p display, $399.99 ($449.01 off at Adorama) Lenovo IdeaPad 3i, Intel Core i5-1155G7 CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p touch display, $419.99 ($210 off at Best Buy) Dell Inspiron 15 3520, Intel Core i5-1155G7 CPU/Intel UHD graphics/8GB RAM/256GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $329.99 ($270 off at Best Buy) Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Intel Core i7-1250U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/13.4-inch 1200p display, $799 ($300 off at Dell) Dell XPS 13 Plus Laptop, Intel Core i7-1360P CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/13.4-inch 1200p touch display, $1,099 ($400 off at Dell) LG Gram 16, Intel Core i7-1260P CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/16-inch 1600p display, $929 ($970 off at Adorama) Dell Inspiron 16 Laptop, Intel Core i7-1360P CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/16-inch 1200p touch display, $649.99 ($450 off at Dell) Asus Vivobook 16, AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/12GB RAM/512GB SSD/16-inch 1200p display, $419.99 ($330 off at Best Buy) Asus OLED Laptop, Intel Core i7-13620H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p OLED display, $799.99 ($300 off at Best Buy) My top pick: Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 3 offers reliable performance, a lightweight form factor, and a spacious display–all at an affordable price point. When it comes to price and features, it checks off all the right boxes, making it a great everyday machine for most people. Gaming laptops Whether you’re looking to catch up on some gaming after work or between classes, we’ve got a pretty solid list of gaming laptop recommendations below. The refresh rates on these machines are absolutely bananas and I mean that in the best way possible. Lenovo Legion Pro 5i, Intel Core i7-13700HX CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/32GB RAM/1TB SSD/16-inch 1600p display, $1,149 ($650 off at B&H) MSI Pulse 15, Intel Core i7-13700H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $1,149.99 ($249.01 off at Adorama) Razer Blade 14, AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/14-inch 1600p display, $2,499.99 ($200 off at Adorama) Asus TUF Gaming F15, Intel Core i9-13900H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/32GB RAM/1TB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $1,199 ($300.99 off at B&H) Lenovo LOQ 15IRH8, Intel Core i5-13420H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $669.99 ($180 off at Adorama) MSI Sword (with free headset and mouse), Intel Core i5-12450H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $849.99 ($449.01 off at Adorama) MSI Stealth GS66, Intel Core i9-12900H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU/32GB RAM/1TB SSD/15.6-inch 1440p display, $1,829.99 ($169.01 off at Adorama) MSI Raider GE77HX, Intel Core i7-12800HX CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/17.3-inch 1080p display, $2,089.99 ($509.01 off at Adorama) MSI Katana, Intel Core i7-13620H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $999 ($200 off at Walmart) Lenovo Legion 5, AMD Ryzen 7 7735H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inchc 1350p display, $869.99 ($130 off at Walmart) XPS Xenia 15G, Intel Core i7-13700H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $999 ($700.99 off at Walmart) My top pick: If you’re looking for the ultimate gaming experience, the Razer Blade 14 is the perfect option. Thanks to the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, you should be able to run competitive games on the High or Ultra graphics preset. The 14-inch 1600p display also has a ridiculously high refresh rate of 240Hz, which means you can expect lusciously smooth visuals. 2-in-1 laptops 2-in-1 laptops (aka convertibles) are great because they’re so lightweight and versatile. All you have to do is swing the screen around 360 degrees and boom! You’ve got a tablet. If you’re on the hunt for a super portable laptop, then check out the carefully curated list below. Dell Inspiron 2-in-1, Intel Core i7-1260P CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/16-inch 1200p touch display, $899.99 ($350 off at Best Buy) Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, Intel Core i7-1355U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/16-inch 1200p touch display, $599 ($400 off at B&H) HP Envy x360, AMD Ryzen 7 5825U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/15.6-inch touch 1080p display, $569.99 ($379.01 off at Adorama) Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga Gen 3, Intel Core i7-1265U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/13.3-inch 1200p touch display, $1,154 ($865 off at Adorama) Microsoft Laptop Studio, Intel Core i7-11370H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU/32GB RAM/2TB SSD/14.4-inch 1600p touch display, $1,599 ($775 off at B&H) LG Gram 14, Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/8GB RAM/256GB SSD/14-inch 1200p touch display, $996.99 ($400 off at Adorama) Lenovo Flex 7, Intel Core Evo i7-1355U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/1TB SSD/14-inch 1400p touch display, $1,039.99 ($220 off at Adorama) Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, Intel Core i7-1250U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/13-inch 1920p touch display, $1,199 ($350 off at Dell) Lenovo Yoga 6 2-in-1, AMD Ryzen 7 7730U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/13.3-inch 1200p touch display, $699.99 ($200 off at Best Buy) Lenovo Yoga 7i, Intel Core i5-1335U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/16-inch 1200p touch display, $599.99 ($250 off at Best Buy) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6, Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/8GB RAM/256GB SSD/14-inch 1200p touch display, $704.99 ($724.01 off at Adorama) Asus Chromebook Flip, Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB SSD/14-inch 1080p display, $979.99 ($70 off at Adorama) My top pick: The Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 is a fantastic pick because it’s powerful enough for solid productivity and the 1200p display is both spacious and touch-enabled. Laptop deal buying tips If you’ve shopped online before for laptop deals you’re probably aware that there’s a vast range of laptop configurations available. A good place to start is with the processor. Buy laptops with Intel 12-series Core chips or higher, such as the Core i5-12510U, or the Core i7-13800H; or go with an AMD Ryzen processor (but not an AMD Athlon or A-series chip). Avoid laptops with Pentium or Celeron processors unless it’s a Chromebook (running Chrome OS). You’re going to need to pay attention with gaming laptops, too, as some GPUs, like the RTX 4050 Ti, don’t offer much boost over their RTX 3xxx-series cousins, and Nvidia has dropped the Max-Q designation on certain low-power options. Display resolution is a gotcha. If you see a laptop labeled as “HD” resolution that means 1366-by-768 and often isn’t worth your time for a laptop under 13 inches unless the deal is absolutely standout. What you want is “Full HD” or “FHD,” which means 1080p. Don’t buy laptops with under 4GB of RAM or 128GB of SSD storage—though on a Chromebook, this configuration is acceptable. We have more explanation in our laptops versus Chromebooks buying guide, as well as in our primer on how to buy a budget laptop without getting screwed. Also watch out for eMMC storage, which is something we don’t recommend for a Windows laptop but works fine for a Chromebook. Reviews can be helpful. Even if you can’t find a review of a specific configuration, try related models. They’ll often give you a good idea of the build quality and performance. Also buy from brands you trust. Amazon’s daily laptop deals right now are full of brands we’ve never tested or talked to (Broage, Teclast, DaySky, Jumper) and it’s just a good idea to be wary. Most older laptops will run Windows 10, and that’s fine—there’s no rush to upgrade. Windows 10 in S Mode, though annoying, can be switched out of easily if you find it on a budget laptop. If you want to buy a Windows 10 PC with the intent of upgrading it to Windows 11, we recommend you start here with a list of older laptops that are Windows 11-eligible. Read our round-up of the best laptop chargers. Laptops
Dell XPS 16 (2024) review: Performance nearly smothered in costly style
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 13:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
