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PC World - Product reviews
  • Shadowgate review: This castle still wants to kill you, 25 years laterShadowgate review: This castle still wants to kill you, 25 years later

    "You have chosen poorly, young Jair," says the screen, flashing an image of grinning Death. I hate him. I hate his bony little skeleton face so much. I've seen it at least ten times in the last hour and a half, each time listening to his snide comment about my demise.

  • The 6 best tablets for getting work done in 2014The 6 best tablets for getting work done in 2014

    A few years ago, it was easy to scoff at the idea of using tablets for productivity. The hardware was too weak, and the software was too limited, so turning a tablet into a work device made sense only for a few fringe users.

  • Lenovo C260 review: This inexpensive all-in-one PC performs more like a tabletLenovo C260 review: This inexpensive all-in-one PC performs more like a tablet

    The best all-in-one PCs bundle solid desktop features in a sleek display—no unsightly tower required. But because they include a display, they often cost a lot more than traditional desktops, a problem Lenovo seeks to address with its C260 all-in-one, a 19.5-incher which goes for $480 (Amazon was selling this model for $450 as of this writing).

  • Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 review: For $300, small-office inkjet offers better output and value than a color laserEpson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 review: For $300, small-office inkjet offers better output and value than a color laser

    Epson’s new $300 WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is just the kind of affordable, capable multifunction printer most small offices could use—even if they think they need a laser. A laser MFP may offer better text output (barely), but everything else lines up in an inkjet’s favor: purchase price, supply costs, and graphics output. Epson’s WF-4630 is the avatar for the breed: easily fast enough for small office work and packed with features. It also produces outstandingly sharp text, thanks to Epson’s new PrecisionCore print head.

  • Metro Redux review: The definitive way to play Metro 2033 and Metro: Last LightMetro Redux review: The definitive way to play Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light

    For a few moments when I loaded up Metro 2033 Redux I had one of those "Hm, I don't think anything has really changed" reactions. It's been about two years since I last played Metro 2033, and I remembered it looking...well, basically the same as the Redux version looks. Metro 2033 was gorgeous when it came out, so this didn't really surprise me.

  • HP Officejet Enterprise Color Flow X585z review: Fast pages, cheap pages, run lasers, runHP Officejet Enterprise Color Flow X585z review: Fast pages, cheap pages, run lasers, run

    Watching the pages fly into the HP Officejet Enterprise Color Flow X585z Multifunction Printer’s output tray at 26 pages per minute (text only) is impressive, being that we’re not used to such behavior from an inkjet, even an enterprise-class inkjet multifunction such as this. But in capacity, performance, and cost of operation, the $2799 X585z competes well with laser MFPs. It can’t quite match a laser printer’s text, but it out-duels the majority with its color graphics.

  • Dell Venue 11 Pro 7139  Security  review: Supremely powerful and super secureDell Venue 11 Pro 7139 (Security) review: Supremely powerful and super secure

    What happens when you put an Intel Core i5-4300Y in an 11-inch tablet like the Dell Venue 11 Pro? It gets really, really fast. Indeed, having used the previously-reviewed Atom-based version of the Venue 11 Pro, I can attest to a rather significant jump in performance.

  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series review: This 15-inch notebook disappointsDell Inspiron 15 5000 Series review: This 15-inch notebook disappoints

    Dell’s Inspiron 15 5000 series is the bigger-screened cousin to its Inspiron 14 5000 series. The former is outfitted with a spacious 15.6-inch display while the latter has a 14-incher. I’ll review the Inspiron 15 model 5547 here, and you can read my colleague Jon L. Jacobi’s review of the Inspiron 14 model 5447 on this page.

  • Digital Storm Bolt II review: Rise of the un-Steam machinesDigital Storm Bolt II review: Rise of the un-Steam machines

    “If Valve’s SteamOS isn’t ready, we’ll just make do with Windows,” said gaming-PC manufacturers. And so it was done. Steam Machines have begun to hit retail sans the SteamOS. And if the smallish form factor Digital Storm Bolt II is an indication of what we can look forward to, that’s a-okay with us.

