This long running magazine has gone in and out of favour with me at times. It can provide excellent tutorials and information some issues and not so much of interest for me at other times. That is my personal experience and opinion. However this magazine has a very good website associated with it which in my view makes up for things in terms of continued interest.
The reviews are good and the rating system seems to work effectively. I have agreed with the reviewer on a lot of occasions and been glad of another viewpoint when looking to purchase a PC related product. The tutorials are a bit hit and miss as some issues they are of use and some issues of no use. The feature stories stand out in my opinion as the most interesting part of the magazine and usually have solid talking points as their subject, whether a current story or a story to become big in the future.
To think that only a few years ago, I was sinking rapidly into a technophobic state of mind. I was quite happy with my lot - a telly, BT landline, car, and the usual inexpensive trappings of most households - except a computer and mobile phone. "What," I asked, "would I need a mobile phone for, or a computer?" and usually had an answer for all the arguments put to me for considering giving both a try - especially a computer
My nephew was a computer buff who enjoys reconditioning or upgrading second hand computers. One day he arrived at my home, carrying a huge monitor, and was closely followed by his son, struggling under the weight of the PC, and who in turn was followed by his mum carrying the bits and bobs to set it all up.
He had reconditioned an old kit and brought it for me to '"Play with," as he put it.
I'm not sure whether I was pleased or horrified. Terrified perhaps.
Having been reassured that it was "idiot-proof," - me to a Tee - I thought. I set about 'playing' but was adamantly determined that I was NOT going to join "That Internet!!" I must have sounded like my old granny did when being persuaded to swap her ancient mangle for a spin-dryer.
It was another couple of years before I relented and began tentatively , exploring that new world of www-dot-coms and emails.
My confidence in new technology was begining to grow, yet I knew there was a tremendous amount still to be learned before I could contemplate claiming anything near computer literacy.
This is where PC advisor came in to my life.
I was browsing, one day, along a large rack of computer magazines in WH Smiths; there were so many to chose from that I just picked up the one I thought might help me. A random selection if truth were told. I certainly needed advice. An advisor gives advice. Hence my choice, the brain was already beginning to use the logical approach - a promising sign.
I took it home and began reading. At first it was all gobbledy-gook to me, but after a few phone calls to my nephew and others in the know . I began to get to grips with all those new words and abreviations.
PC Advisor is not really the book-for-begginers. However, now, a few years on, I can thoroughly recommend it.
It is packed with comparisons between PCs, Laptops and other computing gadgets, as well as digital cameras and mobile phones. They test each model then grade them according to price, style, ease of use, build, looks, efficiency etc. and also give recommendations, based on the findings of their group testing procedures. A bit like 'Which' magazine in that respect
There is also a section on different, and unusual or new websites and programs - some of which are free to download.
A question and answer section deals with problems experienced by the more experienced computer users. Most of which, are still over the top of my head as yet!! Although I have found one or two that I could understand and that have helped me.
Often each magazine comes with one or two free CDs.
Despite all the complicated jargon that accompanies computing, I found this magazine, easy to read and eventually, less difficult to understand. I did like the fact that when using abreviations - like USB or url, they would print and bracket each word, that the letters stood for -which made it feel less like I was learning a new language and didn't leave me feeling so ignorant.
Each monthly issue costs £4.99, but do offer a years subscription at a much reduced cost.
I am still learning, and not quite so scared of new gadgets and technology as I was, thanks to my nephew and PC Advisor. No doubt, the other PC magazines would have been just as helpful, but it was this one that beat them to it.
I celebrated my 40th birthday recently. I was very lucky and happened to receive a brand new, shiny PC as a present from my brother and my parents.
Despite having a job as a systems/business analyst (managing a marketing database), I am remarkably uneducated about the inner workings of the humble personal computer. As I now have one that is adoringly and lovingly used on a daily basis, I felt decided it was time for a personal training and education programme!
Theres a rake of publications out there aimed at the home PC user, and as the rest of my family subscribe to PC Advisor, I thought I could do worse than start here!