At a glanceExpert's Rating ProsSleek design and sturdy buildWonderful OLED displayExcellent CPU performanceGreat battery lifeConsGPU performance hampered by designMinimal ports for the sizeExpensive for the partsOur VerdictThe Dell XPS 16 is a speedy machine and gentle on the eyes, so are plenty of much cheaper machines that don’t have as frustrating a keyboard or such a lacking port selection for pro users. Price When Reviewed$3,399 Best Prices Today: Dell XPS 16 (2024) Retailer Price $1899 View Deal Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide Product Price Price comparison from Backmarket The Dell XPS 16 is the new big-screen productivity laptop for those looking for something a little more lavish than the typical business machines. It comes running on Intel’s new Core Ultra processors and offers up discrete GPU options for those who need even more power. Its sleek design shouldn’t be confused for a lightweight one, though, and the reality of its weight and pricey design put it at odds with lighter ultrabooks and more powerful workstation and gaming laptops alike. At $3,399, it’ll be a hard sell for anyone vaguely interested in good value. Looking for more laptop options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops right now. Dell XPS 16 (2024): Specs and features The Dell XPS 16 comes in a variety of configurations with price and performance capabilities varying widely. At a baseline, it will offer an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, which is a strong starting point, but it can go up to an Ultra 9 185H. Memory is available at 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, while storage starts out at 512GB but can go up to 4TB. The system can run on Intel Arc integrated graphics exclusively or a discrete GPU can be added with the RTX 4050, 4060, and 4070 as options. The final key confirmation option is display, with a 1920×1200, non-touch LED display available or the 3840×2400 OLED touchscreen available. The lowest of these configurations starts out at $1,899. Our test unit came in at $3,399 with storage, memory, GPU, and the display upgraded.  CPU: Intel Core Ultra 7 155H Memory: 32GB LPDDR5x Graphics/GPU: Nvidia RTX 4070 (60-watt TGP, dGPU), Intel Arc (8 Xe cores, iGPU) Display: 16.3-inch 4K+ OLED, Touch Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD Webcam: 1080p Connectivity: 3x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C with Power Delivery and DisplayPort  2.1 Alternate Mode, 1x microSD card reader, 1x 3.5mm combo audio Networking: WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.4 Biometrics: Windows Hello fingerprint, facial recognition Battery capacity: 99 watt-hours Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.4 x 0.74 inches Weight: 5.03 pounds MSRP: $3,399 as-tested ($1,899 base) Dell XPS 16 (2024): Design and build quality IDG / Mark Knapp Dell has gone all-in on its new design for the XPS series. Whereas prior models had a “Plus” in the name helping signify the shift toward a reimagined design of the workhorse series, now it’s just the mainline design. While the Dell XPS 16 still exhibits the company’s knack for build quality with a sleek — albeit simple and frankly a little MacBook-like — aluminum exterior that feels solid, it also boasts a design that’s as contentious for the eyes as it is for the hands. The design of the keyboard and trackpad region sees the biggest changes. It has the new design, which situates a single piece of glass along bottom, so there’s no visual indication of where the trackpad begins and ends. The keyboard has a bunch of perfectly rectangular keys with a very minor dish and tight gaps between them, and the whole function row has been turned into ever-illuminated capacitive touch buttons a la Apple’s Touch Bar but without any of the multi-function magic.  This same design looked reasonably stylish on the earlier Dell XPS 13 Plus. But for the XPS 16, Dell was working with a bunch of extra space around the keyboard, where it decided to wedge two large speaker grilles that have the subtlest break from the design, but since the whole design is so minimalist, even the subtleties stick out. For this all white model, Dell’s white backlighting for the keyboard also ends up looking uneven and dirty underneath the keycaps. Despite packing a high-power processor and discrete GPU into the system, the XPS 16 relies on just the slightest bit of visible venting to move air through the system, presumably taking some in through slits along the sides of the laptop and pushing it out through a strip under the edge of the display. While the whole package has that typical, svelte ultrabook appeal to it, this is no thin-and-light laptop. It measures almost three-quarters of an inch thick and weighs a hair over five pounds.  Dell XPS 16 (2024): Keyboard, trackpad IDG / Mark Knapp Dell’s redesign comes with what might be the biggest trackpad in the business, but you wouldn’t know it. The all glass chin hides where it starts and ends completely. It encompasses the left Alt key and the new Windows Copilot key and reaches just a hair shy of the space bar and a half-inch short of the bottom edge. For some perspective, it’s larger than a Galaxy S24 Plus display. Impressively, even with its monolithic design, the trackpad still depresses naturally and provides a nice haptic click when it does so. It also has great palm rejection. While all that size is useful, especially for multi-finger gestures, it leaves a vagueness for where certain common actions are, like what region might result in a right click versus a left click. The trackpad isn’t as problematic as the keyboard, though. Just typing, the keys feel a little too stiff, making repeated presses of the same key a little more difficult and error prone. The gaps between keys also makes it a little too easy to be on the right key but still catch the neighboring key on the downstroke. While I managed to reach a typing speed of 121 words-per-minute in Monkeytype with 97 percent accuracy, which is just shy of my fastest speeds, I was more often typing around 100 words-per-minute or suffering from significantly more typos as a result of the keyboard. The function row is also an unfortunate change. If you ever have to use an actual F key like Alt+F4, the buttons up there will do the job, but you’ll have to count your way to the one you want (or hold the Function key). Combining them with actual keys on the keyboard, such as for Ctrl+Shift+Esc is also exceedingly awkward. And multiple taps are no better, making the relegation of the Delete key to that row an annoyance. Then there’s also the fact that this is a 16-inch laptop and it doesn’t have any extra keys to offer that you wouldn’t find on most 13-inch laptops — no extra navigation, no number pad, nothing extra. Dell XPS 16 (2024): Display, audio IDG / Mark Knapp Things begin to take a turn back in Dell’s favor with the display on the XPS 16. It’s a gorgeous 16.3-inch OLED panel with a Gorilla Glass 3 cover that doesn’t suffer too much from glare, so you can save a bit of power by lowering the brightness levels. It can happily reach 400 nits while displaying SDR content and even exceed 600 nits showing HDR content. It has a wide color gamut, covering 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space as well, making it wonderful for enjoying content. It even has Dolby Vision support, which only makes it all the more disappointing that it’s quite hard to access high-quality, HDR streams on a Windows PC compared to a phone or TV.  The OLED model includes a touchscreen, which exhibits a small array of dots that’s visible if you look very closely but otherwise blends in with the display. Even at a 3840×2400 resolution, Dell went for a fast refresh rate, too, reaching up to 90Hz and supporting Adaptive Sync down to 48Hz. How smooth that 90Hz will actually feel varies, though, as I noticed clunkier motion while running on integrated graphics and battery power. Dell’s speakers are stellar. The system combines two 3-watt main drivers and two 2-watt tweeters. There’s occasional high-frequency rattling in the chassis while listening at even just 50% volume (noted during the intro to The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming”). Beyond that, the speakers sound quite excellent, with rich, full sound that really challenges what’s on offer from most laptops. The bass doesn’t boom, but it’s more present than you’d usually find. There’s even surprisingly compelling stereo separation for a laptop. It’s a really phenomenal job on Dell’s part here — maybe enough to help get over the fact this 16-inch laptop effectively has the same keyboard as a 13-inch model.  Dell XPS 16 (2024): Webcam, microphone, biometrics IDG / Mark Knapp The XPS 16 features a 1080p webcam that adds a bit more clarity than you’d usually see from the run-of-the-mill 720p cams out there. It still has that webcam-y quality, with bland color and noise in anything but the best lighting conditions. The camera also provides snappy facial recognition to unlock the laptop. The top right button on the keyboard has a fingerprint scanner that can also handle unlocking the computer, but I find the facial recognition usually beats it to the punch.  The mics do a good job picking up my voice, and provide a fullness and clarity that you won’t get from many Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. But it can sound a little boxed in compared to audio coming through a headset’s boom mic or a standalone mic.  Dell XPS 16 (2024): Connectivity IDG / Mark Knapp Prosumer laptops bring it when it comes to ports, especially bigger models, which have more room to squeeze in more ports. This helps them make up for their extra weight by negating the need for an external dongle. Right? Not for the XPS 16. It offers three fully features Thunderbolt 4 ports that’ll handle displays, file transfers, and power delivery, but you’re looking at external dongles if you want any HDMI or USB-A ports. Dell includes a super-light one in the package that gives you a USB-A and an HDMI port.  While there’s no knocking the capabilities of Thunderbolt 4, even just a single, proper USB-A port could have gone a long way toward supporting more peripherals. All Dell’s design work goes out the window as soon as an unsightly dongle is plugged in. Dell has included a headphone jack and a microSD card reader as well. But the port variety is quite the letdown, raising the question of who this laptop is really supposed to be for. Just for a quick comparison, the MSI Prestige 16 has one fewer Thunderbolt 4 port but adds USB-A, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, and a full-size SD Card reader, and that 16-incher is actually lighter than Dell’s. At least it has its wireless connectivity in point, supporting the new Wi-Fi 7 standard and Bluetooth 5.4, so it’s well prepared for the future.  