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'PC Format' is the leading PC publication from Future Publishing, who print what can comfortably be regarded as the leading range in PC related magazines. It covers both recreational and utility software and hardware, where 'PC Gamer' is more focused upon games and entertainment. '.Net', a third magazine, covers the Internet. 'PC Format' stands head and shoulders among these and all other PC magazines as the best by far.
The cover-mounted software is responsible for the bulk of the price - £4.99 for 2CD edition, £5.99 for the DVD version. These include often the best, most recent game demos (recently 'Metal Gear Solid', 'Sheep' and 'Pro Rally 2001') and usually a large piece of utility software (such as reference or music software). The DVD edition includes far more, with a large selection of reference drivers and often a major DVD-specific feature. The Christmas 2000 edition featured 'The Thunderbirds Companion', a 53-minute guide to the TV series. Often it is this extra DVD feature that makes the dearer version worth buying, but those unlikely to find a particular month's feature of much interest would not have much to lose by saving £1 and buying the CD version.
The quality of the reviews in both the entertainment and utility sections is excellent. One area of hardware and software is usually focussed on each month, such as graphics cards or internet protection software, where a large selection of each type is reviewed and compared. Ease of installation, quality of product, price and so on are thoroughly examined across the board. Game reviews pay close attention to system requirements and are suitably restrained and analytical - no over-the-top eight-page spreads on the biggest game of the month, just a useful, concise evaluation of its' merits and demerits.
Tips and advice are delivered firstly through a number of step-by-step that which run over a number of months and include such topics as web page authoring, programming and game level editing. Necessary scripts and tools are provided on the cover software. More specific assistance is provided through the letters pages spread across three sections: basics, Windows problems and general issues. My only major complaint applies here. The writer responsible for this section - Luis Villazon - is endlessly and unnecessarily pedantic in his responses. His level of technical feedback is exceptional, but his surly and uncooperative manner serves only to frustrate. The pages are littered with unnecessary graphics and pointless captions, leaving the reader wondering exactly how much of the six pages is filler.
Each issue includes a major cover feature often aimed at improving your knowledge of and ability to use your PC. These are often invaluable, and a beginner to the world of computing can quickly gain a lot of valuable information by following them. However the magazine is not aimed simply at the beginner's end of the PC market, as the information and advice provided can be of great use to more proficient PC users. Perhaps high-level programmers with an intimate knowledge of all PCs should look elsewhere though.
'PC Format' stands proud in a market is swamped with dross. Such magazines as 'Computer Shopper' provide weak articles interspersed with endless adverts. Entry-level magazines like 'PC Basics' are fine to begin with, but after two issues there's little left that these magazines can add to your knowledge. 'PC Format' is a useful step-up for beginners, and makes excellent reading for games-players looking to expand their knowledge of PCs.
I recommend this magazine very highly. Its' cover price may seem prohibitive, but it's the only PC magazine you need each month.
PC Format is released monthly by Future Publishing, priced £4.99 with two cover CDs, or £5.99 with a DVD. Having a shiny new DVD drive in my computer, the DVD option is the one I take, as the DVD version usually has some extra software, and they have recently taken to putting DVD only movies on that you can view either on your PC or DVD player. The cover mounted software usually includes some full commercial software, which although may be a few versions out of date, is still very useful, and there are options to upgrade to the latest versions for special discounted prices. Future Publishing has established a very good reputation for it?s computer magazines and it is easy to see why. The writing standard are very high, they are highly informative while at the same time tongues are firmly planted in cheeks. As with most magazines, it opens with the news section. With any paper based magazine, it can be out of date, but PC Format supplies all the relevant internet links, so you can go along and check out exactly what the state of play is when you get your hands on the magazine. Then follows the ?tech? section, where the latest sophisticated gadgets are explored and reviewed. The most useful part here would be ?Spacemonkey? who looks at upcoming standards and technologies, and explains them fully, so you can be on the pulse and ahead of the game when they are released. It?s explained simply, so even simple layabouts like myself can grasp the concepts. The next section is the features section, the in-depth articles about different things each month. Each article is about 5-6 pages long, and is well balanced out with pictures and words. They aren?t too heavy or long to read, and are very interesting, with some of the trademark humour. You?ll smile at least once in a feature. There?s no point telling you what they are as they change each month, but they are always relevant, and usually there is one on something to do with the internet, one to
do with software and one to do with hardware. This leads to a balanced magazine a very good allrounder!!!!!!!!
