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This is the most recent feed available as of 01/17/2021 at 03:30 AM

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Unboxing and ears-on impressions

Samsung just unleashed its first premium pair of earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, and they come brimming with features such as improved water resistance, spatial 3D audio, adjustable active noise cancellation, a four-step ambient noise mode, and the ability to dial down the ANC and up the ambient sound when you start talking.

We’ll have a full review of the Galaxy Buds Pro once our review takes them for a thorough test drive, but I couldn’t resist cracking the box and taking them for a quick spin. Read on for my first impressions.

Design

Inside the box you’ll find the Galaxy Buds Pro sitting in their charging case (roughly an inch thicks, and two ounces with the earbuds inside), along with a USB-C to USB-A charging cable and three eartips—small, medium, and large—in addition to the tips that are already on the buds.

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Apple’s next MacBook Pros might dump the Touch Bar, revive MagSafe
Two new reports from Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman claim that Apple is planning big changes for the next MacBook Pro: MagSafe and function keys.

Gigabyte unrolls GeForce 30-series with both Core and Ryzen CPUs

Gigabyte will adopt Nvidia’s new 30-series GPUs across its powerhouse Aero and Aorus laptop lines—and finally offer Ryzen 5000 alongside its Intel-based laptops, too. Announced at CES, pricing and availability weren't immediately available, but we do know a fair amount about the features.

We’ll start with Gigabyte’s Aorus family, which is aimed at gamers. The largest and likely the most powerful is the Aorus 17G. As its name implies, it’s a 17.3-inch laptop that will feature a mechanical keyboard using Omron switches, and up to a GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU and 8-core Core i7-10870H CPU.

There are caveats wth the 17G. As a Max-Q variant of the 3080, the graphics memory is cut in half to 8GB. Also, the laptop’s fairly thick 26mm body and 6-pound weight strain the definition of portable. It'll get the last laugh in performance testing, though: We’d guess it’ll outrun other 17-inch laptops with thinner bodies and lighter weights. There is an option for an RTX 3070 version as well.

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With the Galaxy S21, Samsung has finally figured out the iPhone's secret: Value
With the Galaxy S21, Samsung is delivering premium performance and design at a much cheaper price.

Best of CES 2021: The smart home and home entertainment products that captured our attention
Attending a virtual tradeshow is a suboptimal experience, but these new offerings still made an impression.

Video: Intel answers our Rocket Lake S questions

Perhaps outgoing Intel chief executive Bob Swan said it best: Everyone expected PC demand to drop off a cliff when the pandemic hit, and it soared instead. Why? In part because of PC gaming. 

At CES, Intel announced Rocket Lake S: a new 10nm (whoops! 14nm core) that carries on the five-year tradition of 14nm process technology at Intel. But there was a reason for that, and Brandt Guttridge, Intel’s senior director of the Desktop Products Group, spoke with Gordon Mah Ung and Mark Hachman on The Full Nerd to explain why. 

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5 innovations that pushed laptops forward at CES 2021

CES 2021 may be virtual, but the event still offered up a trove of PC innovations, and that goes doubly so in the mobile space. Intel, AMD, and Nvidia all announced new laptop CPUs or GPUs, which in turn unleashed new generation of cutting-edge notebooks from every major vendor. We’ve covered our favorite PC hardware announcements in our best of CES roundup.  

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Windows 10X leaks: Hands-on with Microsoft's new, simplified OS

Microsoft’s Windows 10X has leaked, and it’s boring.

Well, it’s designed to be boring. Simple, really—uncomplicated, straightforward, without the fuss and clutter of “traditional” Windows. We wrote last year that Windows 10X now appears to be the new Windows 10 S (Windows 10 in S Mode); after spending some hands-on time with the leaked build, we believe those impressions have been confirmed.

We’d like to say that Windows 10X has been graphically overhauled, with a variety of new features. However, the fact is that if you read our early Windows 10X coverage a year ago—when Microsoft was visualizing Windows 10X as the future of dual-screen devices—little has changed. (Here’s our original Windows 10X hands-on video for reference.) Well, there’s been one major tweak, of course: Windows 10X is now designed for single-screen PCs.

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8 quirks to know about the Samsung Galaxy S21 before you preorder

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 is easily its best flagship bargain in years, with the latest flagship Snapdragon processor, a powerful triple-camera array, and a premium look and feel. But if you’re thinking it’s just an updated version of the S20 or even a smaller version of the new Galaxy S21+, there are a few things you need to know before you plunk down $800 to preorder.