***CONTENT & LAYOUT***
This is a hefty magazine, weighing in at 230 pages, so its more of a brochure than a magazine! The first thing to impress me about this publication was the content of the Contents pages. They are neat, they are clever, they are easy to read. The contents themselves are colour coded and laid out in a systematic and methodical manner. Even the inset pictures are linear. It works as an index page as the eye is drawn to the relative article by the colour coded heading , or an appropriate image.
However, the contents themselves are divvied up into broad headings, which is consistent with the manner in which most magazines deliver these pages. In PC Advisor we have Regulars, Reviews, Features, Top 10 Charts and Heres How.
Given that I have a new toy and want to maintain its general health and security, subjects of interest for me at this current moment in time are privacy and security. I was specifically interested in any coverage of anti virus or firewall software. Although there was nothing specific in this issue, there was an interesting article about safeguarding privacy when using instant messaging software. Definitely appropriate to me as I use Yahoo and MSN Messengers, as well as AOL IM software, and use them all on a fairly regular basis.
Im also interested in the current debate around the launch of Service Pack 2, released to support Windows XP. There is a very interesting article in this issue that discusses whether SP2 is a must have product. Personally, my jury is still out and I havent quite made my mind up.
Although I was given a new PC, alas I dont have a printer, so was interested in any coverage around suitable hardware. In this months publication PC Advisor review all in one devices which has encouraged me to consider whether this type of printer is for me.
There are numerous problem solving pages, internet advice, windows advice, application support, etc. You name it, its here. The publication is definitely aimed at a broad market and seems to cover a wide range of issues. Im not surprised that many people buy it regularly, as it would be unlikely not to find something of interest to you.
PC Advisor usually contains some kind of cover disc containing a broad range of free software. These discs contain full programs (some with timeouts) like Panda Internet Security, trial programs, patches, toolbars and games. This months edition contains an Internet Security toolkit.
Somewhat surprisingly for such a weighty tome, features are quite limited. This issue contains just four, one on troubleshooting PC problems, an article on common Wi-Fi (wireless free) issues, a feature on the no-messing guide to instant messaging and a review of laptops aimed at helping the prospective buyer target the right laptop for them.
Although initially disappointed with the lack of features I soon discovered that there were some noteworthy articles contained elsewhere in the magazine. For example, substantial hardware and software reviews are unsurprisingly found in the Reviews section, whilst a few really useful articles were actually found in the Heres How section hidden under the strapline of workshops. I found good use for the article entitled Conquer cable clutter, containing good advice on managing the multitude of cables that seem to breed with PCs and hardware!
Other workshop features in this issue featured an article on how to create and burn a DVD movie disc as well as how to boost the performance and storage capacity of an ageing laptop.
PC Advisors major downfall is the extraordinary and humungous amounts of advertising. However, this is probably also one of the keys to its success. In a magazine review, I would ordinarily count the pages to obtain a rough gauge of the percentage of advertising vis-à-vis total content. Well, not in this one; I dont have the time and I certainly dont have the inclination.
Lots of big brand advertisers - Dell, PC World, Acer, Mesh, Sony. If you can think of a name associated with personal computers, software, hardware and home computing, its likely youll find an advert somewhere in PC Advisor!
Not only does the publication contain a rather irksome number of advertising pages, it also has glossy pull out advertising features, not to mention those really annoying inserts that have a habit of falling all over the shop floor.
When I picked this up, I was frantically looking for the price on the front cover. Its not that Im tight or anything (despite my Scottish roots); I just wanted to make sure I had enough loose change on me to buy it in Sainsbury. Well, I neednt have worried, because you need more than loose change to procure this little beauty. In fact, you need £3.50 per issue.
I think thats surprisingly expensive. Again, its not because Im frugal - its simply because I would have imagined that they could sell it for less, and at profit, with the amount of advertising it contains?