I buy this magazine every month and i think its fab. It reviews loads of games and software in every issue in depth and it also gives you detailed instructions on how to do things such as build your own pc or how to remodel your pc case. They also have a website where you can contact the people who write the magazine, or enter competitions which are in the magazine. It has forums on the website and you can sign up and talk to people about the magazine, or computers in general. There are often competitions which you can participate through the magazine or on their website and they tend to have some great prizes. It reviews different types and brands of hardware and advises you on which to buy. It will also advise you sometimes on good places to buy your computer and bits from. Also it gives you some really useful programmes on the cover disks and gives you game demos also to try. It has a wide range of articles from humorous to technical, and i would recommend this magazine to anyone. If you subscribe to the magazine it is also quite cheap. PC format also have no quibbles about you returning and cover cd or dvd that is faulty and will happily replace it for you, which i think is very good. The thing i like most about this magazine though is that over the years it has become more female friendly and i can now happily read it and not have to worry about turning the page and seeing a naked woman. It all about the computers, which i feel makes a nice change. My favourite thing about this magazine though, is that every month they have a selection of webpages that they recommend viewing and although they dedicate very little space to this, its fab as they find some really cool stuff thats just fun to read. Some of them are also very useful. Annother great thing about this magazine though, is its not completely techy in that the articles in it do tend to be about technology, but its not all PC's as you
'd expect. They have funny stories often, a lot of the time about a certain large computer company. Also they do controversial articles with people like eminem talking about software piracy. This basically means that no matter how little or how much you know about computers, this magazine can still appeal to you. It allows you to get the best out of your computer, and shows you what fun things you can do on it. Overall this mag is great value for money and is fun, which all computer mags should be.
I buy this magazine every month and i think its great. The cover disk is fab with loads of useful stuff on as well as game demos for you to try out. Also they do in depth game reviews and software reviews. They tell you everything thats on the coverdisks and in some cases give you tutorials on how to use the software. They have a range of articles ranging from humorous to technical. Also they are totally devoted to making sure that the readers get what they paid for. They review hardware components too so you can choose which items are the best value for money. They sometimes also have articles telling you how to for example build your own pc, or remodel your case to make it look cool.
I was a loyal subscriber to PC Format for many years. I have every issue from #12 to #100, when I started to lose interest in the magazine (the changing of editors started to get to me a little when the format of the magazine kept changing). There are so many aspects to the magazine, which I won't cover in great depth, but they have: Coverdisc/DVD This is usually a collection of recent game demos and software you can find online. What makes the coverdisc/DVD so good at PC Format, is the fact that they tie in the contents to the magazine itself. It's not a bunch of random junk they've found to stick on a CD and fill up space - If they have a big review of a game, there will be a big demo of it on the CD. They will provide applications and utilities that they review or mention in the magazine, as well as usually a full commercial peice of software, to coincide with a "How To" guide they run. It's a top notch CD, bound seemlessly to the magazine. Features/articles PC Format has had an incredibly broad range of featured articles in the magazine. Everything from Web and C++ "How To's", to building your own PC for half the price, to getting the most out of your Desktop Publishing application and graphics workshops - If you can think of it, it's been covered at some stage in one of the issues. These are usually very well written with a touch of humour to relieve the boredom of some of the subject matter they provide - They are usually dead on the money with technical vs interesting/useful information. Game reviews One of the hardest rating team of reviewers around, PC Format has always been pretty good with their reviews. Their policy, unlike so many other magazines, is to review finished games only. This means that, while they may be 1 issue later with a review than many of their competitors, it also means what they review is what YOU would be buying - So ma
ny other magazines review beta-level software with features missing and simply raise the final score to disguise the fact that they've not reviewed the full program. PC Format's reviews typically score less than most other magazines, however this simply translates into the fact that they spend more time actually reviewing products and making sure they really do provide value for money. The games section is also usually quite big, and while they are not strictly a gaming magazine, they provide enough gaming content to keep even the most avid gamers happy. News PC Format typically has the latest news from around the world, usually sourced from places such as technology shows and the like, as well as some insider information. They've predicted many big things in their time (I've been a solid computer user for many years, and I am fairly senior in the IT industry, but even I was taken back by their 8 pages dedicated to the Internet before the term "information superhighway" was coined), and I'm sure will for many years to come. Overall Overall the magazine is of a very high standard, and I have no hesitation in shelling out 5 pounds a month for it. The writers are great - funny yet informative, the contents are great - overall, a top buy, and written with the meticulous care I've come to expect from all of Future Publishing's magazines.