  • Corel Painter 2015 review: Digital art studio betters its best featuresCorel Painter 2015 review: Digital art studio betters its best features

    Corel Painter faces an interesting problem: When you're the best natural-media painting program out there, how do you innovate? What more could you possibly add to get people to buy the new version, Painter 2015?

  • Toshiba Encore 2 review: This Windows 8 tablet goes easy on your walletToshiba Encore 2 review: This Windows 8 tablet goes easy on your wallet

    Microsoft sparked a race to the bottom with the introduction of Windows 8.1 with Bing. And Toshiba cut the bottom out of the bottom line with its Encore 2 series, bringing Windows tablets down to the price of mainstream Android tablets. The 10-inch version reviewed here will set you back just $270, and the smaller 8-inch version costs just $200.

  • Risen 3 review: Menial labor drags down this pirate adventureRisen 3 review: Menial labor drags down this pirate adventure

    Many times I've sat here, reviewing video games, and lamented the downfall of the "B-Game." See, when I was growing up, there was no such thing as "Indie" yet. Games were either big-budget AAA affairs or, more often than not, B-games.

  • Lenovo Y50 gaming laptop review: Great performance spoiled by a sub-par displayLenovo Y50 gaming laptop review: Great performance spoiled by a sub-par display

    We’ve finally arrived at the long-foretold future where gaming laptops can be slim and light enough to fit comfortably on your lap. Heck, even a non-gaming company like Lenovo has managed the feat. Lenovo’s 2014 Y50 isn’t quite as slim as, say, the 0.7-inch thin Razer Blade, but at 0.9 inches and 5.4 pounds, the Y50 is still incredibly small for a powerful gaming laptop.

  • Micro Express MicroFlex 97B review: A beastly gaming PC for just two grandMicro Express MicroFlex 97B review: A beastly gaming PC for just two grand

    Micro Express isn’t as well-known as some of the other boutique gaming-PC builders, but the company’s MicroFlex 97B mid-tower blows other two-grand-or-less rigs right off the test bench, and it snaps at the heels of systems costing two or three times more.

  • Matias Secure Pro wireless keyboard review: A power tool for the paranoidMatias Secure Pro wireless keyboard review: A power tool for the paranoid

    The wireless Matias Secure Pro keyboard’s number-one claim to fame is its 128-bit AES encryption. I’ll get into that later. My favorite feature is that it’s quiet. You’d hardly know this was a mechanical keyboard from the sound it makes. It’s close to the volume level of a typical membrane keyboard, if a little sharper or clickier at times. You could use this board in any office or in a bedroom without disturbing a soul.

  • Asana review: a full-featured task manager for iOS devicesAsana review: a full-featured task manager for iOS devices