Dell XPS 16 (2024): Performance Dell has packed a good bit of muscle into the XPS 16, as it well should have for a laptop weighing over five pounds. It boasts the new Intel core Ultra 7 155H, a 16-core chip we recently saw in action in the MSI Prestige 16. The chip blends six performance cores, eight efficient cores, and an extra two low-power cores to provide speed and efficiency as the situation requires. That chip is backed by 32GB of LPDDR5x memory and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. While the CPU includes Intel Arc integrated graphics, the XPS 16 also fits an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, albeit a power-limited, 60-watt version. Powerful as it might sound, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a $3,399 configuration, so upper-tier performance should be par for the course. In our PCMark 10 test, which measures general performance of the system as a whole across a broad range of office tasks, the Dell XPS 16 shows respectable performance. It falls short of the MSI Prestige 16 running similar hardware, but it plainly exceeds systems running on earlier Intel processors and even the Acer Swift Edge 16 running on an AMD CPU. This is a good indication that the Dell XPS 16 is up to the task of everyday computing in an office environment. In fairness to other machines, all of them are significantly lighter than the XPS 16, so they’re ability to keep cool under laid may be reduced. When it comes to raw CPU performance, the Dell XPS 16 shows its strengths. Encoding a 32GB video file, it blew past the competition to finish the job in 951 seconds impressively beating the MSI Prestige 16 that had given it such a good run for its money in PCMark 10. We see that performance further exhibited in Cinebench — a CPU-focused test — where the Dell XPS 16 stayed at the front of the pack by a good margin. That went for Cinebench R15, R20, and R23. The Intel Core Ultra 7 clearly has some might and the XPS 16 is letting it run exceptionally well. This is all good news if you need CPU power for projects, as the Dell XPS 16 delivers. The Dell XPS 16 tops that exceptional CPU performance off with the added benefit of a discrete GPU. With an RTX 4070 inside, even one limited to just 60 watts of power, the Dell XPS 16 obliterates the integrated graphics of these competitors. In both 3DMark Time Spy, a modestly demanding 3D rendering benchmark, the XPS 16 offered more than double the performance of the MSI Prestige 16’s Arc graphics and left Intel Iris Xe and AMD Radeon 780M graphics well behind. For gaming, video editing, 3D modeling, and more, that huge GPU advantage will be especially handy. Dell’s against these ultrabook competitors being what it is, slim designs still come with compromises. For instance, the RTX 4070 running in the XPS 16 might blow away the integrated graphics of these competing systems, but if you look at a discrete GPU running in a system that puts a bit more emphasis on airflow, you’ll see a different story. For instance, I ran the same Time Spy benchmark on a Lenovo Legion Slim 5 14APH8 — a compact gaming laptop with an RTX 4060 in it — and it scored 9,238 points overall, narrowly edging out the Dell XPS 16 even though it uses a higher-tier GPU. It’s a similar story for the larger Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, which also runs its RTX 4060 faster than the XPS 16’s RTX 4070. Dell XPS 16 (2024): Battery life One benefit to Dell building a somewhat thick and heavy XPS 16 is that it could fit in a 99-watt-hour battery — as big as they get if you want to take them on an airplane, that comines with impressive efficiency for serious battery life.  In our standard battery test, looping a 4K copy of the Tears of Steel short film with the laptop’s display set to 250 nits and all keyboard backlighting and wireless radios disabled, the Dell XPS 16 ran for an average of 975 minutes — over 15 hours. Since the XPS 16 has an OLED display, it benefits from the black letterboxing around the video in this test, as those become pixels the display doesn’t have to illuminate — that’s free real estate. It’s still an impressive result for an OLED, as LED-backlit displays tend to have the advantage in battery life, and Dell even rates its non-OLED models for substantially longer battery life. Curiously, Dell works against itself a bit. The laptop has a light sensor that is on by default and will adjust the screen brightness. In testing with this sensor enabled, our recorded battery life was only a little over 600 minutes (10 hours).  While this video playback runtime is impressive, it should be thought of as the high point for battery life. Working on the laptop will likely see less of the display occupied by black pixels (and far more of it occupied by white pixels in spreadsheets and documents), increasing the power draw of the display over all. Most laptops are pretty well optimized for video playback as well, whereas work is more likely to see the CPU and GPU ramp up and suck down plenty of power themselves. In practice, I could still easily make it through a workday on battery power with the XPS 16. Dell XPS 16 (2024): Conclusion The Dell XPS 16 has a lot to offer, but it’s a bit of a mixed up machine. It offers excellent CPU performance that can rival most other ultrabooks and it packs in a discrete GPU to boost graphical workloads. However, it comes at a high price for the blend of components and the GPU isn’t even able to reach its full potential in the XPS 16 chassis, which emphasis function over form a bit too much. The hardware may be a marvel to look at, but it’s a little less of a joy to use. The display and speakers come together wonderfully, but this is no media consumption device. Ultimately, there are some premium parts packed into the XPS 16 and then a further premium slapped on top for the elegant design and bill of materials. This will put the machine at odds with buyers seeking any sort of value. For anyone who doesn’t need the discrete GPU, the MSI Prestige 16 is largely competitive and nearly half the price. And for those who do need real GPU power, they might be better served by a gaming laptop like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro that’s much cheaper and, believe it or not, less than half of a pound heavier. Laptops
How to test your VPN speed
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 11:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
VPNs, or virtual private networks, are a great way to protect your privacy and keep your activities anonymous while online. Unfortunately, they also tend to slow down your internet connection while in use. This comes down to the very nature of how a VPN works. By connecting to a VPN, your data is rerouted through the VPN’s server(s) and encrypted. This process can adversely affect both the speed of your connection as well as the latency. If you’re curious about how a particular VPN is affecting your connection speeds there are a couple of easy steps you can take to determine any speed loss. Further reading: The fastest VPNs How to test a VPN’s speeds In order to get a good idea of how much slower your connection is while using a VPN, it’s essential to set a baseline. This means that you’ll first need to test your internet speed while disconnected from a VPN. The best way to do this is to use a site like speedtest.net, run by analytics company Ookla. Alternatively, you can use fast.com by Netflix, but SpeedTest is the most popular and considered the industry standard. For the purposes of this article, I’ll demonstrate using SpeedTest. Sam Singleton Make sure you are disconnected from your VPN and then go to the SpeedTest website. After you open the website, click the “Go” button to begin the test. It will begin measuring your download and upload speeds. The baseline internet speed I was working with during this test. Sam Singleton Once it wraps up, you’ll be able to see the download and upload speeds along with the ping or latency of your connection. Mentioned in this article ExpressVPN Read our review Price When Reviewed: $6.67 per month Best Prices Today: $6.67 at ExpressVPN Next up, let’s test the speed while connected to a VPN. Connect to the VPN and server of your choosing. For this test, I’ll be using ExpressVPN as it’s our top pick here at PCWorld and one of the fastest VPNs on the market today.  Bring up SpeedTest once again and click the “Go” button to test your new connection. You’ll very likely see your download and upload speeds take a hit — that’s to be expected. Connected to a VPN server on the West coast. Note the drop in speeds and increased ping latency.Sam Singleton Once the second test is finished, you can compare the results between your baseline internet speed and the speed while connected to a VPN. It’s important to note that these speeds can vary quite often, sometimes drastically, depending on a number of factors, which I describe below.  Also, you’ll want to pay close attention to each specific element of the test when factoring in the adverse speed effects of a VPN — download speeds, upload speeds, and ping or latency. Each of these can have different consequences depending upon your preferred online activities. What do my download and upload speeds and ping mean? Download speeds are likely the most important factor to consider for most internet users. It determines how fast you can browse the web and stream content while online. If your download speeds are significantly affected by your VPN then you’ll notice a decline in these basic internet activities. Upload speeds on the other hand will be important for those who need to do file sharing or video calls. Slow upload speeds can be a huge drag especially for professionals and people who work from home. Ping, or latency, is the time it takes for data to travel between devices or servers on a network. Your ping is particularly important if you play online games as it’ll influence how fast your commands or actions in a game are transmitted over your connection, a measurement also known as latency. What affects VPN speeds? There are numerous factors that can affect your speeds at any given time while connected to a VPN. The most common culprits are usually distance between yourself and a server, the current load on that server, and how your data is encrypted through the VPN. VPN server distance The distance between your device and the VPN’s server is generally the most influential factor when it comes to speed. When sending signals over the internet this data is contained in packets that have to travel a physical path to the server from your device. Even though it does this very quickly, time is still time. It follows then that a server farther away will take more time to communicate with than a server nearby. A good way to test this is to connect to two different servers in different time zones and conduct a speed test with both. Most likely, the server farther away will be slower if all other factors are equal. VPN server load A VPN’s servers can only handle so much at any given moment. Anyone who is using that VPN’s server at the same time as you will draw on the server’s resources. If there are a lot of people using the server at once, especially during peak hours, then a VPN’s server is bound to slow down due to all of the traffic.  