I started buying this magazine about 3 years ago. For a long time I would buy a different magazine for one month and another the next. However none of the magazines I read every satisfied me. One month I bought PCFormat and I have never looked back since. The main advantage of PcFormat over many of its competetors is the broad range of computing activities it covers and not just one most magazines. The sections include: Gaming, Utility Software, Programming, How To's (e.g. how to build a PC), hints and tips, helpline, hardware as well as many articles on anything computer (e.g. Echelon, P2P, Microft Antitrust etc.) PCFormat also has a cover DVD (a cd version is also available) which has a large variety of shareware, demos and at least several full free progrmas per disk. The full programs indeed full programs which are available to buy in shops however they usually are old versions e.g. when Bryce 3 came out they gave Bryce 2 on the disk with an optional reduced upgrade price. The two main problems with this magazine are the price £6.49 per month with the DVD (to cover the cost of the 'free; programs) and to some people the non specific nature of the magazine (e.g. does not concentrate just on games etc.). As for the price you can subscribe and save around 35%. I would recommend this magazine to all pc computer users how have an open mind to the different varieties of computer use. And to those that don't I would recommend getting a more specific computer magazine. But for most people a great buy!
I have to admit that I have a real soft spot for PCFormat magazine. The first ever edition came out shortly after I started university on my first computing course (the current edition is its 10th anniversary edition), when floppy disks actually were er...floppy, and I’ve kind of grown up with it in the world of computing, helped on the way by the well written and genuinely useful articles and reviews in this magazine. I’ve enjoyed it immensely from that first edition, even though it seems to be mellowing out just a little now since those younger, louder and brasher days - although that’s probably in response to a widening in the background of its readership, as back in the days it first came out the PC was pretty much exclusively geek territory. PCFormat covers all issues related to PCs for the home user. Therefore you won’t have to wade through long dull articles on the newest network hubs or commentaries by bearded chaps on why the dot com bubble burst to find something of real interest. If you use a PC at home then you, or someone in your family will find most of the articles useful. Once upon a time, PCFormat was totally games-centric but over the years, as the capabilities of the PC grew and grew so has PCFormat’s focus and you’ll find reviews of printers, cameras, security software, articles on reclaiming deleted files, how-to sections on web and graphic design, tips on using MS Windows and an excellent (and often quite hilarious) help section where users problems are resolved by the rather acidic Luis Villazon (that’s his real name, apparently). As an ex hard-core gamer I would never buy a game/joystick/video card for my PC until I had read the review of it in PCFormat, even if that meant waiting, because, to coin a much over-used phrase, they tell it like it is. Big reputations don’t seem to carry much weight at PCFormat, so if the software or hardwar
e being reviewed is crap, they’ll say so. If it will blow your mind, they’ll say that as well. You’ll usually find the cover disks (CD or DVD versions) have demos of some of the software being reviewed (as well as full versions of useful software) so you can make up your own mind as well. The magazine is put together by people who know their stuff, and more importantly, understand their readers; they worked out years before anyone else that people don’t just use their PC for spreadsheets but do a whole lot more, like play games, surf the Internet, publish web sites, print photos, do their homework on, upgrade with newer ‘bits’ like memory, graphics cards etc, and have been putting together a magazine which can cover all these things and in a way which won’t put off the inexperienced user, whilst also covering for their more ‘geeky‘ readership with e.g. articles on overclocking your motherboard. Although I think they went too far this month with a step-by-step guide on designing your own PC case! So, if you use a PC at home, and as something more than an abacus, and want to be kept abreast of what’s good and what’s not so good for the PC then buy this magazine today!
