Newest Review: ... the part that compares there views with other publications and the views of the PC Pro forum members. The letters section shows a great c... more
The BIG THICK ONE
Member Name: thehud
Date: 12/06/01, updated on 12/06/01 (218 review reads)
Advantages: Great writing, Features, Reviews
Disadvantages: Loads of ads
Go into Tesco virtually anytime of any day and loiter a little around the newspaper and magazine section - you'll have to stand a fair way back, however, in order to leave the necessary personal space between you and the horde of big, fat, hairy guys who gather round that little bottleneck scanning them big fat colourful objects of desire - no, it ain't the girlie mag, the new furtive perv's pleasure is the BIG THICK ONE, the computer mag.
I'm as guilty as the next man and for some reason there's a certain shudder of anticipation as you see the new month's issues slide slickly into the racks, all glossy and virginal with their freebie discs still untouched by the hand of man - OOOOH!! Makes me come over all unnecessary...
Top of the class as far as I'm concerned is Dennis Publishing's fine offering, PC Pro, which you can also access via their extremely good website at www.pcpro.co.uk - the mag itself is some 400 pages thick, although as usual with this type of mag, there are more than 100 pages full of computer related advertising. It's a truly excellent buy at a cover price of £2.99 and there is something here for anyone with an interest in anything vaguely PC-related.
I'll base my review around one particular issue but try and generalise the review to let you know what you'll normally get for your touch under three quid. The ish in question is the July 2001 edition, released in the last week of May, issue number 81 from a mag that's been in print for very nearly seven years now, so it's had a lot of time to get its act together and it certainly shows...
In general, PC Pro's market is the PC user with a fair amount of technical nous and savvy and it shamelessly focuses on the needs of an IT Manager in a typical organisation. According to the mag's own figures, they normally sell just over 150,000 copies every month.
All computer mags boast a
freebie disc containing software and PC Pro is no exception. What is slightly different, however, is the quality of the programs you get with PC Pro - there's always at least one full version of a strong program along with a whole host of other applications and PC Pro does its best to provide high quality in this respect.
In this particular issue, you get Laplink Professional, a program which allows users to connect two PC's together and synchronise files between them, plus Assistum Project Selector, "a knowledge management tool ... that's designed to help you assess and prioritise projects". The disc also includes things like ISP software, games, Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.05, Paintshop Pro 7.02a, WinZip 8 and tons of others.
I've never had a bad prog from PC Pro and there is normally at least one or two apps which are of use. Many mags provide discs which can potentially screw up your PC settings, but I've yet to experience this with the PC Pro giveaways.
Nothing revolutionary here, but the letters do demonstrate that PC Pro's reader base in general is quite techie at heart.
Excellent writing from the mag's bunch of freelance contributors, Emma Winfield, James Morris, Dick Pountain, Sarah Kidner and Jon Honeyball. This lot make provide some good and very interesting points of view, and usually manage to strike a decent balance between techie and layman.
PC Pro's news pages which normally have a heavy preoccupation with the mag's current hobbyhorse, BT and ADSL - PC Pro are campaigning for the provision of broadband access and make no secret of their disdain for the workings of the telecomms giant.
Each month webhead Davey Winder features his pick of websites centred around a particular interest area, including a 'Reader site of the month'. In this edition the topic is working
from home via PC. This is always an interesting read, although exactly how interesting depends on the topic.
---The PC Pro A-List
The mag's own selection of the hottest products in all manner of categories, including Ultimate PC, cheap PC, notebook, palmtop, handheld, printers, soundcard, digital camera, desktop publishing, graphics, office suite, etc, etc, etc. This is an excellent reference point when you're considering purchasing any particular item and PC Pro gives very authoritative advice.
This section also normally includes two sets of Lab Reviews of some of the items concerned, and this edition covers PC's costing less than £699 (recommendation Mutivision Vision Max ME) and business notebooks (recommendation Dell Latitude C600). The reviews are truly excellent and provide excellent guidance when trying to choose which version or model to opt for.
Page after page of expert reviews on all the latest PC's, notebooks, printers, peripherals and software. Key review in issue 81 is Microsoft's new Office XP suite, spread over four full pages. (It gets a glowing verdict by the way and spears straight onto PC Pro's A-List.
There are usually one or two big features in every edition and here you get the PC Pro ISP Survey for 2001 (with Demon taking over at the top this year), plus a more fanciful write up on program bugs.
A 20 odd page section aimed specifically at the professional manager of corporate IT - a bit too techie and specialised for the average user.
---Real World Computing
A special series of articles by the mag's staff of writers. This features such areas as technical Q&A, multimedia/audio, networks, legal matters, PDA's and website applications.
All told, this magazine is an exceptional offering and definitely me fave pick. I've checked out a few different mags in my time and PC Pro is
the only one that I consistently come back to. I strongly recommend it.