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Describes itself as "The Essential Buyer's Guide" and features plenty of hardware/software reviews to back up this claim.

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    1 Review
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      23.05.2001 03:04
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      Firstly I'll make it perfectly clear; a)I'm not a regular reader of this magazine b)Thats because I do not like it which I guess sets the tone for the rest of the review :o) However, I do have two copies of this magazine lying around my some-to-be-cleaned-out(since 1997) filing cabinet, and therefore think I'm qualified to say at least something on the subject. So here goes... Basically(I love that word...saves me thinking)...basically, 'What PC?' describes itself as the 'Essential Buyers Guide' and as such gives you a bunch of product reviews within its pages to enable you to make a more informed purchasing decision. Every month they single out various new products for standalone reviews, as well as a selection of similar items for a group test. All are reviewed for quality, usability etc. and graded accordingly. There are also software reviews, both of more serious software as well as games and other sections devoted to news, 'how to' sections and a couple of 'Watchdog' style reports and at the back a 20+ page 'index' of reviewed items and their grading. Sounds all very good. However, the problem I have with this magazine is twofold. Firstly, there is little(ok...nothing) here which other magazines are not covering themselves and covering in more depth and with more additional features in them than this magazine has. Secondly, and in support of the first, it is just so crushingly DULL! OK, so reviewing a scanner, or webcam or whatever is not the most exciting thing in the world, but on an equal level it does not have to be made THIS boring. On the two occasions I have had cause to buy this magazine(reasons now forgotten) I have had trouble making it to the end of some reviews. It seems silly to say that a nationally available magazine features reviews exhibiting absolutely zero journalistic talent but...this magazine features reviews exhibiting zero journ
      alistic talent! Yes, there's information there, no doubt useful as well, but if it is sooooo boring that the reader never makes it to the end of the article then the author may as well write about his holidays for as much use as it is going to be. That said, the reviews are equally quite light in information which sort of goes against their claim of being the 'essential' buyers guide. To take the issue in front of me for example. The front page loudly proclaims 'Improve Your Image: 10 Scanners On Test', whilst inside all you get is a comparison table of the ten scanners, a rating out of 5 stars and the occasional 'award' winners - one for best buy and 3 recommended tag awardees. All this is buried amongst 6 pages of general waffle about scanners - highly interesting...but of no help enabling me to decide which of these scanners is the best for my uses. Sure, slap a label on it 'Best Buy', but best buy for whom? As a student, do I have the same needs as a publishing company? I think not, but the lack of any actual 'reviewing' here does not enable me to make that informed decision. Basically its a pile of hot glossy air spewed over 6 pages which looks nice but is little more than the puff in the pastry. Its just too damn pithy for words. I levelled similar criticism at another magazine by the name of PC Gear, but at least they had the excuse of trying to spread themselves too thinly across every single aspect of computing and beyond - What PC? doesn't have that excuse. The focus is on peripherals and complete systems, but the focus does not scrutinise deeply enough. Its frankly not good enough. The sections on games and software are ok, although nothing special, pretty much exactly the sort of thing you expect from a magazine which does not have this as its main focal point. Letters are the usual kind of thing as is the news section and generally its all very average. The back of the magazine features
      the 38 page 'Buyer's Guide' which talks you through buying a PC and how to avoid the pitfalls. This is really basic information, ie. what RAM is, what the monitor does...*yawn*, that sort of thing, as well as listing all the recently reviewed products under their various category headings which IS useful - or ought to be. The problem is that they list a large number of products...only a few of which they have reviewed which makes it look extremely sparse, although perhaps this will fill out in time(or not?). Final gripe - adverts. This magazine has them by the coach-load. There are literally hundreds of the damn things and poorly organised so that they break into the middle of articles in an annoying fashion and with even more annoying regularity. There are also those 'cardboard' adverts which prevent you flicking through the pages properly...grrr they really annoy me...lol. Overall then? Well obviously its not my particular favourite, and perhaps it is aimed at the novice computer user which would explain the 'lack' of information. If so, then I can't really understand their choice of software etc. to review because this certainly fits in with the more accomplished computer user's needs. Perhaps its trying to appeal to both...succeeding in appealing to none I expect, but then thats just my view. Its not a complete 'dog' but then its certainly not a particularly good magazine either. I'm pulled between average and below average but its sheer dullness pulls it down. 2/5

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