PC Format is a great computing magazine. It has a mixture of games reviews and hardware/computer reviews. It has a quite large section with news on the computing world, recent gaming events and new hardware announcements. The magazine has recently been re-designed to a more ‘modern’ style and everything is easy to find. -Software- PC Format has previews upcoming games and reviews of recently released games. The reviews are 1 or 2 pages and about 1/3 of that is usually pictures. The games are given a percentage score with advantages and disadvantages for each game. It also compares them to other recent games of the same genre. It also reviews new utilities and applications. These are mostly graphical and financial programs. There is a page of DVD film reviews as well. -Hardware- PC Format reviews new computers and peripherals. The computer reviews are normally for top of the range computers. The peripherals are things like printers, scanners, mice, speakers and joysticks. They are given a percentage score, and have advantages and disadvantages like with software reviews. They review graphics and sound cards in the same way. They have comparison reviews with 5/6 different makes of the same thing (graphics card or hard drives etc.), which they will review individually and then decide which one is best. -CDs- The Magazine comes with two CDs. One has game demos and the other has applications and full products. There is a section in the centre of the magazine that tells you the controls for all the programs. The ‘How To’ section often gives detailed tutorials of the full products on the second CD. -Rest of the Mag- Also in the magazine is an Internet section, which tells you about new websites. There are normally quite a lot if you include the short reviews along the edges of the pages. It has a troubleshooting section with 4 pages of answers to people’s problems. There i
s a main letters page, which includes e-mails and text messages! Most of the letters aren’t serious and are just a bit of fun at the end of the mag. PC Format is a good all-rounder mag. Some computer magazines are mostly hardware and some are mostly software or games. But PC Format is about a 50/50 mixture of both.
Looks like I am going to do a run of magazine opinions now, I get so many of them I might as well share my experience with you! This is another computing magazine from, you guessed it, Future Publishing!! (Do they have a monopoly or something!) It is very very different to PC Plus (see my other op on this) in that this magazine is really aimed more squarely at a home user who has a good (perhaps not fantastic) knowledge of computing. The type of person who would not want to reformat their system ever, and who plays games more than they do anything else (except perhaps internet surfing) on their PC. If this is you then this magazine is just right! The magazine is released monthly in CD and DVD editions for £4.99 and £5.99 respectively, and can be found at all good newsagents. You can also subscribe and save yourself some money, and pay by direct debit every 3 months (c’mon whose going to notice £11 gone out of the account every quarter!!!). PC Format is made in 5 main sections – News, Gameplay, Tried and Tested, How to…., and Internet. Within these large sections is a lot of smaller regular features and special articles. I’ll try to make this one shorter :) The news section covers everything, from new products for the future, to news about specific companies (xbox features this month!) and even little bits of non computing news. I like to get as much knowledge as I can (hence why I get about 5 mags a month on computing) so these little rumours and bits of news are quite important to me, but I take some of them with a pinch of salt. It is quite a large section and takes up about a quarter of the magazine. The next part is gameplay, and is easily the biggest section of the magazine. This starts with a news feature, progresses to previews of upcoming games, reviews some games available now and finally gives a few cheats out. I have to tell you, I would NEVER trust one single magazines review of a
game. I always look for a review in another magazine before committing to purchasing it. Having said that, the reviewers for PC Format are quite competent and give a good run down of the products they review. Their screen shots are not as glossy and well done as dedicated games magazines though, which could be a letdown to some. Now you come to tried and tested – which, just as it sounds, is where they grab lots of bits and bobs and tell you about how they fare compared to similar bits and bobs. I do like this in any magazine purely so I know how new hardware and software fares compared to what I might already have. They usually do 1 supertest each issue (this month was budget PCs) where they take 10 of the best and put them through some rigorous testing and report the results to you. They then review a dozen new bits of hardware, a handful of software (utilities and applications) and the latest DVDs. Its time for how to…… I don’t need tell you what’s in