The screen resolution is Full HD+ 1080p

Galaxy S buyers are used to getting the very best screens around. The Galaxy S20 brought a 6.2-inch Quad HD+ 3200x1440 Infinity-O Edge display with a pixel density of 563ppi and a 120Hz refresh rate. While the size is the same, you’re not getting all that with the new Galaxy S21. Rather, you’re getting a flat Full HD+ 2400x1080 Infinity-O display with a 421ppi pixel density and an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. That’s still an excellent display, of course, but it’s definitely a step down from what Galaxy S buyers are accustomed to getting.

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Samsung's new Galaxy S21 lineup chooses refinement over reinvention

Last year’s Galaxy S20 lineup was such a massive change that Samsung introduced a new naming scheme to hammer home how consequential the upgrade was. This year, the Galaxy S21 series refines that vision at much lower prices.

Samsung has launched three Galaxy S21 models in very similar sizes. The S21 and S21+ have 6.2-inch and 6.7-inch screens like their S20 predecessors, while the S21 Ultra is slightly smaller, 6.8 inches versus the S20 Ultra’s 6.9-inch screen. The top and bottom bezels are a bit slimmer as well to create a near-all-screen look, but all three models are essentially the same size as last year's:

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AMD CEO Lisa Su talks: Chip shortages, GPU prices, more cores, Apple M1, and tariffs

If you’re still smarting from the inability to buy AMD’s fantastic Ryzen 5000 CPUs and Radeon RX 6000 GPUs many months after their release, CEO Lisa Su feels your pain but says more products are on the way.

“I do want to be very specific, and the main thing I want to say to our fans and enthusiasts is: I get it, I completely understand that there’s a huge desire for more Ryzen 5000 and Radeon 6000 graphics cards,” Su responded during a Tuesday press briefing when asked what she would say to her exasperated customers. Her talk addressed supply issues, Apple’s M1 chip, the impact of tariffs, and whether 16-cores was the limit for consumers.

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Best of CES 2021: The most intriguing and innovative PC hardware

CES 2021 was virtual, but the parade of PC hardware went on regardless. Big names AMD, Intel, and Nvidia all made splashy announcements, and PC manufacturers followed in their wake with new products, many coming soon.

No time to sift through all our CES coverage? No problem! Read on for our Best of CES picks—the most intriguing and innovative products we saw.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile

ryzen 5000 mobile AMD

Last year you couldn’t find a high-end gaming laptop with a Ryzen CPU In it to save your life. This year the tables are turning, with probably a dozen different designs announced or in the works.

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PCWorld's January Digital Magazine: How much scalpers make selling the hardware you want most

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the January issue

In the January issue find out how much scalpers make on your favorite, hard-to-find hardware. See our suggestion of 5 things Samsung could borrow from the iPhone 12. Want the latest PC hardware? Check out our round up of the best pre-built gaming PCs. Plus, find out how to make Cyberpunk 2077 faster.

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Here's how much more gaming you did due to COVID

It’s no surprise that the global pandemic has spurred a huge uptick in gaming, but we now have an idea of just how much more that might be.

According to figures released from Valve, the parent company of online gaming service Steam, subscribers spent some 31.3 billion hours playing PC games in 2020. That’s a 50.7-percent increase over the hours spent in 2019. Valve also gained 2.6 million new buyers for the year, a 21.4-percent increase over 2019. 

Steam is the largest online service for PC gaming, and like most, it requires you to log in in to play a game. So if you’re looking for a sign of just how much more time people spent mashing keyboards or game controllers, it’s likely an accurate representation.

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MSI will support Resizable BAR across Intel and AMD motherboards, even Threadripper

MSI said it will support Nvidia’s unsexy-sounding, yet performance-boosting PCIe Resizable BAR feature across many of its AMD and Intel-based motherboards.

Enabling PCIe Resizable BAR is a way to allow the technology underpinning AMD’s new Smart Access Memory feature on Nvidia and Intel hardware, too. Smart Access Memory gives AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs full access to a Radeon RX 6000-series GPU’s memory, which can deliver varying levels of extra performance, as we found in our Radeon RX 6900 XT testing. Since Smart Access Memory is based on Resizable BAR, activating it on Intel motherboards should offer similar performance benefits, while Nvidia already said Resizable BAR support is coming to GeForce GPUs, which should work with any compatible CPU/motherboard combination. 

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Qualcomm buys CPU startup Nuvia to beef up PC, smartphone performance

Qualcomm said Wednesday that it plans to buy startup Nuvia for $1.4 billion, potentially as a way to beef up its own CPU efforts and challenge Apple more directly in the Arm computing space.