Fortunately, most of the top VPNs nowadays utilize high-capacity servers that can handle large traffic volumes. However, even with these servers, you’ll still likely notice a drop in speed during peak hours. VPN encryption Encryption can also be a factor affecting your connection speeds with a VPN, although typically to a lesser degree. The more secure an encryption cipher is, the longer it’ll take the VPN to encrypt that data. However, even with the super-strong industry standard AES-256 encryption, modern VPN infrastructure can encrypt this data so quickly that it’s unlikely to significantly affect speeds. How to choose the fastest VPN and connection There is no guarantee that the fastest VPN for me will be the fastest VPN for you. Everyone will use a VPN slightly differently and in different locations and at different times. That being said, there are a few things you can consider if you want to optimize your chances of landing a fast VPN. The first is a VPN’s server coverage. If a VPN provides a ton of servers then it’s a good bet you’ll be able to find at least one that provides you with decent speeds.  mentioned in this article NordVPN Read our review Price When Reviewed: $3.49 per month Best Prices Today: $3.49 at NordVPN Next, you can look at a VPN’s server network. VPN services are notorious for keeping the details about their server networks private, but you can generally trust the major players to have good networks with high-capacity servers. Our favorites such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark all have excellent server networks with plenty of locations to choose from.  Finally, for more advanced users, you can opt for a VPN with fast protocol options. These include OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2 or even proprietary protocols such as ExpressVPN’s Lightway and NordVPN’s NordLynx. Just be careful as different protocols come with advantages and disadvantages in regards to both speed and security. VPN
Must-use Windows software: 17 PC apps you need to try in 2024
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 10:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Last year was dominated by artificial intelligence. The release of Chat-GPT in autumn 2022 triggered such huge hype that every software manufacturer rushed to integrate real or supposed AI functions into their products and advertise them heavily. The share price of Microsoft, which has direct access to the technology thanks to its stake in Chat-GPT manufacturer Open AI, rose from $230 in January to over $370 in November 2023. The topic of AI will also be with us in the coming year: New tools with AI functions continue to appear. Unfortunately, the topic of ransomware will also continue to appear in the headlines in 2024. There are even fears that its frequency will increase. More and more criminals are using viruses and encryption programs for their blackmail attempts. At the same time, phishing attacks have increased, whereby fraudsters attempt to obtain account data of all kinds. They are not limited to bank accounts, where the mandatory two-factor authentication makes unauthorized access complicated, but also access data for gaming accounts, ticket exchanges, streaming services, online shops, and much more. And finally, the topic of saving energy will also remain on the agenda. The effects that can be achieved using software on your own PC are relatively small. However, with electricity prices remaining high, the savings will nevertheless reduce the burden on the household budget at the end of the year. In this article, we present new and not-so-new tools for 2024. Some of them belong to the AI, virus protection, and energy-saving categories mentioned above, while others offer support for working in the office or with Windows, or extend the functionality of the operating system in the areas of multimedia and security. AI tools Programs with AI functions are currently springing up like mushrooms. Here are a few examples: NMKD Stable Diffusion GUI NMKD Stable Diffusion GUI generates images on command. For example, you can specify that you want to see Bill Gates as the Playstation 2 would have depicted him. IDG Why you need it: AI image generators for the PC are all the rage. Stable Diffusion is a command-line tool that accepts orders in text form and generates suitable images from them. With the GUI (graphical user interface) of NMKD Stable Diffusion GUI, it can also be conveniently operated by mouse. Pinokio Why you need it: In 2024, even more AI tools for the PC will come onto the market. However, installation is not always easy and often not very user-friendly. This is where the Pinokio tool comes in, automatically generating Json scripts for any application with just a few clicks. Upscayl Upscayl can’t work miracles, but at least it helps to increase the resolution of coarsely pixelated images. IDG Why you need it: In films and series, you often see police experts zooming in on blurred number plates in photos and making them legible. But this doesn’t usually work in reality. However, Upscayl is at least able to give coarsely pixelated images a higher resolution and thus make them more recognizable. The program uses AI to determine the most likely color fill for the additional pixels. Windows tuning Using software to make Windows noticeably faster is neither necessary nor possible on most computers. However, there is still room for improvement in terms of operation and functionality. Microsoft Powertoys The Microsoft Powertoys currently comprise two dozen components and further functions are constantly being added. IDG Why you need it: The Powertoys tool collection is not advertised and is still labelled as a “preview” by Microsoft. Nevertheless, updates and new functions are released every few months. Many of the tools, such as File Locksmith or the Hosts file editor, are primarily aimed at nerds who manage Windows as administrators. Others, however, such as the add-ons for Explorer or Awake, also make work easier for normal users. Winaero Tweaker Winaero Tweaker is currently the most comprehensive program for changing the settings and behavior of the Windows user interface. IDG Why you need it: Many changes to the appearance and behaviour of the Windows user interface require intervention in the registry database. The Winaero Tweaker does this work for you. The English-language tool allows you to activate dozens of settings with a simple click and, if necessary, to cancel them again. HWinfo HWinfo has software sensors to determine the current status of your PC’s hardware components and also accesses a database with detailed information. IDG Why you need it: Windows already lists many details about the installed hardware and software in the “System information.” However, the list is far from complete. This gap is filled by HWinfo, which gathers every last bit of information about CPU, RAM, drives, etc. from its database and uses sensors to determine the current system status. Driver Easy Driver Easy searches for the version number of installed drivers and compiles a list of outdated software. Driver Easy Why you need it: For many devices, especially graphics cards, new, updated drivers improve performance and often provide additional functions. They also eliminate bugs that have been discovered in older driver versions. It is therefore worth keeping an eye out for new releases. Driver updates such as Driver Easy do this for you by checking the existing drivers, comparing the version numbers with a database, and alerting you to new versions. Save energy Electricity has become expensive and is likely to remain so for some time to come. With various tools, you can ensure that your PC consumes less. Monitorian Why you need it: You normally adjust the brightness of your screen somewhat laboriously via a menu on your monitor, which you operate using buttons on the underside. It’s easier with the freeware Monitorian: It appears as an icon in the taskbar corner after starting and, after a click, displays a slider with which you can easily change the brightness using the mouse. Optionally, you can also use the software to adjust the contrast. Tweak Power Tweak Power installs a new energy-saving plan on your computer on request, the settings of which are much more finely tuned than those of the Windows plan. Tweak Power Why you need it: In the Windows Control Panel you will find the “Energy Options,” where you can choose between several energy-saving plans. However, the settings for energy consumption in these energy-saving plans are rather coarse. The energy-saving plan from Tweak Power, an optimization tool for Windows, is much more finely configured. After installation, click on the menu icon with the three dashes at the top left, select “Smart Tuning” and click on “Economy mode” under “Current PC mode.” Tweak Power now installs the “Tweak Power Energy Saver User Defined” savings plan in the “Energy Options” and activates it. Its default settings offer a sensible balance between performance and energy consumption. You can also make various other optimizations in Tweak Power by clicking on the cogwheel next to “Economy mode” and switching to “User settings.” Wise Auto Shutdown With Wise Auto Shutdown, you can shut down your computer at a set time, put it into energy-saving mode or restart it. Wise Auto Shutdown Why you need it: Which PC consumes the least power? That’s right, a PC that is switched off. With the free Wise Auto Shutdown tool, you can set a time for your computer to shut down automatically. This is useful if, for example, you have started a large download or installation and left the computer unattended. The program can also reboot the computer or put it into energy-saving mode, log you out of Windows, or simply lock the computer. Tips for driver updates You can use System Restore to remove faulty drivers from Windows. Foundry New driver versions for graphics cards, printers, system components, and others promise more performance and additional functions. However, as competition is fierce, manufacturers often supply driver software that is not yet fully developed. This results in malfunctions and crashes. To avoid such problems, you should observe a few precautionary rules: Do not install new drivers as soon as they are released, but wait two to three months. This is often followed by a bugfix, which increases a version number such as 7.50 to 7.51 and irons out some errors that were recognised too late. Do not install any pre-release or beta versions of new drivers. Create a restore point before each driver installation in Windows. To do this, type create restore point in the search field of the taskbar, select drive C: and click on “Create.” Enter a description and click on Create > OK. Use a driver updater such as Driver Easy. The paid versions of these programs can usually create restore points themselves and download and install new driver versions automatically. Security software The internet has become more dangerous. The number of phishing emails and ransomware attacks is increasing and victims can expect high financial losses. However, you can improve the security of your PC with a few tools. R-Drive Image Why you need it: With a good backup program like R-Drive Image, you regularly back up important and confidential data to an external medium such as a USB hard drive. If you fall victim to a ransomware attack, you will still have an up-to-date copy of your files. In this case, it is best to replace your PC’s SSD with a new one, reinstall Windows and applications, and copy the backed-up files back again. Further reading: Best Windows backup software Bitwarden Why you need it: If you don’t want to manage your passwords on a piece of paper, a password manager is recommended. The open source tool Bitwarden is available as an extension for browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and others, as a Windows program, and also as an app for Android and iOS. It encrypts your passwords locally on your computer and stores them in the Bitwarden cloud. Two-factor authentication can be activated for access. Further reading: Best password managers Neushield Data Sentinel Neushield Data Sentinel focuses on the defence against ransomware viruses and is therefore a good addition to an antivirus program. IDG Why you need it: Data Sentinel is a supplement to an existing antivirus program such as Windows Defender. The tool focuses on preventing the encryption of important folders in Windows and selected cloud storage by offering the ransomware a mirrored version of this data. The malware is led to believe that it has encrypted the originals, but in fact it is merely a fake. The free version offers a few fewer functions than the paid version. How to recognize phishing emails Phishing emails imitate messages from banks, online shops, or other companies to lure you into visiting a website where you are supposed to enter your login details. This enables you to distinguish fraudulent mails from legitimate messages: Check the sender’s address and pay particular attention to the domain, i.e. the part after the @ sign. If it does not match the supposed sender, the email is probably a fake. Move the mouse over the links in the message without clicking, especially over graphics that say “Confirm now,” “To confirm,” or “Click here.” Be suspicious if the displayed link address does not belong to the alleged sender or has been edited with a URL shortener. Carry out a Google search for the sender’s address or simply for the subject line of the email you have received. Look for spelling and grammatical errors in the text of the email and misspelled company names — they make the intention behind the email suspicious. Office programs The major office packages such as Microsoft 365 and Libre Office come with everything you need for your paperwork. With a few additional tools, you can make your day-to-day work even more productive. Docfetcher Why you need it: Explorer comes with its own search function for full-text searches in files, but this is complicated to configure. The open source software Docfetcher makes this easier. It creates an index for selected folders and uses this as a basis to present the search results for a searched term in a matter of seconds. Multimedia The development of image and video editing programs for the PC is still continuing. AI has opened up new possibilities for this type of software. Cutout Pro Why you need it: Marking and cutting out objects in a photo, known as cropping in technical jargon, is a time-consuming task. However, programs such as Cutout Pro show that this work can also be done using software. It allows you to remove people and other objects in no time at all and place them in front of a different background. Capcut Why you need it: Editing videos for social media platforms such as Tiktok or Instagram must be as simple as possible and produce presentable results quickly. Capcut specializes in exactly that. The software was developed for smartphones, but is also available in a Windows version. Use two-factor authentication Large online shops such as Amazon offer their customers two-factor authentication to prevent criminals from gaining access to compromised accounts even with compromised login details. Foundry Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an effective way to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts with shops, cloud storage, payment service providers, or even the online data storage of a password manager. Once activated, in most cases you will receive an additional confirmation request via a smartphone or authenticator app when you log in. 2FA has been mandatory for banks for several years, and most major online service providers now also offer this procedure. This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de. Personal Software
Get 13 Excel courses for $35 this week only
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Understanding how to work with data is one of the important skills you can have in the modern workplace. So, give your professional life a boost with The Complete Excel, VBA, and Data Science Certification Training Bundle. This week only, you can get it for an extra $15 off at just $34.97. This bundle includes 13 courses and more than 50 hours of training from Mammoth Interactive (4.4/5-star instructor rating). It offers beginner-friendly Excel courses so even if you’re completely new to working with data, you can jump in wherever you’re comfortable. The bundle covers a variety of Excel topics, including functions, PivotTables, visualizations, and automation using VBA. Plus, you’ll delve into several other data science tools and topics including Python, Amazon Honeycode, financial analysis, and more. Learn Excel and data science in The Complete Excel, VBA, and Data Science Certification Training Bundle. This week only, you can get it for just $34.97 (reg. $429).   The Complete Excel, VBA, and Data Science Certification Training Bundle – $34.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling returns to Windows after a DNS leak issue
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Just the other week, ExpressVPN, one of the industry leading VPN services, had to take its split-tunneling feature down for Windows users due to a DNS leak issue. The problem is believed to have first begun with version 12.23.1 way back in May of 2022, but wasn’t noticed until recently. While the DNS leaks were confirmed by ExpressVPN, it was believed to be a relatively small number of users, around 1 percent,  who were affected. Windows users can breathe a sigh of relief though, as according to ExpressVPN the issue has now been resolved. Split-tunneling is once again available to Windows users after the service’s engineering team was able to identify and fix the issue. According to an in-depth blog post on the company’s website, the problem was ruled to not be a result of external factors but apparently caused by two separate internal issues.  ExpressVPN Read our review Price When Reviewed: $6.67 per month Best Prices Today: $6.67 at ExpressVPN ExpressVPN stated, “The first issue was introduced when we built our split-tunneling feature for Version 12 of the ExpressVPN Windows app (this issue was never present in Version 10). In every instance, the DNS cache service should have been automatically directed to use the VPN. However, when split tunneling was activated in “Only allow selected apps to use the VPN” mode, the DNS cache service was allowed to operate outside the VPN, which meant that some DNS requests might be misdirected.” “The second issue was caused by the presence of other VPN apps on a Windows device. When other VPN apps were installed, even if they were not in active use, it was possible for their filtering rules to affect the performance of our app. This cross-contamination only occurred when split tunneling was turned on. We improved the filtering logic to eliminate potential DNS leaks with split tunneling.” After extensive in-house testing, ExpressVPN has released two updated versions, Version 12.74.0 and Version 10.51.0 with the bug fixes. It is recommended that all Windows users update these apps as soon as possible. VPN