here do I? The last few months feature article in this section has been how to build your own dream PC. I think this feature has been very well written and would help any budding IT hopeful to build an advanced system for a lot less than the book price, and does stress the precautions you would need to follow when doing so. They tell you where they got the parts, how to fit them together, what to do when it all goes wrong and so on. They also pick some applications and give a short tutorial on how to accomplish certain tasks. This month included how to customise windows, getting to grips with Linux, how to back up your hard drive and how to overclock a video card (among others). The great thing about these is they are written for the (mostly) common person, so nearly anybody can pick it up and work out how to accomplish these tasks (believe me some of them I am not 100% on and they gave me pointers!). There is the usual Q&A section, letters page,
etc. They have a very brief section on the internet highlighting some sites they find interesting for whatever reason. Occasionally I visit their sites, if they look good in the magazine, but mostly I skip this (I buy a few dedicated internet magazines for this kind of information – or just float around aimlessly and hope to find some interesting sites hahaha). The magazine does have one MAJOR selling point over some of the other computing magazines available out there. A LOT LESS ADS! There I said it, as opposed to MANY MANY magazines out there that have about 150 pages of ads, PC Format is more like a general magazine. The pages of ads are not overwhelming and you do not sometimes miss whole sections because you didn’t realise there was an article in the middle of that catalogue for Micro warehouse. This is very refreshing, I know you cannot get rid of ads completely, but some of those magazines are ridiculously weighted with them!!! The CD or DVD on the cover has alot of stuff included, including game demos, application try outs, and to save your downloading them a tonne of patches for things (the most popular games etc). They also have a different version of Linux for free every month on the DVD (you need a CD burner to use it though). Overall just a tonne of stuff on there as per most magaazines. Overall, this is a quality magazine aimed at filling the niche of people who would normally only buy one or maybe two magazines a month. It tries to offer all the information a person could want (except me – because I am greedy! Haha) and in my honest opinion succeeds in many ways. If you don’t get a magazine at the moment or are not happy with what you are buying pop down to WH Smiths and give this a whirl. I bet you won’t regret it. Thanks for reading. An original opinion by Ken Scammell, 2001.
This magazine is terrible, and has been since James Binns left. I am not deluding myself into thinking the old days were the best, as they truely were. In 1997, the magazine was packed with well written... everything. Okay, Wired World was a bit weak, the interviews were -with the sole exception of Richard O'Brian's- boring and the coverdiscs were a bit shoddy from time to time, but apart from that, everything was was ace. Oh, how things change. They should have figured out that the mag's gone downhill by the loss of fourty-thousand readers. But seemingly, they haven't. Trupeting the likes of Alex Cox and Ian Harris as their best writers, they have lost the plot completely. It's a bit like the Manic Street Preachers: once they were a roaring object of brilliance, but now they're just tame and boring. A quick run down of the latest issue. SpaceMonkey is okay, the games section is dull, the news section is out of date, the hardware reviews are also out of date and lack depth. The internet section is crap, the DVD revies bit is quite good, but the actual DVD is rubbish. The other sections aren't even worth mentioning. If I was writing this review in 1997, I would have given it five out of five. Also, if I had written this after (I think) issue 120, it would also have acheived 5 stars. But one exellent issue in 30, and charging six quid a copy, is taking the piss. It's no wonder 40,000 have abandond it. If it wasn't for the promise of a totally new magazine (new logo and all) next month, I would have cancelled the sub. But I'll give it a chance. After all, there's always *that* remote chance it'll be a blinder, just like the good ol' days...
This is a good magazine that I've beeb reading for over three years. Updated recently, it now hhas a dediacted WWW section, as well as articles on "How to..." and of course games. The major emphasis is on games, but more than average coverage is also given over to all aspects of computing. The help pages are very good, as are the walk throughs published to help with upgrading your equipment. The cover mounted CD's are first rate, containing at least one full program every month. I sometimes feel that the writing is aimed at younger people ( my God! I'm only 39 and I said younger people) Overall, for good computer coverage, I don't think it can be beaten.