***MY HUMBLE OPINION***
My overall conclusion is that I liked it, I thought it was OK. For the moment, my opinion is that its mediocre. Nothing in the content leapt out at me and told me that I must buy this without fail every month.
As for my general personal education and training in relation to personal computing, yeah, this issue was useful and I did learn a few things and pick up a few interesting snippets of information. It also delivered in terms of meeting some of my objectives in relation to privacy and security issues, as well as providing a review of a product that I have a significant interest in at this moment in time - I.e. printers.
To summarise, the positives for PC Advisor is that it covers a broad range of issues that will appeal to a number of home computer users. Its layout is clear, concise and sharp and it cleverly utilises printing techniques to make important articles and features easy to read and gentle on the eye. Its Contents page is second to none that I have seen to date.
The negatives for PC Advisor are its price, the huge amount of advertising and advertising features and probably the least attractive magazine cover I have ever seen! The other criticism I have of this publication is the misleading title - in my opinion, this leads me to believe that all my problems will be solved through the use of this fantastic aid. Well, theyre not. Its much more of a review magazine, giving in depth advice on hardware, software and current trends in home computing issues.
Would I buy it again? Probably. But every month, definitely not.
My general rating 7/10.
Thanks for reading.
© Christina ;-)x
PC Advisor is a magazine that claims to give 'expert advice in plain English'. This is yet another computer magazine on the market that gives away free software and helps advise about PCs. But is it as good as others on the market? COVER DISC There is only one cover disc on this magazine and yes it does have a lot of software on it, but compared to other magazines most of it is trial or shareware products, not full programs. The DVD does seem to rate slightly better (I am only going on what's in the magazine as I buy the CD version) there's more programs and utilities on the DVD. COMPETITION There are always several prizes up for grabs and you can enter by the website or by using a freepost address. READERS WRITES Got any moans or groans? Then this is the place to vent your fury and write your problems down. In some cases PC Advisor will reply others they won't and there are never many readers letters shown, the writer of the star letter wins a Canon SmartBase MPC400 multifunction printer. NEWS This fives the latest news of the computer world, giving details of new products, the details of what the major players in the PC world are doing and also detailing any up and coming legislation that will affect pc users. TOP GEAR This gives details not only of new products but details some of the top products to have. The price and contact details are shown. REVIEWS This section rates and reviews different products from hardware to software. Each product has a rating but there is no overall rating which is quite annoying as you can't just look at the overall ratings and see how good the product is but you have to look at a set of ratings. The ratings are in the following classifications: 1-3 poor, 4-6 average, 6-8 good and 8-10 excellent. The PC Advisor gold award is given to outstanding hardware products and also honours excellence in any other product. TECHNOFILE
The technofile is where a certain topic is taken and explored in detail (April 2003 had a feature on motherboards). A range of products is tested and a features a comparison table of each of the products shown. READERS CHOICE This is where PC Advisor takes real life readers looking to buy PC-related items and then gives them the choice of several, they both test the products and the reader then chooses the one for them, this is good as it may well show the true life product rather than just the specs that the magazine writes. CONSUMER WATCH This is where if you've got a problem with a manufacturer of pc seller you can write in and name and shame them, or if you want to know your rights on certain things to do with the PC trade then this is the place to look. If a manufacturer or PC seller has been particularly good it is also noted here. They also have a supplier profile that profiles major players in the pc world. WORKSHOPS This section gives workshops on a range of things. Not all of these workshops can be useful and if you're not very good with the PC it's probably best to stay well away. The workshops don't cover some of the main applications that we are all likely to use, although there is a section devoted totally to Windows XP. BROADBAND This section gives details on the latest broadband news and gives help on how to set up certain broadband aspects. HELPLINE Helpline is a series in which readers write in with their problems and PC Advisor will try to answer them. There are several categories: general, windows, the Internet, applications and pass it on which is tips from readers. LIFESTYLE The leisurely part of the magazine! It has reviews and details of the latest pc games. CLASSIFIED Classified ads for all parts of the PC world. TOP 10 CHARTS This has several top 10 charts, they give the specifications and details of what PC Advisorthi