    The home screen of new Asana iOS app lets users quickly check out new tasks and inbox items. Shown here on the iPhone 5.An increasingly mobile workforce demands tools that don't require desktop access, so Asana's decision to offer people who use its versatile web-based task management service a full-featured iOS app is a smart move. (Asana says it's working on an Android option.)Even better, the iOS version of Asana is, for the most part, elegantly executed. I tried Asana for iOS out on both an iPad and an iPhone. It looks more or less the same on either device, with appropriate adjustments for the smaller screen size of an iPhone.While Asana had an iOS app in the iTunes app store before this, it was extremely limited in functionality, serving mostly as a viewer for content created in the desktop browser-based service. The new app does a lot more, allowing you to edit existing content and add new projects, tasks, comments, tags, attachments and more on the fly. Anything you do shows up practically instantly in the service, however you or your team members choose to access it.One of a growing number of web-based services catering to the needs of workgroups (both small and large), Asana combines elements of project management, file storage, and communications. It offers several levels of organization, including workspaces (a way for users to separate, say, personal and business projects); projects, which typically involve multiple users and tasks; tasks; and subtasks.You can assign tasks to team members (or yourself); give them due dates; and add attachments, tags, and/or comments. The mobile app launches with a home screen showing pending tasks and an inbox that's meant to eliminate the need to check e-mail for work done in Asana.The quick-add screen in the new Asana iOS app (shown here on an iPhone) makes it easy to customize tasks with everything from assignees and due dates to tags and attachments.You can click on a task to view it, and creating a new task is easy—you simply tap a plus sign on the corner of the screen. But what I really liked was the quick-add screen for editing details of a task: It had a dozen buttons covering everything from due dates and assignees to tags and attachments.Having all the data and components of a task in one place can be very helpful. For example, to illustrate this review, I created screenshots on my iOS devices and then attached them to a Screenshots task within Asana, which I later opened (for editing) in the web-based version on my desktop computer.Asana's new iOS app (shown here on the iPad) lets you attach documents and comments to tasks.This was a lot easier than e-mailing them to myself, which is what I usually do. The only flaw was that all the screenshot attachments had the same name (image.png), so I had to open them to see what they were and then save them under different names.Another nice editing feature lets you reorder tasks within a project (or subtasks within a task) by simply dragging and dropping them (much the way you can reorder a playlist). This comes in handy for managing meeting agendas: Any project (in this case, the meeting) participant can add an agenda item as a task, and the meeting organizer can reorder them, even at the last minute.In the new Asana iOS app, you can reorder tasks in a project (such as the meeting agenda shown here on an iPad) by simply dragging and dropping them with your fingertip.The one thing missing in the mobile app was the calendar you get on the desktop browser version. But if you've synced your Asana calendar to a third-party calendar such as Google calendar or Outlook, you can probably arrange to see it on your iOS device calendar. For example, I had already set up my iOS devices to sync with my Google calendar, so to see the Asana calendar I'd synced with Gcal I just had to go into Google's calendar settings for iPhone (www.google.com/calendar/iphoneselect) and toggle the Asana calendar to be on.Note that you can't edit Asana calendar entries from within the iOS calendar—but again, changes made within Asana (either mobile or desktop) will show up practically instantly.You can use Asana for all sorts of undertakings, from planning a sales campaign or family outing to tracking bugs, and the iOS app extends its usefulness to a whole universe of users who prefer to manage their business and professional lives on an iPhone or iPad. With a generous free version policy (up to 15 people in a workspace), Asana is worth a try to see if it can help streamline your collaboration and interaction with co-workers, friends, or even family members.

  • Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Series review: An attractive middle-of-the-road 14-inch laptopDell Inspiron 14 5000 Series review: An attractive middle-of-the-road 14-inch laptop