Lower your eyes from the ‘special interest’ shelf of a newsagent, and without doubt you will find a whole plethora of computer magazines. Until recent times, magazines devoted to modern technology were invariably games magazines or satellite guides. The explosion in PC technology has a mirrored a similar expansion in the magazine market. Whatever your interest in PCs and their use, their is a specialist magazine to cater for it. Be it internet use, or video editing, or even power gaming, their will be one for you. But what if you are pretty general in your use, and cannot afford to pay between £3 and £5 each for these periodical? Well, there is one magazine available, released by Future Publishing, the media group responsible for the definitive publications in just about every field you can imagine. This magazine is PC Format, a dull title, which tells you little about what to expect of the content. The cover may put you off, if you are bothered by scantily clad women in various stages of excitement, but realistically, what do you wish to see on a magazine cover apart from an indication of its content. What you do get inside is a balanced content aimed at the general user. News of the IT industry is covered, not in too much detail to be boring, but at a level comprehensive enough to be of use to most people not employed within the industry. Games are covered in depth, with advance previews, new release reviews and a hints and tips section. Any greater detail can be found on the internet, so their provision is detailed enough. Hardware reviews are also included each month, along with a ‘supertest’ which compares and contrasts all the leading models of a particular genre, be it monitors, graphics cards, or scanners etc. The reviews appear impartial and contain an ‘idiots guide’ to help the likes of me work out what they are talking about. There is a also a larg
e section on software applications, both domestic and commercial. Again, impartial reviews are always accompanied by detailed descriptions of their uses. The technical section of the magazine includes small projects aimed at beginners, intermediate, and advanced users. A helpline letters page for both donkeys and experts, has helped me sort out many a problem of my own.. The magazine doesn’t cover every field in as much depth as other magazines available, but it does cover every field. An added bonus is the massive amount of full programs, and demos included on the cover disc. From preview demo games to full licensed versions of applications, it is very easy to fill your hard drive as you experiment. The DVD issue of the magazine for £1 more gives an enormous amount of extra programs. The writing style is very much in the manner of modern magazines, playing very much to the Loaded demography, with a slight tongue in cheek attitude, and self mockery and in-jokes towards its own staff. The serious issues however are treated with respect, and attempts at humour do not denigrate the articles. If you are after a magazine which will keep you in touch with what’s going on, then go for PC Format, you won’t go far wrong.
I am not a regular reader of this magazine as at the prices they charge for computer magazines you would have to take out a second mortgage to be a regular subscriber to more than one. However, as PC magazines go, this is one of the longest established in the genre and is generally a very interesting and informative read. For your £4.99 you get the usual news, reviews etc. but what sets this magazine apart from the rest that would encourage you to part with your hard earned cash in favour of this as opposed to its many, and often less expensive brethren? ~Cover CD~ I think these are always much of a muchness. If you check out all the magazines in a particular month then you will find that the games, utilities etc. that can be found on the cover CDs are pretty similar if not almost identical. However, you do get more for your money with some of them so its worth looking around if this is your main reason for purchasing the magazine. To be frank, the quality of the CD on each magazine varies from week to week and therefore its worth looking around to see what’s on offer, although the PC Format CDs (for there are often 2) are always packed with the latest game demos and useful utilities and ‘serious’ product demos. ~Gameplay~ The ‘Gameplay’ and ‘Tried and Tested’ sections make up the bulk of PC Format, offering, in gameplay both reviews and previews of the latest game releases and early news of games in development. What you get for you money, is around 30-40 pages of game reviews in this section, which constitutes reviews spanning 3-4 pages for those games which the magazine has adjudged to be of most interest to its readers whilst others only receive a smaller share of the allotted space - sometimes only a few sentences for those which receive really poor ratings. The reviews themselves are very professionally presented although are generally very businesslike and somewhat devoi
d of humour which is a real turn-off in my opinion. Games are about fun, and resultantly so should the reviews be in my opinion - otherwise is gets boring reading them...but thats a personal thing. Nobody could argue that the reviews are not well laid out, informative or generally correct in what they say in my experience, so they can not really be faulted other than on the personal preference of journalistic style. Each game comes with an overall results summary, which consists of a percentage rating out of 100, for and against points, comparative rating compared to other games in the genre and minimum/recommended system requirements. This section is excellent and basically gives you all the information you need in a nutshell and should be any reader’s first port of call before they decide whether they are interested enough in the game to read the review. You also get a number of screen shots which accompany the game and do not just focus upon the best graphics, action etc. that the game has to offer(unlike some other mags) but give a more varied view of the product which is much more helpful. Overall, whilst I like the way this section is laid out, I feel that the quality of journalism is slightly lower than that seen in the games devoted mag. PC Gamer, although, if you prefer the more professional(slightly boring) approach to reviewing then you will probably prefer this instead. Its a matter of taste. ~Tried And Tested~ The ‘other’ major section of PC Format is devoted to hardware and more ‘serious’ software reviews. I have to say that one of the main things which draws me to this magazine is the blend of hardware and software reviews which it offers, both of which are both plentiful and informative. Whereas the majority of PC magazines end to focus on one or the other whilst offering a token couple of game/hardware reviews, PC Format manages to incorporate both in equal proportion and for this it is to be applauded