nks are the top 10 products on the market. The charts include PCs, digital projectors, notebooks, digital cameras and video cameras, personal printers, graphic cards, monitors and DVD and CD ROM drives. COST The cost of the CD edition is £3.49, I don?t know about the DVD edition, as my local shops don?t stock it. To subscribe to CD issue costs £23.97 for 12 issues and for 12 DVD editions is £39.99. This is admittedly cheaper than most of the other magazines on the market. VERDICT PC Advisor is an average magazine although it is one of the cheapest, but there are much better magazines on the market. I would buy the magazine again but only if there wasn't anything else around. CONTACT www.pcadvisor.co.uk PC Advisor, Fifth Floor, 85 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4TQ Tel: 020 7291 5999 Fax: 020 7436 2370
PC Advisor, its slogan - Expert advice in plain English, is pretty true to the magazine. Not only is it good if you want to keep up-to-date with all the latest gadgetry, but also if you are thinking of buying a peripheral for your computer. I was thinking of buying a new scanner last year, and they recommended the HP ScanJet 4300C for my type of use, and once I got it to work it was great. I only had a few compatibility problems. If you are thinking of buying a new PC or just a peripheral then take a look at the charts, either in the magazine or on the web. Their reviews of them are straight to the point, although they may be considered a little short. I would definitely trust their word against anyone else I know. They also write guides, and things like program secrets. These are very useful, because they can help you to get the most out of a program. The first one I read that they had done was one on How To Get The Most Out Of Windows. It was a couple of years after I had bought my first PC, and I told me how to customise it, instead of the same old bland windows theme. They are all very useful. It is more of a magazine that I buy when I am thinking of buying something, like a new scanner or program. It doesn?t even cost as much as its rivals (mainly because over half the pages are adverts and there are about 300 pages per issue). One problem I have with this magazine is all the adverts, I understand it makes them a lot of money, put it also gives you slightly sore fingers, after all the page turning. Over the past couple of years the cover-discs have really lost touch. They used to have really useful software for you to use free. The best piece of software lately has been the DigiGuide. Anyway, the magazine can stand on its own without the cover-discs anyway, so it isn?t really much of a problem. ~~~The Deciding Factor~~~ Overall, it isn?t a magazine that I would consider buying on subscription, even though it is o
nly £2.99, I don?t need every issue, although it is useful if you want to keep abreast of all the latest gadgets and computing gizmos. Tybalt!
This is not a magazine that would interest you if you didnt have a computer. It is for people that have had a bit of experience on a computer. First of all I thought £2.99 was expensive for a magazine which at first glance looks like it is full of advertisements. It comes out monthly. On glancing through it though I discovered that this was cheap for all that you got in this magazine. Most months you get a free CD with it on the front page and November is no different. It is Office 2001 this month and has photo paint and spread sheets on it so it is worth the £2.99 just for this CD. The contents are very varied. It has such headings as In Focus, reviews, consumer watch, news, in depth, workshop and even a lifestyle. It also has good regular slots such as readers write and a good readers sites article where if you think that you have a good website you write and tell them and they will give you some advertising. My favourite is the reviews. This can be on hard or soft ware. The reviewing is very good and very informative and at the end of the reviews it gives you a verdict. The top 10 charts is on many different items. This month it is palm pcs, handhelds, cd drives, digital projectors, monitors, graphic cards and flat bed scanners and printers. With all the information that they give you here it makes it so much easier to have an idea of what you are looking for when you either go on line to buy or in the shops. The reviews are not biased and they tell it exactly as it is. You feel that they are telling it truthfully not to get around the manufacturer or to impress anyone. All in all buy this it is good and you get your monies worth.