    Elegant and affordable are two words that describe Dell’s Inspiron 14 5000 series. The brushed aluminum and black minimalist styling Dell has treated this laptop with give it an air of class you don’t often see in a mid-range, all-purpose laptop. It looks more expensive than its $750 price tag, which ironically, makes every imperfection seem that much greater. Hence, less-than-spectacular and slightly frustrating are also valid descriptions.The Inspiron 5447's brushed-aluminum lid makes this mid-range laptop look more expensive than it is.The Inspiron 14 5000 series sport 14-inch (duh), glossy, relatively low-res 1366x768 touchscreen displays that are prone to glare and have narrow viewing angles. If you buy one, I suggest sitting directly in front of it, adjusting the screen angle, and watching better movies. Trust me on this. If the movie is good enough, you won’t be worrying about pixels. This is one of those instances when the Inspiron 14 5000’s good looks make you think it deserves better. Or at least a non-touch option to lower its price.The seriesThe Inspiron 14 5000 series starts at $600 for an Intel Core i3-4030U, 4GB of DDR3L/1600 memory, and a 500GB hard drive; ramps up to $749 for the model 5447 reviewed here (with a Core i5-4210U, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB, 5,400 rpm Western Digital WD10JPVX-75JC3T0 hard drive); and tops out at $850 with a Core-i5-4510U model with the same memory and hard drive. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be an SSD option.Our model weighed in at 4.65 pounds sans AC adapter; 5.4 pounds with it. It measures 13.5-inches wide, 9.75-inches deep, and 0.8-inches thick—that’s not thin-and-light territory, but it’s not so bulky that your friends will be amused at your purchase.The Inspiron 5000 series is only 0.8 inches thick, but it weighs 4.7 pounds.The 5447 has two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI port, a headset jack, and a 10/100 ethernet port on its right-hand side; and a USB 2.0 port, media card reader, and AC jack on its left. There’s nothing in back and nothing in front apart from two speaker ports.Use headphones with this laptop; its speakers sound weak and tinny.The lack of gigabit ethernet is disappointing, but I’m happy to report the presence of 802.11ac Wi-Fi, plus Bluetooth 4.0 and WiDi (for wireless video streaming to displays that support Intel’s technology). There’s also a 720p webcam with dual-array mics.Flat, slick, short-throw keys make for a less-than-pleasant typing experience for our reviewer.The Inspiron 14 5447 scooted to a respectable 58 on PCWorld’s Laptop WorldBench 9 benchmark suite, and it managed to wring 4 hours and 50 minutes out of its internally mounted 43-watt hour battery. Hands on, I could tell it had a rather slow hard drive, especially on a cold boot. But after Windows cached what it needed to, the overall experience was more than acceptable.No surprise here: This middle-of-the-road laptop produced a middle-of-the-road score on our WorldBench 9 benchmark suite. High bit-rate 1080p movies played super smoothly, but sound through the speakers was poor. There’s enough volume, but there’s no bass and the overall timbre is gratingly tinny. Whatever Dell did to make its Venue Pro 11 tablet so aurally pleasing should be shared with the Inspiron design team. Gaming is doable in Intel HD 4400 graphics terms, meaning you’re pretty much stuck at 1024x768 if you want anything close to 30 frames per second (the Inspiron 5447 delivered BioShock Infinite at 29 fps at that resolution, with image quality set to low).Your entertainment options will be limited to movies, YouTube, and casual games. The Inspiron 5447 is not cut out for hardcore gaming.You may have noticed the reference to an internal battery. You must remove two screws and the pressure-fit bottom panel to get at the 5447’s. These days, however, I don’t know a lot of people who carry extra batteries to swap; most folks prefer to seek an AC outlet at the appointed hour. The 5447’s run time isn’t fantastic, but it’s long enough for most scenarios.Note that removing said bottom panel also provides easy access to the hard drive, Wi-Fi card, and memory slots. You might want to upgrade the hard drive to an SSD at some point, but 8GB is plenty of memory for most tasks.Our battery run-down test is harsh. You'll probably get enough battery life for a full day, assuming you're not pounding the keyboard the full eight hours.The Inspiron 14 5000’s keyboard isn’t one of my favorites. The keys lack the long travel and snap that’s my preference. But establishing a typing rhythm was easy enough, and the perq is that you can bang away in a quiet environment without unduly disturbing your neighbors. I also found the one-piece touchpad smoothly responsive and easy to click. I do have one complaint: The touchpad isn’t clearly tactilely or visually delineated from the rest of the keyboard deck. When not paying close attention, I missed it several times.The PCMark 8: Office benchmark evaluates performance with Microsoft Office apps. Laptops without SSDs, like this one, don't fare as well as models that do. Price-to-performance ratio The Inspiron 14 5447 is a generally capable all-purpose laptop with top-shelf styling at an affordable price. But there’s a distinct lack of options to make it faster (SSD and gigabit ethernet, for starters) or even less expensive (via a non-touch display), so its good looks wind up being a bit of a tease.Perhaps I’m being too being picky. This is good laptop that’s worthy of perusal if you’re shopping the middle of the road.

  • Asus Transformer Pad TF103C review: This hybrid is better for fun than work Asus Transformer Pad TF103C review: This hybrid is better for fun than work