Nuvia was founded by an ex-Apple chip architect, Gerard Williams III, who was reportedly pushed into designing server chips because of a non-compete clause that he had signed with his former employer. Nuvia’s mission is, in its words, to “reimagine silicon design to create a new class of processor that delivers the step-function performance and energy efficiency improvements needed to power the next era of computing.” Nuvia has never announced a product, though it was suspected to be developing its own Arm CPU for data centers.

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Intel unexpectedly names former CTO Pat Gelsinger as its new CEO

Intel unexpectedly brought back one of its own to lead the company on Wednesday, naming Pat Gelsinger, its former chief technology officer and current VMware chief executive, as its new CEO.

Gelsinger will take over on February 15, replacing Bob Swan, Intel’s former chief financial officer who had transitioned to a full-time role as chief executive after former CEO Brian Krzanich stepped down in 2018. Swan was named as a temporary CEO while the company’s board of directors sought a new hire, but was eventually named as the full-time candidate.

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More graphics card makers roll out significant price hikes

A week ago, Asus warned that its graphics cards and motherboards were about to receive significant price hikes due to “increases in cost for components, operating costs, and logistical activities plus a continuation of import tariffs.” Now, other GPU makers are following Asus's lead—one overtly, and the other quietly.

Like Asus, EVGA isn’t hiding the fact that it’s increasing prices on its popular graphics cards.

“Due to ongoing events, EVGA has made price adjustments on the GeForce RTX 30 Series products. This change was necessary due to several factors and will be effective January 11, 2021,” a notice at the top of EVGA’s graphics card landing page reads. “For those who are currently in the EVGA.com Notify Queue system or Step-Up Queue, EVGA will honor the original MSRP pricing through April 16, 2021, if your purchase position is processed before this date.”

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Ring rolls out end-to-end encryption for select doorbells and security cameras
Available starting today, end-to-end encryption adds another layer of protection for your Ring video recordings, although implementing it also means giving up some key features.

MSI's powerful, portable gaming laptops go all-in on GeForce RTX 30-series

MSI will go all-in on Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 30-series mobile GPUs with its upgraded gaming notebook lineup, as well as Intel’s 10th- and 11th-gen Core CPUs.

MSI GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat

Let's start with MSI’s head-turning GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat. The laptop features artwork of Tiamat, one of the primordial gods. And no, it’s not just paint or a sticker—the artwork has an engraved look and texture on the lid and keyboard.

The GE76 Raider Dragon Edition includes a 17.3-inch screen with refresh rates ranging from 144Hz to 300Hz at 1080p resolution, as well as a 4K UHD option. The 6.4 lbs. laptop will run off of a 230-watt to 280-watt power brick depending on your chosen GPU. Of course, the GPUs you can choose from are Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, or RTX 3060 Max-Q.

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Three AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile chips you should avoid buying

Amid the fanfare over AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 Mobile chips, you might have missed one important detail: Some of the new CPUs use older technology, and it’s hard to tell which ones they are.

The majority of AMD’s Ryzen 5000 Mobile family of chips are built around the company’s Zen 3 architecture—the same architecture underlying the latest Ryzen 5000 desktop processors, which we called the “best consumer CPU we’ve ever seen.” However, a small group is based on the older Zen 2 architecture instead. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that—the Zen 2-based mobile Ryzen 4000 series crushed Intel’s H-series processors in our earlier tests—the fact that AMD isn’t labeling them as such is like finding out the bottle of champagne you just bought is actually filled with beer. 

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Hex Home Security monitors Wi-Fi radio waves to detect intruders
The system analyzes how Wi-Fi radio waves are disrupted as people move around your home and is supposed to be smart enough to ignore pets.

Samsung Galaxy S21 preview: New look, small changes, and a price cut

If you took my advice last month and returned your new Galaxy S20, the day you’ve been waiting for has nearly arrived. On Thursday, Samsung will hold its first Unpacked event of 2021, and the star of the show will be the first Android flagship of the year, the Galaxy S21. Here’s everything we think we know about the new phones:

Design and display

Just when you thought Samsung had run out of ways to make rectangular slabs of glass unique, it finds a new way to spice things up. Based on leaked renders published by Voice, the S21 has a very unique look this year, with a camera module that appears to be cut out from the top corner of the phone. It’s a major visual change from both its own phones and its competitors and is likely to be the start of a new design language for Samsung’s handsets.

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Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice

Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. 

Rest assured, we’ve done the legwork to determine if a VPN service has a history of good or bad behavior. A service has to protect online privacy; allow you to keep anonymity; offer a good variety of locations from which to direct your traffic; offer fast, reliable performance; and provide an easy-to-use interface.