. Hardware reviews are good, offering around 4-6 paragraphs of information pitched at a level which most PC users will understand, or at least understand enough of to make an informed decision. You also get a percentage rating along with For and Against points as with the games reviews in a summary box which again is most helpful. Each month, there is also a group hardware spotlight on a particular type of peripheral, be it scanner, graphics cards, mice etc. whereby a number of similar products are tested against each other in order to enable you, the buyer, to make a more informed choice which I think is extremely useful. Whilst these reviews are not as in depth as those seen in magazines dedicated to the more serious side of computer use, they are more than adequate to inform the average PC user of the advantages and disadvantages of each without blinding them with jargon and burying you under hoards of useful facts and stats. The software section is laid out in almost exactly the same way as the hardware section, incorporating both standalone reviews of the latest software necessities as well as having group tests of available produces related to one particular area of the software world such as surfing filters for instance taking February’s issue as an example. These reviews are again very professionally presented and once more informative without going too far into the realm of ‘techy-dom’ if a little dull. I tend not to read this section too closely unless there is a particular product I am looking for, looking only at the overall percentage score and for and against points which again accompany the review in the final analysis. ~Features~ PC Format always includes a number of special feature stories which focus upon a particular aspect of news in the computer world, or just something which they feel may be of interest to their readership. These are a couple of pages long and are generally of interest and
one of the sections where it would appear the journalists are able to have a free reign on humour etc. which leads to a much more interesting read. ~How To~ This section comprises a number of hints and tips on how to do a variety of different things with your PC which you may have been itching to find out or had no idea was possible. Generally, this section is very informative and has a nice mixture of things for the novice user combined with those for more experienced users as well as in recent months having a programming ‘tutorial’ on programming a game in C++ with the help of the Bitmap Bros. These aren’t just one-liners either, but full page walkthroughs which go into the hows, whys and wherefores of the subject under suggestion which is more than other mags offer. I like this part of the magazine and its generally one of the main reasons I buy it on the rare occasion that I do so as some of the info. is very useful here. ~HelpLine~ Got a problem? No, they don’t want to know about your haemorrhoids and neither do I, but if your problem is PC related then this section devoted to a readers Q&A session is for you. This is basically a letters page but with all the requests being related to PC problems and possible solutions to these. The feedback is good as you would expect and sidebars go into more depth over commonly encountered problems offering advice which could be invaluable should you ever run into the same difficulties - or otherwise completely useless of course. ~PCF News~ The usual news section greets you at the front of the mag., although strangely, very little attention appears to have been paid to it. Admittedly, other magazines tend to fill up the space with stories which are frankly uninteresting and a sentence long, but I still can’t decide whether I prefer this or PC Format’s approach of having 5 or 6 slightly more detailed news stories - which are incidentally
none the more interesting and do not seem to have been particularly carefully selected. Considering the magazine covers a rather broad base in featuring just about every aspect of Pcs in its pages, it is strange that the news section should be so bare and uninformative. ~pcformat.co.uk~ The PC Format net section is well laid out and a model which I feel all other computer magazines which incorporate such a section ought to follow. Basically, this section focuses upon a particular idea, such as Elvis Presley, Surfing or whatever, talks about it over the space of a page and then gives a top 5 of sites to visit if you are interested in whatever the discussion is about together with a brief resume of why you would want to visit them. This, I feel, is far better than the higgledy-piggledy hotch-potch of URLs that other mags splatter about their particular internet related sections. Conclusion PC Format is one of the oldest and best PC magazines on the market today. If you are looking for a magazine which incorporates a mixture of hardware and software reviews, together with some extra bits and pieces then you can’t go wrong in purchasing this magazine as in my opinion it gets the balance just right between the two and is very informative in both sections as well. The reviews are not only very good, if a little too professional to the point of being dull, but also rather plentiful as well so you certainly get your money’s worth here and they strike the right balance between being too technical and not offering enough information which some of their competitors have yet to learn.