PC magazines abound the shelves of bookshops and newsagents and PC Advisor is one that vies with the rest for our attention. It got my attention all right, not because of the bright red masthead with stark white writing or the price of £2.99 for issue 71 for August 2001 with a CD ROM but because I was in hospital and was bored. I reasoned that a magazine with 258 pages would keep me occupied for a few days and I might actually learn something. Keeping me occupied it did and at the time of reading I did learn a lot but with so much information being thrust into my tired old brain cell I quickly forgot what I had learned (read). But I did have a reference point should I ever need it. PC Advisor is a publication of the International Data Group, the world’s largest publisher of computer-related information and the leading global provider of information services on information technology. Their words not mine. Under various names PC Advisor is published all over the world. Like most other magazines the staff that produce the magazine are listed but unlike other magazines there is an e-mail address for each person and half of which are women. Not that there is anything wrong in that but it just goes to show that computers are not just ‘boys’ toys any more. Above the masthead is the claim, “Expert advice in plain English” and I guess the claim is more or less just. This magazine has everything that you would expect of a computer magazine including the standard reader’s letters and help pages and does contain masses of adverts. The August edition has a feature on how to fix your sick PC and also an easy step-by-step workshop on how to build your own PC. Products are reviewed by the gross (for the metric modern person that means 144) and all you need is money to buy them. A nice touch is that at the back is a ‘Fast Find’ list and a ‘Product Locator’, which takes the hassl
e out of finding something of interest. A yearly subscription costs just £23.97 for the CD version and £39.99 for the DVD version and the DVD can be bought separately for £2.50. These are UK prices. At £2.99 per month for the CD version (£1.99 by subscription) it is not going to break the bank but the reader is likely to get input overload. A curious thought has just struck me. At £39.99 for 12 issues with DVD by subscription, that is £3.33 each. Knock off the cost of the DVD at £2.50 and you are getting your magazine for just 83p. Now that has to be a bargain.
First of all, to make it clear, PC Advisor is NOT a magazine for gamers. There are only about 3 game reviews a month and these are brief. Instead the magazine is all about as the title suggests, Advice. And in this area it delivers. There's so much advice in each months magazine that there is always something there you didn't know and that you find useful. From how to install hardware in your PC to common Windows hints and problems. There is a wealth of Top 10 Recommended charts, and Hardware like Monitors, Graphics Cards, Printers are all reviewed, rated and put into a top 10 chart with the customer in mind. I have always found this magazine to be useful when trying to solve a problem or for advice on what to buy and at just £2.99 you can't go far wrong buying this magazine. One gripe I do have of this magazine though, is that there is way too much adverts in it! About a quarter of the magazine is adverts! Overall though a good magazine for advice but NOT for gamers.
PC Advisor is a magazine that I have been buying off-and-on since it came out. I now subscribe to it (£42 for 3 years, I think – it was a long time ago!). I was at first attracted by the promise of “real” software packages on the free CD-ROM every month (not trial versions with limited facilities or life-spans). They have kept true to their word, but as time goes by, I am finding less use for them, although programmes like IBM Books Encyclopaedia are useful. There is also the option of a DVD version, which obviously promises a huge hike in contents including sample movie clips. Alternatively, you can buy the DVD separately I think the main attraction with this magazine, is that it doesn’t talk down to inexperienced people. Instead it puts over complex topics in jargon-free language, on the assumption that you must be a little bit interested in PCs to have bought it. Reviews of hardware are regularly revisited to keep the Best Buy charts up to date. Its Workshop articles frequently cover some problem I have been grappling with (I build my own PCs), and are almost certain to be “razored" out and filed away. Of late, they have been particularly useful with MS Office “Master-classes” Likewise, there are “What’s New” articles relating to all inter-related media, like developments in hi-fi, digital TV, camcorders etc, since there is a coming together of all things technical with the PC at the hub. Software reviews cover the “serious” user’s needs as well as the game player's. There seems to be just the right amount of ads to be useful, without taking up too much of the book. On a recent quiet holiday in Cornwall, I had occasion to read the thing from cover to cover, rather than dipping in as I normally do. I must say that I am more impressed as a result, with one proviso – a ce
rtain amount of repetition seems to be creeping in. Now, I know that the magazine needs to cater for a continuing “churn” of readers, some of whom are PC virgins. This, in turn leads to frequent “glossary of terms” articles explaining the meaning of “Modem” or “VGA”. If it’s not that, it’s articles on how to upgrade a PC by adding more RAM or another hard drive. I’m starting to feel a bit like someone who has bought two copies of the same encyclopaedia. Maybe it’s time to move on when that happens. My only other major beef concerns the wealth of glossy (and stiff) adverts which always make the book fall open at a specific spot – no doubt their aim. However, they annoy me intensely, and are always the first thing to go in a frenzy of ripping and recycling!