Scroll to the bottom of this article to learn more about VPNs and what to look for when choosing one.

Updated 1/12/21 to include our review of PureVPN, which now has an updated app, an overhauled network infrastructure, and streaming-service compatibility. See links to all of our VPN reviews at the bottom of this article.

To read this article in full, please click here



New Radeon GPUs were barely seen at CES, but they cast a long shadow

Gamers hoping to hear more from AMD’s Radeon division at CES 2021 wound up disappointed on Tuesday, as CEO Lisa Su’s keynote barely touched on graphics hardware. But there was some info tucked into the avalanche of Ryzen 5000 Mobile announcements: Su said that mainstream graphics chips based the company’s new RDNA 2 graphics architecture will land sometime in the first half of the year.

That might give enthusiasts pause. First half? Not first quarter? Didn’t the Radeon RX 6800-series and flagship 6900 XT just launch at the end of the year? Indeed they did, and they’ve been barely available ever since. Stocks instantly disappear, and prices on custom models rise through the roof.

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Razer is bringing RGB to N95 masks, because why not?

Masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 range have evolved from protection to a fashion statement. Now Razer is taking it a step further with Project Hazel, a voice-amplified RGB mask it’s announcing at CES 2021. Yes, RGB.

In March 2020, Razer announced that it would convert some of its manufacturing lines to develop certified surgical-grade masks to help fight the spread of coronavirus, and company executives said they’ve already manufactured a million masks. “And as a natural progression, the evolution of this initiative, we wanted to test our team with looking at developing a new mask, something designed from the ground up for the new normal,” said Mike Scharnikow, a senior marketing manager at Razer.

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The Arris Surfboard Max is a Wi-Fi 6 mesh router
The new entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router was announced at CES 2021.

How the tiny Asus ROG Flow X13 can outpunch big gaming laptops

In one of the boldest claims to come out of CES, Asus claims its convertible ROG Flow X13 can be as fast, if not faster, than much larger gaming laptops.

Let’s say that one more time: Asus is claiming a 2.8-pound, 13-inch thin and light convertible laptop can outperform desktop replacement gaming laptops that weigh more than twice as much. While you might dismiss it as hyperbole, when you hear about the trick Asus pulls to do it, you just might be impressed.

The ROG Flow X13 itself offers up to 10 hours of battery life during video playback, and a 13.4-inch IPS panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. You’ll be able to choose between either a 1920x1200 screen at 120Hz or 4K at 60Hz. Inside, you’ll find a CPU up to AMD’s new 8-core Ryzen 5980HS, paired with a GeForce GTX 1650. 

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Asus's wild dual-screen ROG Zephyrus Duo laptop taps Ryzen 5000, RTX 30-series

Well, you can’t say you can’t get a high-end GPU in a Ryzen gaming laptop anymore. That former truth was shattered on Tuesday when Asus announced a new Zephyrus Duo 15 SE featuring an AMD Ryzen 5900HX and a GeForce RTX 3080 inside.

The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE weighs about 5.3 lbs, features a magnesium-alumide (yes, alumide) body, a 90 watt hour battery, and (as its name implies) two screens.

The primary panel is a 15.6-inch screen that can be had with either a high-frame rate 300Hz 1080p screen or a a 120Hz 4K UHD IPS panel. The secondary 14.1-inch panel comes in a 3840x1100 resolution or 1920x550. Both are IPS and touch-enabled. The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE’s secondary panel tilts up like the previous iteration, which aids in cooling by creating a direct air flow through the chassis and components. For this version, Asus said it has improved cooling performance even more with a new “radically” redesigned fan blade that varies in thickness from the base to the tip. The blades actually actually are shaped to reduce turbulence and fan noise and results in a 13 percent improved air flow.

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Nvidia woos mainstream gamers with the $329 GeForce RTX 3060 and RTX 30-series laptops

Nvidia held its big “GeForce RTX: Game On” event as part of CES 2021 on Tuesday, and as expected, the company revealed a flood of fresh features and hardware for gamers. Not only did Nvidia unveil mobile GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs for laptops, but it also announced a new GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card for the desktop, an expansion of its Reflex Latency Analyzer displays, and plans to support the performance-boosting PCIe Resizable BAR feature that AMD introduced with the Radeon RX 6000-series as AMD Smart Access Memory.

Oh, and Call of Duty: Warzone and the next Five Nights at Freddy’s game are getting Nvidia’s spectacular DLSS 2.0 technology, with Freddy’s wrapping in real-time ray tracing as well.

To read this article in full, please click here





 
 

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