If you only ever buy one PC magazine then this is the one you should buy. One look on the shelves in your local newsagants and you'll be overpowered by the huge range of PC magazines on offer. So why should you buy PC Format instead of one of the many others? Well over the years i've tried many different PC magazines yet still seem to find myself always coming back to PC Format. A lot of the other magazines seem to be concentrating more on particular areas of computing these days such as games, hardware, internet, etc. What most people want is a magazine which tells them about all aspects of PC's without having to shell out hard earned cash on several specialised ones. PC Format does just that, this is why it is so popular. It is published by Future Publishing and is now available in both CD and DVD versions. The CD version costs £4.99 and it's a pound more if you go for the DVD copy. Which ever version you go for, the magazine itself is exactly the same, the difference being that the DVD version contains a whole lot more software, game demo's etc. The magazine also has some fantastic offers if you subscribe to it. The magazine has gone through various changes in looks and layout over the last couple of years, with the present style the best one. It is split into several different sections: PC news, Tech toys, special features, game previews, reviews, tips and cheats, software reviews, hardware reviews, How To section, helpline (letters page), web site reviews and information. You may be thinking that, with all of those sections, there can't be much room for content in each one. Well somehow there is. Each section packed with a wealth of information for you to read. The hardware reviews are very good, each month they feature one type of product and review several different brands in order to compare them all to find the best one. The game reviews are extremely thorough. PC Format has a policy of only reviewing co
mpleted games, the same version as the one you'll be buying in the shops. This policy quite often results in the game not getting reviewed in the magazine until a month after it's been released. You may feel like rushing out to buy the latest game to hit the shelves, but it's well worth hanging on until you've read the review in PC Format. All in all PC Format is an axcellent all-round PC magazine, backed up by a now equally-as-good web site. A good thing about the magazine is that it doesn't treat you like an idiot. Rather than just having page after page of technospeak that you average Joe Bloggs won't understand it alwasy seems to do a good job of explaining things. To sum up then, if you want to know a lot about hardware, then forget it. If you want to know a lot about the Internet then forget it. If you want to know a lot about games then forget it. If you want to know a little about the whole lot then get it.
This is possible one of the best pc magazine ever created. Each edition is packed with huge amounts of information from reviews, previews, and tested hardware. Also every edition comes with one or two cd’s, which are packed with demos, patches and free full software. Sometimes they pull out all the stops and give you load apon lad of free software. For example on pc formats 112 issue released on September 2000 had 101free full programs, yes that’s right, all free!!! In every edition there are two regular sections that always appear. These sections are gameplay and tried and tested. The gameplay section is very useful. It’s full of reviews and previews of the latest games and tells you what there about, what you do, what they rate it and so. This is very useful because if you are going to buy a game its useful to see what the critics think of it first. In the tried and tested section the sections to the same as what they do with they gameplay section except that they have reviews on hardware and software instead of games. This section is very useful if you are buying a new computer or even just upgrading your current one. This is because it has everything reviewed, rated and you are told how useful they think it would be from brand spanking new pc’s to bargain budget pc’s, and from deluxe software to the bare essential stuff. This has got to be one of the best pc mags around with stuff in it everyone likes, as there is so much crammed into one edition. (How can they afford it, do you know because I don’t?) It has brilliant reviews on software and hardware every week; it also has loads of extra stuff in each edition such as demos, patches and even free software. If you never heard of this blazingly brilliant magazine then where have you been? Go and buy a copy now!!! Because its simply brilliant, and very useful too.