Here we go for another one of my ramblings about another computer magazine. Read on if you can bear it!….. PC Advisor is a good computer magazine in its own right and compares favourably to some of the other magazines, but it’s not strictly aimed at the homeuser market. I feel that PC Advisor is more for the business buyer who has to keep an eye on the rapidly changing face of computers. You may feel totally different about who the magazine’s aimed at, but read on to find out the rest of my thoughts, and then you can shoot me down in flames! (My parachute’s at the ready!) Regardless of what I may think, it still doesn’t take anything away from the fact that PC Advisor is a very useful computer magazine. PC Advisor is useful to anyone that’s looking to buy their first or one hundredth computer or anyone that’s looking to upgrade their existing computer. I normally buy PC Advisor when there’s a good program on the cover CD that is useful to me or someone that I know. Many people do the same thing because it’s a cheap way of getting all those expensive programs. I still read the magazine from cover to cover and even some of the advertising….. sad, but true that I read the adverts, but hey, I like to see what’s on offer & dream! At £2.99, you get exceptional value for money. You get a feature packed magazine and a good cover CD at the same time. Here’s a quickish rundown of the main features of PC Advisor for you to get a quick idea of what you are buying. IN FOCUS: Each month the magazine picks a juicy big topic and then delves into the murky depth to give you the low down on it. This could be any breaking topic or one that’s just reared it’s head again to haunt everyone again. Recent topics were comparisons between Pentium Three (PIII) processors and the nice shiny new but highly expensive Pentium Four (P4). This was a revelation fo
r a lot of people who had images of a big P4 monster machine and I think that it put many potential buyers off the idea. Regardless of the topic that’s being looked at, it’s always a really good, informative read! NEWS: This is where you can find the main roundup of the main news in the world of computing that were around at the time the magazine went to print. Some of the time the news contained here will be slightly outdated, but it will nearly always still have a big relevance on what’s happening today. Yet another good read. REVIEWS: Now, who can resist reading about all those lovely new products and gadgets that have just come onto the market? I for one love reading the reviews! It doesn’t matter if they’re reviewing the latest all singing all dancing PC that eliminates user errors by eliminating the user! Or the latest bit of software that thinks for itself & tells you to get a life or whatever nice new product is on offer…I just enjoy finding out about the new stuff! You can learn quite a bit by reading the reviews, then going to PC World to annoy the sales advisors by asking tricky questions! In the reviews section you also get: TOP 10 CHARTS: This virtually a top 10 of everything that’s to do with computers and is very useful indeed as you can compare similar products and their extravagant prices! Should you be interested in a new monitor, graphics card, software, or complete computer, this is a great reference guide to give you basic ideas. PC BUYING ADVICE: Advice on buying a new computer. Here you get a guide about what to look for and what you may need when looking for that new computer. They haven’t included NOT BUYING FROM THE DIXONS’ CHAIN, but that will probably be in the guide before too long! You also get other features that appear regularly and a couple of them are: WORKSHOP: Each month PC Advisor print works