    I enjoyed the Windows-based Transformer Book T100 I tested a few months ago, so I was excited to see how its Android-powered sibling would stack up. The engineers at Asus engineers have now proven themselves to be pros at designing 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrids running in both Windows and Android flavors. But the names they’ve chosen for these two devices are telling: The Windows device conjures the image of a notebook, while the Android device evokes the iPad.The Asus Transformer Pad TF103C might look like a small Windows 2-in-1 notebook, but it runs the Android OS (KitKat). The Transformer Pad TF103C is an interesting mix of what Asus has learned from working both sides of the OS fence. It’s based on an Intel Bay Trail-class processor—the quad-core Atom Z3745—that’s more commonly found in Windows machines (Android devices are more typically powered by ARM chips). The Android OS (Android 4.4, aka KitKat in this case) can live comfortably in 8GB of storage, and it runs well with just 1GB of RAM, which is what the TF103C has. Windows needs at least 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage—and even then you’ll feel pinched when you go to install application software alongside it.I found the trackpad to be surprisingly useful with Android apps.Using the lightweight OS enabled Asus to cut back on RAM and storage, dropping the device’s street price to a wallet-friendly $299—including the keyboard dock.Using the Transformer PadThis Transformer feels like so many earlier models in this product family. The tablet half is pleasantly curved, with a soft-touch backing that feels great in your hand. It’s slimmer than earlier incarnations—measuring just 0.4 inches thick—and weighs in at only 1.2 pounds.The main difference between the Android-based TF103C’s 10.1-inch display and the same-sized display in the Windows-based TF100 is that the Android tablet’s screen has resolution of 1280x800 pixels, where the T100’s screen delivers resolution of 1366x768. I’m a fan of vertical pixels, especially in the context of productivity, so the TF103C has the advantage here. The screen also gets both very bright and very dim, making this bedtime reader happy.Both machines come in at an identical 2.4 pounds with their keyboard docks. That’s a good carrying weight for a 10-inch laptop, although the T100 has the option of a dock with a hard drive inside if you don’t mind the extra bulk. The Transformer Pad has but one USB port, and it's on the keyboard half of the product.Being an Android tablet, the TF103C doesn’t have as many I/O ports as you’ll find on a Windows laptop. There’s micro USB for charging and a microSD card slot additional storage. You’ll need to attach the keyboard to get a full-size USB 2.0 slot.Media capabilities include a headset jack, stereo speakers, a rather low-res (0.3 megapixels) front-facing camera, and a 2MP camera on its back. The TF103C supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Miracast (for wireless video streaming to displays that support that standard).The keyboard dock is comfortable to type on, with keys that are as well-spaced as they can be for a 10-inch device. I found the trackpad surprisingly useful with Android. As touch-centric as that OS might be, it’s sometimes easier to move your finger to the keyboard deck than to reach across the keyboard to stroke the touchscreen. Function keys are more specific to the OS and are moderately useful as such.The Intel Atom processor gives the TF103C an advantage over other Android tablets that we’ve tested recently, beating both the Lenovo Yoga 10 and Dell Venue 8 in our benchmark tests. The Asus’s 6-hour and 58-minute run time is on the short side for Android tablets, and it’s far short of the 11 hours the Windows-based Transformer Book T100 delivered.Android as a productivity OSThis is where things with the TF103C started to break down for me. Despite having an iPad, an Android tablet, an Android phone, one or another Linux device, and several MacBooks in my past, I’m pretty entrenched in the Windows world when it comes to getting stuff done. I have several programs I use that are still either Windows-only, or they've only just recently been ported to Android.For example, I do most of my writing in Microsoft’s OneNote note-taking software. Using the OneNote Android app was not a smooth experience. Clicking and dragging on text does not highlight it. I had to reach up and hold my finger on the screen, then push the cursor around to highlight text. I tried to switch over to Evernote, which works much better on the TF103C, but not with my workflow. If you’re an Evernote user, you’ll be quite happy working in the Android app on the Transformer, especially with the solid keyboard.The Chrome web browser is pre-installed, but I found that many of the sites I frequent either rendered much more slowly, or defaulted to the mobile versions. You can use bookmarks to make sure the right versions load, but the slow loading will be more problematic. Feedly has a wonderful mobile app that's great for reading news on my phone, but I found it too awkward when scaled up to tablet size. I had to reach up and touch the screen to scroll versus using the keyboard shortcuts I’m used to in the browser.Android is a touch-centric OS, but the Transformer Pad's trackpad proved to be surprisingly useful. I had to abandon some other Android apps that I love to use on my phone, because they just don’t play nicely with tablet-sized devices. I found myself just giving up on the keyboard for browsing and navigating certain apps, choosing instead to pick up the tablet and just use it on the couch rather than pretend I had a laptop.Which lead to the next issue: The onscreen keyboard is terrible. Perhaps I’m just too used to the Windows 8.1 keyboard or the iPad keyboard at this point, but I really struggled with it.Close enough for jazz?The Transformer Pad TF103C is an excellent companion tablet, with the potential to be a useful tool if you can find solid Android versions of your favorite productivity software. But dyed-in-the-wool Windows users will be much happier with Asus’s Transformer Book T100, which is street-priced just $40 higher (for the 32GB model; the 64GB model is going for $375).