Save $40 on two 6-in-1 charging cables this week only
Fri, 23 Feb 2024 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Tired of charging cables wearing down or breaking? Sick of carrying multiple cables around to meet all of your charging needs? The InCharge® X Max 100W 6-in-1 Charging Cable resolves both of those issues and you can get two for less than the price of one this week only. The 5-foot X Max is built with precision and convenience in mind. The 6-in-1 design supports compatibility with iPhones, Androids, iPads, laptops, and many more portable devices thanks to USB, USB-C, Lightning, and microUSB hookups. It offers ultra-fast 100W charging for USB-C to USB-C connections and 18W iPhone fast charging so you can get powered up quickly. Plus, it offers up to 480Mbps of data transfer speed. Beyond convenience, it’s also exceedingly durable thanks to aramid fiber that increases thermal, chemical, and bending resistance, TPU cable guards, and nylon reinforcement for extra strength and durability. Upgrade your charging game. This week only, you can get two InCharge® X Max 100W 6-in-1 Charging Cables for 55% off $78 at just $34.97.   InCharge® X Max 100W 6-in-1 Charging Cable (2-Pack) – $34.97 See Deal StackSocial prices subject to change. Accessories
‘Nvidia App’ beta unifies Nvidia Control Panel and GeForce Experience
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 21:46:35 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Windows users with Nvidia graphics cards will be familiar with the Nvidia Control Panel, a somewhat clunky menu interface for the more advanced functions of its GPUs. Nvidia has also been publishing GeForce Experience, a more modern front-end for game settings and driver installations, for the last few years. This is a bit disjointed, so the company is replacing them both with a unified Windows program simply titled “Nvidia App.” You can download the beta version right now. The new Nvidia App (which also replaces the RTX Experience for the company’s workstation GPUs) is a one-stop shop for driver downloads and installations, individual game settings, and the promotional “Discovery” portal. The app also handles Nvidia’s in-game overlay, which can display the current framerate and other statistics, stream via Nvidia Shadowplay, take screenshots, record game clips, and activate AI Freestyle in-game overlays. Nvidia’s announcement notes that it’s not bringing over some social features from GeForce Experience, including broadcasting video and sending images to YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. The announcement claims that axing these features helps the new Nvidia App have a smaller footprint on your storage disk and a “50 percent more responsive UI.” Nvidia isn’t currently saying when the new app will exit beta or when support for the Nvidia Control Panel and GeForce Experience will end. Note that installing the beta will replace the current versions of GeForce Experience, but not Nvidia Control Panel. Quickly testing out the app on my system, it does seem noticeably snappier than GeForce Experience, and I like the more straightforward layout of the left column. I could do without the integrated advertising (Nvidia App, if you know I don’t have Modern Warfare installed on my “Gaming Rig,” why are you offering me XP boosts for it?) or the auto-enabled notifications for same. It is letting me download and install drivers without logging in, which is a plus in my book. Graphics Cards
Our favorite antivirus, Norton 360 Deluxe, is 80% off right now
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 19:47:04 +0000
Source: PCWorld
PCs need security software and if you want wider protection than what Windows offers, Norton 360 Deluxe is one of the best antivirus suites available. Not only does it guard against online threats like malware, ransomware, and network attacks, but you get extras like a password manager, VPN access, dark web monitoring, parental controls, and cloud storage in a centralized interface. And, right now, you can nab a subscription for up to 85 percent off. Normally, a one year subscription costs $120 per year for up to five devices on Norton’s website or $50 for the first year. But if you don’t need that many devices, you can currently grab a one year license for three devices from Amazon for just $15 (typically $75) or 80 percent off. You do get less cloud storage than the five device plan (25GB instead of 50GB), however. If you need more space or more devices (or both), upgraded versions of Norton 360 are on a deep discount, too—up to 85 off the prices on Norton.com. Amazon has slashed Norton 360 Premium to $20 for 15 months, which covers up to 10 devices and offers 75GB of cloud storage for backups. To protect even more gear, Norton 360 Platinum expands your plan to 20 devices for 15 months and 100GB of cloud storage for just $40. These deals should work for both new and existing subscribers to Norton 360. Reviews on Amazon say that you can use these licenses to renew an existing subscription, but also to wait until the last day of your subscription in order to not shorten the time left on your current plan. Don’t want to shop on Amazon? PCWorld’s own software store also has a similar deal on a three device Norton 360 Deluxe license—$20 for 15 months. For the full rundown on everything you get in Norton 360 Deluxe, you can check out our review for all the details. But don’t wait too long to snag this deal—Amazon lists a couple of them as limited time offers. Get Norton 360 Deluxe for 80 percent off on Amazon Antivirus
Sony is officially bringing its VR headset to PC
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 17:20:59 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Last summer we reported that some enterprising modders were trying to make Sony’s PlayStation VR2, the company’s second-gen headset for the PS5, work with standard Windows PCs. It turns out that modders weren’t the only ones with the idea. Sony itself is working on allowing PS VR2 owners to plug into a PC and play virtual reality games, no console necessary. The announcement was made on the official PlayStation blog, with availability later this year as a goal. “We’re pleased to share that we are currently testing the ability for PS VR2 players to access additional games on PC to offer even more game variety in addition to the PS VR2 titles available through PS5,” says Gillen McAllister, Sony Interactive’s manager of content communications. “We hope to make this support available in 2024, so stay tuned for more updates.” The footnote in a longer blog post was spotted by The Verge. It’s a surprise move from a company known for being rather insular with its hardware and software integration, but not out of line with Sony’s broadening gaming strategy. Sony’s publishing arm has been focusing on bringing its most lucrative franchises to the PC for the last couple of years, with staples like Spider-Man, The Last of Us, and Horizon: Zero Dawn being well-received by PC gamers. Sony’s latest exclusive Helldivers 2 launched day-and-date on the PS5 and PC and is currently number one with a bullet on the Steam charts. Since virtual reality gaming is still an expensive niche, doubly so because the PlayStation VR2 requires an expensive purchase on top of an expensive console, it’s hardly surprising that Sony felt the need to expand its potential customer base to high-end PC gamers. Could the PS VR2 find success on the PC? It’s possible. Steam is the most robust PC-based VR platform thanks to Valve’s heavy investment in the Index hardware, but the most popular headset is actually Meta’s relatively inexpensive Quest 2, with the more advanced Quest 3 quickly gaining on it. Their stand-alone capability makes them an appealing entry point for VR, with the ability to connect to a PC being a bonus. Sony’s PS VR2 is neither the cheapest headset ($550 on top of a PS5 purchase) nor the most advanced, but reviewers have praised its high-res screens and comfy controllers. The VR2’s biggest problem is also a PlayStation problem: a lack of depth in its virtual reality game library. Opening the hardware up to PC players could be a perfect way to fix that, while giving Sony a whole new market to play in at the same time. Virtual Reality
Best 4K monitors 2024: HDR, 144Hz, budget, and best overall
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 17:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
