It’s our 200th anniversary, so we’ve taken a long hard look at PC Advisor’s history and where the technology we write about has journeyed in the same period. Accordingly, there are opportunities to poke fun at our technology predictions of more than a decade ago, including our interest in all things WAP, a technology so far from being missed that its very existence had slipped our minds.
Don’t worry, there’s as much – and more – of the usual reviews, news and advice as every other issue. We’ve also put together our biggest ever tips guide.
We’ve also been giving thought to how best to present the reviews and advice we bring you each issue. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed in our February edition that rather than hiding them away in the Top 5 charts at the rear of the magazine, we gave more prominence to our desktop PC group tests. These are now geared towards function rather than simply price, reflecting the fact that the strengths of an office PC differ from those of one geared up for gaming and entertainment.
You could say we’re taking our own advice. The buying guides in our group tests – including the latest Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones – suggest first identifying what a product will be used for; price and features second.
This amply demonstrates how our relationship with technology has changed over the years. In 1995 when PC Advisor launched, it was as the offshoot of a computer catalogue and capitalised on the growing home and business user market kickstarted by the advent of Windows 95 PCs. Home PC bundles were distinguished from each other by the tower of software and the particular inkjet printer that accompanied them. These days, we want as little ‘bloatware’ with our PCs as possible, but demand huge storage capacity. We’re too busy creating our own digital content to want to clog up our terabyte-plus hard drives with preinstalled multi-megabyte programs.
As well as web access and at least two processing cores, we take for granted many technologies that would have cost a king’s ransom back in the 1990s.
My first issue of PC Advisor led with a group test of sound cards, a fantastically complex PC component that was necessary if you were to trick out your home-built computer with the means to play more than mere system sounds, or even as a media centre to play CDs. Recordable DVDs, streaming audio and iPods had yet to exist.
These days, the ability to play music isn’t just a given; it’s just one element of the audio-processing capabilities of even the lowliest PC or laptop. HD video? That 30-nanometre Intel chip includes a dedicated HD decoder, along with a TV tuner, digital signal processor and support for 3D rendering.
These days, the internet is one enormous online catalogue and pcadvisor.co.uk an in-depth buying guide and user manual to help you choose a computer and make the most of its almost infinite capabilities. Think of us as your techno guides and curators of possibilities, highlighting usability differences and championing apps to control and customise your gadgetry. The technology works; now it’s up to you to choose what to do with it.