hops that change all the time. The workshops could be about fitting a new drive, motherboard or anything really be it hardware or software related. This is one of the best features of PC Advisor. HELPLINE: Ah, everyone’s’ favourite read in any computer magazine! Here’s where you find out who messed up big time and needs to get the problem sorted before the boss finds out! There’s some really goods information to be found in these pages. I spend ages reading through the help sections of all computer and Internet magazines. LIFESTYLE: This basically means that it’s the games section of the magazine and is where you will find all the games reviews. They look at a good variety of games that are just on the market and those that will be there soon. Sometimes the games section can be a bit hit and miss for me, but that just depends on the games that are on review. COMPETITIONS: Guess what this section is dedicated to? Answers on a postcard for this one! All I can say is that the prizes on offer are normally high quality and rather pricey, but your wouldn’t turn your nose up at them if you were to win. COVER CD: Time to find out what goodies are on the cover CD. Normally you’ll find a good range of software is on offer and there’s some truly great free full programs here too. Then there’s all the usual updates that virtually all computer magazine cover CDs have on them. READERS’ LETTERS: How can you miss this bit? Some letters are excellent and you learn from them, but then you get the crawlers’ letters who are basically looking to get a freebie if they can. It’s amazing how brown nosed some people will be if there’s a chance of a freebie! Other than these main features, the rest of the magazine is virtually all advertising (hence the low price I suppose) and again this can be helpful as you can save money here at times.
Well my learned friends, that’s PC Advisor in a nutshell, ok a rather large nutshell. I hope you find some useful bits in my rantings.
PC Advisor is a very informative magazine if you already have basic PC knowledge. It is published by IDG Magazines and is one of the better magazines available for those who have some knowledge of PC`s and the mumbo jumbo language that goes with them. I especially like the best buy categories where you can find out which of the new eg laptops are worth looking out for or which latest gadgets are on offer. The magazine also contains a cover disk (which I know isn`t a surprise as most magazines to do with PC`s do). The quality of the cover disk does tend to vary. I found that the disk seemed to have been released on other more expensive IDG magazines first and the PC Advisor released it a few months later. However, as the price of the magazine is quite reasonable, you can`t really complain. For the best value, you should take out a subscription. The company are currently offering a good deal so look out for it. Overall, I would recommend PC Advisor for it`s informative, accurate and interesting reviews. However, if you like to read every page from cover to cover, you may get a bit of a headache as the content needs some previous knowledge of PC`s on occasions. I hope you find this review interesting.
PC Advisor is the best magazine around, if you want to buy any computer related items. It has a listing of the top of the 10 items for all computers, printers, scanners, digital camera etc. One thing I personally like about this mag is that, it has a section for new gadgets. They are quite friendly as well, because they answer our questions and if they think it is a good question, they publish it in this mag. They have the latest news and reviews. They also have a helpline section, which answers our everyday life computer problems. It includes budget PC's and most expensive PC and runs its own benchmark tests to figure out which one is the best. I think it is a very interesting mag. I read quite a few mag. but was quite bored, because there was lots of information in them, but it wasn't presented nicely. But with PC Advisor it is a different story altogether. I personally hate reading, I am a very practical person. If this mag, can get me interesting into reading it, I am sure you guys will interested in it as well. Give it a try, it is not that expensive as well.