4K resolution is going mainstream—even among PC monitors. Delivering a pixel count four times higher than a 1080p display, 4K provides a massive and obvious improvement to image quality. It’s useful not only in games and movies but also when editing documents or browsing web pages. The extra pixels make text look clear and crisp. After extensive testing, I’ve determined that these are the best 4K monitors available today, covering a variety of budgets and use cases. If you’re looking for additional options, see our roundups of the best monitors overall, the best gaming monitors, and the best monitor deals.  Also, make sure you optimize the ergonomics and comfort while viewing that new 4K monitor with a proper monitor arm for your desktop setup. Check out our roundup of best monitor arms to see our top picks. Updated 02/20/2024: We’ve added the BenQ SW272U as our 4K monitor pick for photographers. With attributes such as a glare-reducing hood, SD card reader, excellent image quality, and a high degree of customization, you can understand why this monitor is so well suited for shutterbugs. Read below to learn more about the SW272U. Dell U3223QE – Best 4K monitor Pros IPS Black panel fulfills its promise  Accurate color with wide gamut  High brightness in SDR   USB-C hub with 90 watts of power  Cons Edges of display are noticeably bright  HDR performance disappoints  Only a 60Hz panel  Price When Reviewed: $1,149.99 Best Prices Today: $674.99 at Amazon$859.99 at Dell The Dell U3223QE, which also tops our list of the best monitors overall, is an excellent 4K monitor for professionals and everyday users who want excellent image quality.  Technology is what sets this monitor apart. It has a new IPS Black panel that offers roughly twice the contrast of computer monitors with older IPS panels. This provides a richer image with a better sense of depth and darker black levels in dark scenes. The U3223QE also has a high maximum brightness and excellent color performance with high color accuracy. Images are vibrant and true to life.  Yet there’s more to the Dell U3223QE than image quality. It’s also a versatile USB-C hub monitor with up to 90 watts of Power Delivery. The built-in hub has multiple USB-A ports, Ethernet, and even DisplayPort out.  This is a 32-inch 4K monitor, which may be too large for some desks. Dell also has a 27-inch model, the U2723QE, which offers 4K resolution and the same IPS Black panel. We haven’t reviewed that model but expect it will deliver similar performance. Read our full Dell U3223QE review Monoprice CrystalPro 44522 – Best budget 4K monitor Pros Sharp, clear image Strong color performance Functional ergonomic stand Includes USB-C despite low price Cons Generic design Limited image quality adjustments Not a great choice for viewing games and movies Price When Reviewed: $299.99 Best Prices Today: $219.99 at Monoprice The Monoprice CrystalPro 27-inch monitor (Model #44522) is the top choice among budget-friendly 4K monitors. It delivers a sharp, vibrant display at an affordable price of $300 (often dropping below $220 during sales). The CrystalPro impresses with a sharp 27-inch IPS panel, acceptable color gamut, and precise color accuracy. Its contrast falls within the average range for budget 4K monitors but remains high enough to look impressive in day-to-day productivity. Connectivity is a highlight. The monitor has a USB-C port with support for up to 65 watts of USB Power Delivery, allowing for convenient charging of tablets and laptops. The monitor also has a practical ergonomic stand with height, tilt, and swivel adjustments, setting it apart from competitors that often only have tilt adjustment. The monitor isn’t flawless. Its design is dull and its limited image quality adjustments can pose challenges when customizing the display to your individual preferences. Competitors share these issues, however, so Monoprice retains its advantage. A word of warning: This recommendation specifically applies to the 27-inch Monoprice CrystalPro monitor with model number 44522. Monoprice offers an older 28-inch 4K monitor that can be confused with this display. We only recommend the newer, 27-inch monitor. Read our full Monoprice CrystalPro 44522 review Asus ProArt PA279CV – Best budget 4K monitor for creatives Pros Accurate image High maximum brightness Menu settings allow calibration Has USB-C with 65 watts Power Delivery Competitive price Cons Unimpressive design Luminance uniformity could be better HDR is bright but otherwise falls short Price When Reviewed: $499 Best Prices Today: $444.99 at Best Buy$464.99 at Adorama$499 at Microcenter Want a great 4K monitor, but need to spend less than $500? The Asus ProArt PA279CV is an excellent choice. The ProArt PA279CV is a 27-inch 4K monitor that targets entry-level professional use. It has excellent color accuracy, high maximum brightness, and a good contrast ratio for an IPS monitor.  This monitor also throws in USB-C connectivity. It’s not a great USB-C hub, as it has only a couple USB-A ports, but it offers 65 watts of Power Delivery for charging a connected laptop or tablet. Asus throws in adaptive sync support compatible with AMD and Nvidia video cards. This prevents screen tearing and provides smooth motion in 3D games. The monitor has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz.  The ProArt PA279CV carries an MSRP of about $500, but that price can swing significantly lower when retailers run a sale. We recommend waiting for a discount if possible. Read our full Asus ProArt PA279CV review Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX – Best budget 4K gaming monitor Pros 4K resolution Good gaming performance Tons of ergonomic adjustment options Inexpensive  Cons A relatively low 60Hz refresh rate Price When Reviewed: 399.99 Best Prices Today: $280.75 at Amazon For gamers who enjoy stunning graphic detail and slower paced games the focus shouldn’t be on refresh rate, but image quality and high resolution. The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q gives you both. It is a 28-inch 4K display with a refresh rate of 60Hz and adaptive sync making it compatible with both FreeSync and G-Sync. It’s also modestly priced at only $400 which is a bargain for a 4K display. The refresh rate is quite low for something branded as “gaming”, but if you aren’t planning to play quick e-sports or shooter games, then you won’t have to worry about it. It provides you with outstanding image quality and a vivid color range that more than makes up for the middling refresh rate. The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q delivers on that in most aspects for gamers. But in the end, it’s all about getting a budget friendly 4K display and in that aspect this monitor delivers exceptional value. Read our full Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q review Alienware AW3225QF – Best 4K gaming monitor Pros Excellent color performance and contrast Good overall HDR performance 240Hz refresh rate with great motion clarity Big price drop from prior 4K OLED monitors Cons Stand is too large Curved panel is an acquired taste HDR brightness is still just okay Price When Reviewed: $1,199 Best Prices Today: $1199.99 at Dell The Alienware AW3225QF sets a new benchmark for 4K gaming monitors. It delivers a new 4K QD-OLED panel from Samsung that delivers crystal-clear visuals at a buttery-smooth 240Hz refresh rate, a new high mark for a 4K OLED displays. And it manages to do all of this at a price that undercuts earlier 4K OLED displays, which typically retailed for $2,000 to $3,000 (or more). Despite that, the AW3225QF looks just as stunning as its more expensive predecessors. It achieves vibrant color with an infinite contrast ratio, and kicking the resolution up to 4K reduces the sharpness problems that plagued many OLED gaming monitors in 2023. The AW3225QF also performs well in HDR games. It can’t sustain the extreme brightness of an OLED monitor but handles small, bright objects well and delivers excellent detail in both bright and dark scenes. Alienware’s design is both stylish and sophisticated with an attractive white-and-black color scheme. However, the monitor comes with a massive stand that’s a poor fit for smaller desks. A VESA mount is provided for use with a third-party monitor arm or stand. The AW3225QF’s connectivity options complement its high resolution. It has one DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.1 ports, all of which support the monitor’s 4K resolution at its peak refresh rate. One of the HDMI ports also provides eARC support, which is handy for connecting to home theater devices. In fact, this may prove a popular use for the AW3225QF. Its connectivity makes it a reasonable alternative to a small 4K TV, so the monitor’s appeal extends beyond PC gaming. Console gamers who need a small display should also give it a look. Read our full Alienware AW3225QF review Samsung M8 Smart Monitor – Best 4K monitor for entertainment Pros Has Samsung’s Tizen OS with smart TV features Remote, webcam, and speakers included Excellent SDR image quality HDR quality is good for the price Cons Limited connectivity Annoying to set up and access some features No adaptive sync or enhanced refresh rate Narrow viewing angle Price When Reviewed: $729.99 Best Prices Today: $599.99 at Amazon$699.99 at Samsung A 32-inch 4K monitor is great for everyday PC tasks like web browsing and document editing, but it can be more than that. Monitors in this category are an ideal substitute for a television in a small mixed-used space like a studio apartment, rented room, or dormitory.  Samsung’s M8 Smart Monitor leans into this by fusing the features of a Smart TV with a traditional 32-inch 4K monitor. The monitor comes with a remote and runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system. You can access streaming content, like Netflix or Hulu, directly from the monitor. Yet this is still a great PC monitor. A connected PC or other external device can be used by flipping the input source, as you would on a television. Image quality is solid with excellent sharpness, top-tier contrast, high brightness, and attractive color performance.  