  • TechGenie PC Optimizer review: Maximum advertising, minimal valueTechGenie PC Optimizer review: Maximum advertising, minimal value

    Handsomely rendered in the latest Windows 8.x tile-style, TechGenie’s PC Optimizer is undoubtedly one of, if not the best-looking Windows maintenance suite out there. The free version offers marginal value—if you’re careful with it. But if you fall for the copious embedded advertising, you’ll wind up spending well over $100 for utilities you really don't need, then calling iYogi’s tech support to undoubtedly spend more. You might want to move on the next review now.Still reading? The free version of PC Optimizer offers a decent registry cleaner, a junk file remover, disk defragger, a security advisor, an Internet settings optimizer, plus two-way remote control. The $40 Pro version adds a duplicate file finder, backup and restore, plus file encryption. There’s also an $80 Absolute version that brings parental controls, and a firewall to the party. Best I could figure, you need to throw in another $50 to $80 to get antivirus. A lot of upgrading and a lot of money for features that are already embedded into your operating system or available for free elsewhere.Optimizer's Internet optimizer wants to add a lot of registry settings.Giving the suite its due, PC Optimizer’s registry cleaner did about as good a job as my old freebie standby, CCleaner, in finding the detritus from recent uninstalls. And the junk file cleaner was moderately effective as well. However, the defragger wasn’t smart enough to realize it was dealing with a virtual machine drive or an SSD. Defragging doesn’t help the performance of SSDs and reduces their lifespan. On a hard drive, the defragger worked well, though seemingly no better than the defragger that comes with Windows. It also recommends defragging once a month, which is far too often.There are a lot of settings provided by PC Optimizer’s Internet Optimizer, many of which are those that Windows doesn’t implement by default. The wisdom of changing these settings and the benefit derived therefrom is debatable. Also, once you’ve let the PC Optimizer “fix” it, there’s no way back, i.e. no undo. If there was any improvement in throughput, I didn’t see it.Think they could squeeze in more mentions of the tech support phone number? The genie gets bigger, is animated, and got annoyed when I quit a defrag operation.PC Optimizer’s Security Advisor mimics the Windows Action center in telling you what anti-virus program you have installed, what anti-spyware you have installed, and the status of your Firewall. The duplicate file remover doesn’t need explaining, but it seemed to base its selections on file size and came up with a whole lot of files that weren’t duplicates, just small installation or info files that are only a few bytes. Be careful with that one. The Encryptor (iYogi’s spelling) works on a file/folder basis and performed fine, though I limited my testing after the issues with the duplicate file remover.I did most of my testing in a virtual machine, however, the Absolute version wouldn’t install in a VM so I used my main test bed to check out anti-spam, parental controls, and firewall (from BitDefender) in a limited fashion. Mistake. It required me to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials before proceeding, then as far as I could tell, the anti-virus required upgrading yet again to something called Total security. With the anti-spam apparently only for Outlook (I use Thunderbird) and no way to confirm that the Firewall was working, plus numerous additional ads telling me to call technical support, enough was enough. I didn’t even get around to checking out the remote control of other PCs because I wasn’t sure where the data was going. This is only time I’ve quit on the testing for a software review in over 20 years.We're not sure if the up-selling in PC Optimizer ever stops.After the un-install, my Cisco AnyConnect VPN stopped working, and I had to uninstall and update my Ethernet controller driver to get it to connect to the Internet. I spent a good hour digging around, editing the registry, enabling, disabling, uninstalling, and reinstalling software to get my system back up to snuff. PC Optimizer had enabled remote assistance to the test bed without asking. I was not pleased.This was not my first run-in with software from iYogi. The last was in 2009 with a Windows XP to Windows 7 migration tool that bombarded you with up-sell and tech support advertising, looked like it was going to do something, and transferred nothing. Sensing a pattern? At least PC Optimizer’s utilities do something, and some of it's positive. If they had been flawless, I could forgive the ads and upselling. As it stands, no user really needs a maintenance suite, but if you feel you must have one, look elsewhere.