PC Advisor is a monthly magazine published by IDG, which as its name suggests is designed to advice people about PCs. It is available with either a CD-ROM or a DVD on the cover, with the DVD version costing extra at £4.99. The contents section of the magazine always looks very promising and they do appear to have a lot of content although this isn't actually the case, as I'll explain in a minute. The first part of the actual magazine is imaginatively called 'Welcome' and it gives a brief introduction to the magazine. The next part is all about the cover disc and it goes into a lot of detail about the programs featured and some of their capabilities. After this is the 'Readers Writes' page which is where the readers can write in and express their views. Often in other magazines this is relegated to the back pages, so it is refreshing to see them so early in the magazine. One slight criticism is that the editorial staff hardly ever make comments on any of the letters so the magazine doesn't have a personality. After the letters page is the News section. This features a lot of news in pretty good detail but because it is a monthly magazine, it is often out of date with the latest happenings. The layout is clear and helpful if a little dull. In the latest issue they had a 'Comdex Special' which featured a lot of the new products that were seen at the Comdex convention. They don't have things like this every month but when they do crop up they are interesting and informative. After the News section, there is what PC Advisor calls 'Quick Study' and this is essentially a brief insight into the quirkier sides of the computer industry. For example, in the latest issue they focused on Easter Eggs, the little tricks that programmers hide inside programs. This is only a page long but is often fairly lighthearted. After this brief interlude, the reader is treated to the New Products
section. This is fairly self explainatory in that it features lots of new products. The magazine doesn't actually review these new products, instead it tends to list their features and innovations. This section is a nice easy read and makes a welcome break from some of the more taxing articles which are found later on. The next section afer New Products is normally some kind of in depth feature. In the latest issue, this is about Next Generation PCs. This is a long article, about 5 pages long but often it tries to accomplish a bit too much and leaves the reader wanting to know a bit more because it is often too vague. Following this section is the Reviews area. This features reviews of loads of products. On average, these reviews are about half a page long so they don't always go into enough detail but they are fairly good. My only major criticism would be about the products that they review. They seem to review loads of laptop computers and scanners but very little for the home user. They then proceed to review software which for the most part is pretty useful. The section following this, is in my opinion, the downfall of the magazine. They have a whole heap of Top 10 Lists for PCs, Printers, Graphics cards, Scanners, Cheap PCs, Very Cheap PCs, Laptops, Sound Cards and Palmtops. This takes up about 50 pages of the magazine and it is just a plain waste of space.
Back in October 1998, before I decide to trade in my Playstation for something a little more useful, I bought some magazines so that I could read up on PC's. PC Advisor was the magazine I bought for two months before I decide to spend £1000 on a computer. I based the computer on reviews that I had read in the magazine and even purchased it from one of their advertisers. I was so happy with my computer that I subscribed to PC Advisor, and I have to say that since then it has disappointed me. Just lately I have noticed that they have started to re-cycle their editorials, updating them a little, then trumpeting it on the front cover. '101 Windows secrets' then a couple of months later it's again 'Get more out of Windows'. Then it's a feature on essential troubleshooting tips and tricks, and again it's repeated a few months later. Instead of devoting pages on what some of us already know, why don't they put the old article on the cd in pdf format, and have an update page inside the magazine, pointing to the pdf file, for the newer reader. The top 10 product listings are lawys up to date and in some ways this is a bad thing. if you are trying to save a little on buying products that are a little older then their top10 listing is useless, as the hardware is generally very recent and so very expensive. The cover cd's, which are an important part of the magazine as a whole, quit often end up being thrown into a drawer and forgotten about. Over the couple of years that I've subscribed to PC Advisor they've given me different versions of encyclopedia's, graphics applications etc sometimes within a couple of months of each other. I would have thought that 1 encyclopedia, 1 paint program etc. would be enough in a 12 month period but I'm obviously mistaken. The magazine's redeeming feature are it's helpfiles. Good in depth answers to questions without sarcasm or taking th
e proverbial out of the letters author, but is that enough on which to base the purchase of a magazine? I am still a subscriber, but I think that this may be my final year, unless things improve over the next few months.
Be honest now! Is it not true that when you look on the shelf at PC mags you first look to see what is on offer with the free CD? Then you look closer at the content, but a deciding factor on which mag you buy does rest on the CD. Well at least it did with me and I got sick and fed up of paying for a mag to find the CD contained shareware with only part of the program operating or even time bombs were present and unless you paid for upgrading it became US after so many runs. This is NOT the case with PC Advisor. All CDs held FULL programs (maybe not the latest version, but so what!) And the mag content was full, nay packed, with really useful information. It has product reviews, tips with hardware and software and a brill section where readers probs are answered. Yes,Yes, I know that many other mags offer this too, but the CD? Eh! You can't beat that for value. The programs they offer are good stuff, really useful. So there