The monitor also comes in a variety of attractive stand and bezel color options, with a detachable webcam, and has a USB-C port with up to 65 watts of Power Delivery. It supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 5, too. Read our full Samsung M80B Smart Monitor review BenQ SW272U – Best 4K monitor for photographers Pros Incredible sharpness from its paper-like display Wide color gamut and high color accuracy Excellent ergonomic stand Extensive image quality controls accessible through bundled remote Cons Disappointing contrast ratio Modest connectivity for the price Very expensive for its feature set Price When Reviewed: $1,499.99 Best Prices Today: $1,499.99 at Amazon$1499.99 at BenQ The BenQ SW272U is an excellent 4K monitor for photographers and publishers who prioritize sharpness and accuracy. This 27-inch monitor has a “fine-coated panel” that delivers a simulated paper-like texture and boasts a resolution of 3840×2160 at 60Hz. It also provides a robust, industrial design with ergonomic stand that offers a wide range of adjustment and a glare-reducing hood designed to reduce ambient light. Connectivity includes standard ports like HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C, with the notable addition of an SD card reader, which photographers are sure to like. However, it misses some advanced features like Thunderbolt. The monitor offers an exceptional menu system, accessible through a joystick or a wireless remote, with extensive customization for color gamut, color temperature, and gamma. That’s another key feature for photographers, as it helps users precisely calibrate the monitor’s image based on their needs. The SW272U also has excellent image quality which, of course, is key for its target market. Its color gamut coverage and color accuracy are defeated only by a few of the best OLED and QD-OLED monitors. The monitor’s sharpness also stands out, offering a high pixel density that, in combination with the fine-coated panel, mimics the quality of printed material. The monitor’s contrast ratio is limited, which proves a downside for entertainment, but it’s less of a concern for its target audience. There’s only one real issue, and that’s the price. BenQ asks almost $1,500 for the SW272U, and that’s a lot even for a 27-inch 4K monitor. If you’re a photographer hoping to see what your photos might look like in print, though, it’s worth the premium. Read our full BenQ SW272U review Dell G3223Q – Best 4K 144Hz monitor Pros Bright, sharp SDR image Good color gamut and accuracy Solid build quality and ergonomic stand Great motion clarity at 120Hz or 144Hz Cons Disappointing HDR performance Odd menu choices for creators  Modest USB connectivity Price When Reviewed: $1099 Best Prices Today: $599.99 at Dell$599.99 at Dell Home$668 at Amazon Want a 4K monitor with a high refresh rate for smooth gaming? The Dell G3223Q is an excellent option.  The G3223Q is a 32-inch, 4K monitor with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz and support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro (Nvidia G-Sync also works, unofficially). You can play games at high refresh rates with no screen tearing and smooth frame pacing.  You’ll find two HDMI 2.1 ports on the rear. They’re great for connecting a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game console, since you can play at each console’s maximum resolution and refresh rate. There’s also a DisplayPort input for connecting your PC.  None of this would matter if the G3223Q’s image quality wasn’t excellent—but it is. The monitor has great color performance, high brightness, good contrast, and a razor-sharp image thanks to its 4K resolution.  It’s a good value, too. The G3223Q is towards the low end of pricing for a 32-inch, 4K 144Hz monitor but doesn’t sacrifice features or build quality to achieve it. Read our full Dell G3223Q review Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX – Best 4K HDR monitor Pros Excellent gaming performance 4K resolution Dimmable mini-LED backlight Ergonomic adjustment options Cons High power consumption Extremely expensive Price When Reviewed: $2,999 Best Prices Today: $1,903.23 at Amazon Want the last word in high-resolution, high-definition gaming and entertainment? You need a fantastic HDR monitor like the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX. This monitor has a Mini-LED backlight with 1,152 independent backlight zones. The backlight greatly improves the monitor’s contrast ratio and achieves eye-searing levels of brightness in small areas of the display. The monitor’s maximum sustained brightness is exceptionally high, as well.  As a result, the PG32UQX delivers excellent detail in bright areas of the screen while maintaining good contrast and black levels in darker scenes. It also has exceptional color, which further contributes to a great HDR experience. Overall HDR performance rivals the best HDTVs and blows away most HDR monitors. This is also a 4K 144Hz monitor with support for Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate. HDMI 2.1 is missing, but Xbox Series X|S consoles can achieve 4K 120Hz over HDMI 2.0 through a chroma subsampling mode.  The only problem? You can expect to pay up to $3,000 for this monitor. Viewsonic’s XG321UG is a less expensive alternative that performs similarly, though it lacks 4K 120Hz support on Xbox Series X|S. Read our full Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX review Asus ProArt Display OLED PA32DC – Best 4K monitor for professionals Pros The best SDR image quality yet Good HDR performance Long list of image quality features Exceptionally sturdy Numerous inputs, plus USB hub Cons HDR brightness could be better  Glare can be an issue in bright rooms Only 60Hz, no adaptive sync Price When Reviewed: 3,499 Best Prices Today: $3499 at Asus Most professional monitors support 4K resolution, but the Asus ProArt Display OLED PA32DC stands above the pack. The secret is in the OLED panel. OLED looks fantastic, of course, with excellent contrast, a wide color gamut, and superb color accuracy. What sets the PA32DC apart from less expensive OLED monitors, though, is its use of a conventional RGB subpixel layout. This delivers the best clarity on modern PCs and prevents the color fringing issues that can appear on competitors that use QD-OLED display panels.  Asus provides a long list of image quality presets and options. The monitor has built-in modes for sRGB, DCI-P3, Rec. 709, and AdobeRGB, among others. It also includes multiple, accurate color temperature and gamma modes. A built-in colorimeter can be used to precisely calibrate color accuracy.  The monitor is built for use in a variety of professional settings. It’s a rugged, beefy display with thick bezels and a built-in carrying handle to help with transportation. A standard VESA desk stand is available for use in an office or at home, and the monitor has built-in legs for easy setup at a mobile studio or jobsite.  Priced at $3,000, the PA32DC may seem expensive, but it undercuts competitors like the LG UltraFine 32EP950, Apple Pro Display XDR, and Asus’ older ProArt OLED displays. This is a top-notch professional monitor suited to a wide range of content creation, and those who need excellent color performance will find that it’s well worth the price. Read our full Asus ProArt OLED PA32DC review What to look for in a 4K monitor 4K monitors are more expensive than other monitors, so they pack numerous features and a quality display panel. A typical 4K monitor will have features that are optional on a 1080p monitor. Still, there are a few details you should know before buying a 4K monitor. USB-C USB-C is an excellent choice for connecting a 4K monitor to a modern laptop with USB-C or Thunderbolt. USB-C can bundle Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode, which means the monitor can charge a connected device while it outputs video to the monitor. Some monitors, like the Dell U3223QE, are USB-C hubs that expand connectivity for the connected device. Refresh rate Most 4K monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate. Those that go beyond 60Hz may only support an enhanced refresh rate over a specific port, so be sure to check the specifications. A monitor will need to support HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4 to handle 4K at up to 144Hz.  HDR Many 4K monitors support HDR, but most offer lackluster HDR performance. HDR will function, and may look better than SDR, but won’t approach the quality of a good HDTV. If you want quality HDR, look for a minimum of VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification (or VESA DisplayHDR True Black). How we test 4K monitors We test 4K monitors with a DataColor SpyderXElite color calibration tool. It provides objective measurements for contrast, brightness, black levels, color gamut, color accuracy, and gamma, among other metrics. These objective results can be compared with other monitors to see how each performs against the competition. These objective image results are supplemented with our subjective evaluation of a monitor. We evaluate out-of-box image quality, sampling all types of content from gaming to movies. We look at the feature set. We closely consider details like a monitor’s on-screen menu, ergonomic stand (or lack thereof), and overall build quality.  FAQ 1. Does a 4K monitor need HDMI 2.1? HDMI 2.1 is only important if you want to connect a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X game console at 4K resolution and play titles with 120Hz support. These consoles only support HDMI output, so an HDMI connection is your only option. Most desktop PCs and laptops also have a DisplayPort output. This is preferable to HDMI 2.1 because it supports higher resolutions and refresh rates, so HDMI 2.1 is not necessary to connect a PC. 2. Can my PC handle a 4K monitor? Support for 4K video output went mainstream around 2015. If you have a computer newer than 2015, odds are high that it supports 4K. Most PCs sold prior to 2015 will not support 4K.  Want to be sure? Our guide to checking what graphics card you have will help identify your PC’s graphics hardware. You can then reference its official specifications to find its maximum supported resolution. Gamers be warned: 4K resolution is demanding in 3D games, so you may struggle to see smooth gameplay unless you have the latest graphics hardware. You’ll need at least an Nvidia RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 to play the latest titles at 4K and 60 frames per second. 3. Is text too small on a 4K monitor? Early adopters of 4K monitors often struggled to read small text. That’s because many older applications were programmed such that interface elements have a defined, concrete size in pixels. The higher a display’s resolution, the smaller the interface appears.  Thankfully, this problem is mostly solved. Windows and MacOS have excellent text scaling options and most software developers have updated their applications to properly support 4K displays. It’s still a problem with very old apps that were never updated but, in general, it’s rare to see tiny, unreadable text on a 4K monitor. Monitors
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