  • Kaspersky Internet Security 2015—Multi-Device review: new interface, same excellent protectionKaspersky Internet Security 2015—Multi-Device review: new interface, same excellent protection

    Given that the average person owns several Internet connected devices, straight PC security doesn’t really cut it anymore. That’s why companies like Kaspersky are starting to offer cross-platform solutions for marginally more than their traditional PC-only antivirus programs.For just $70 a year, Kaspersky Internet Security—Multi-Device 2015 protects up to five devices, including PCs, Macs, and Android phones and tablets. In addition to antivirus, you get some useful Android safety features such as anti-theft and loss protection, remote management, and automatic app scanning.Kasperksy polished Internet Security's interface, but it remains touchscreen friendly.Kaspersky remains one of the best antivirus programs on the market: Independent security research institute AV-Test found no major differences between the 2014 version of Kaspersky’s software (which received our highest score in this year’s security showdown) and the 2015 version.Kaspersky Internet Security 2015—Multi-Device offers an array of protection for Android phones and tablets.In AV-Test’s real-world tests, Kaspersky Internet Security—Multi-Device 2015 successfully blocked all 31 malicious URLs. In the “malware zoo” test, which evaluates a software’s ability to identify and block widespread known malware discovered within the last month, Kaspersky successfully detected and blocked 12,608 samples out of 12,618. The suite also got a perfect score for distinguishing between threats and non-threats. Performance-wise, the suite is similar to the 2014 software, which was one of the lightest programs in our recent round-up.But while the software offers virtually the same protection, Kaspersky has revamped the interface. It’s still very touchscreen-friendly, with large buttons and toggle switches and larger-than-average checkboxes in the settings menu, but the overall look is more polished.The main screen features a computer monitor—with a check mark denoting your PC is protected and a red X indicating it’s not—and four menu buttons: Scan, Update, Safe Money, and Parental Controls.The Scan button takes you to a more detailed menu where you can run a full scan, quick scan, custom scan, scan your removable drives, or set up a scan schedule. Safe Money is Kaspersky’s online banking and payment protection software—selecting it allows you to add a list of websites you want to use with Kaspersky’s Protected Browser for extra ecommerce protection.Kasperksy's main screen on a Mac.Additional tools, accessed via a link in the lower right corner of the window, include “Browser Configuration,” a wizard that helps you optimize web browser settings; “Privacy Cleaner,” which clears your computer of recent commands and accessed files; and “Cloud Protection,” which connects you to Kaspersky’s Security Network and offers “instant response to new threats.”Kaspersky always does a great job with its settings menu, which you can access by tapping the Settings link in the lower left corner of the main window. It’s organized into five categories (General, Protection Center, Performance, Scan, and Additional), and features touch-friendly controls and easy-to-understand explanations, even in the more advanced settings screens.The bottom lineKaspersky’s Internet Security—Multi-Device 2015 is easy to recommend if you’re a device junkie. Protection and performance are excellent, and this year’s interface is more polished than its predecessor without losing any usability. If you’re just looking for PC protection, you can save $10 with Kaspersky Internet Security 2015, which costs $60 for one year of protection for up to three PCs.

Spotlight
  • 'Xbox One Hotel' to open in Paris
    Relaxnews - 2013-11-13 2:45 PM

    To mark the launch of its latest games console, Microsoft France will transform the Hôtel O in Paris into a space dedicated entirely to the Xbox One.

  • Most plan on starting holiday shopping earlyMost plan on starting holiday shopping early
    thecanadianpress.com - 2013-11-04 5:15 PM

    Nearly three-quarters of Canadians recently polled say they plan to start their holiday shopping early this year, and will use the Internet to check and compare prices before buying gifts, two holiday retail studies suggest.

  • Five things you must do to prepare for the end of BlackBerryFive things you must do to prepare for the end of BlackBerry

    With BlackBerry on life support, it’s time to accept the likelihood that there won’t be a BlackBerry a year from now