PC & Tech Authority Magazine Issue: November, 2008
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Issue: 132 | November, 2008

About PC & Tech Authority Magazine:

Australia's premier computer magazine, PC Authority gives you the facts, opinions and insight to make informed PC and tech purchasing decisions. Every issue is packed with the latest products, reviewed by an expert team of technical writers and guarantees more Aussie exclusives and first looks than any other Australian PC magazine.

Trusted for its reliable & objective product reviews, the foundation of the magazine is the comprehensive and thorough evaluations of every product tested by the tech team in our Labs. Its readers are both PC enthsusiasts at home and small-medium business decision makers at work.

The November, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority is available in the following formats:

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I can’t tell you how long I’ve been dreaming of a decent mobile broadband connection. In my dreams, of course, it’s as fast as my ADSL2+, and supplies the 20GB I currently consume every month in bandwidth with nary a whimper. The reality is still a way behind my dream, but it’s increasingly good value-for-money. To make the most of it, you should check out our lowdown on speeds, coverage and plans in the November issue. I’ll warn you now: there are a couple of catches to watch out for!

When it comes to saving money, we’ve rounded up the best advice possible. Our 40 cost-cutting tips will not only help you save money on your next tech purchase, but you’ll also find ways to save money with the technology you already own.

One money-saver is to buy a multifunction printer, and we’ve conveniently rounded up a stack of bargain buys, only in November PC Authority.

Lastly, our feature on Computers in Space is where we uncover details about the machines that are out and about in the solar system. From the tiny system at the heart of Voyager to the robust software that drives the Phoenix Mars Lander, we go boldly where no magazine has gone before.

Also, don’t forget that you can still vote in our reliability and service awards at http://www.pcauthority.com.au/promos/awards/.

There’s $17,000 worth of prizes to win, and – best of all – you get to tell manufacturers what you really think of their tech. Go and have your say!

What's on the Disc?

• Paragon Hard Disc Manager 8.5 SE
• Iolo DriveScrubber 3.5
• Carbonite
• Warmonger Demo

Articles in this issue

3, our top pick for mobile broadband

Cheap plans, good hardware and excellent results in our speed tests make 3 a deserving winner, in our group test against Telstra Bigpond, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin and Unwired.

Acer Aspire one, reviewed in detail

Acer’s Aspire one makes a splash. A great keyboard, a fine screen and a keen price make for a superb mini-laptop


The fastest test results, but the most expensive data packages make BigPond a fall-back only for those with no coverage from other providers

Brother DCP-150C

A dreadful scanner and an overall lack of features make the low price a moot point

Brother MFC-465CN

Interesting design and plenty of features, but it takes an age to produce mediocre results

Canon Pixma MP520

Fast, great quality prints at a decent price – the only real competition for the other Canon

Canon Pixma MP610

The scanner is the only minor weakness in an otherwise near perfect home all-in-one

D-Link DIR-451 3G Mobile

good speed, good features and plenty of flexibility make this a winner

Dell 968

Good, but not good enough: it can’t compete with the winners this month

Dell Studio Hybrid, the full review

Small, funky and fast, the studio hybrid is the pick of the small PCs. You've read our first impressions, now see our full review of the Dell Studio Hybrid.

Dell V305w

Decent wireless printing, but the poor scanning, copying and speed let the Dell down

How to virtualise your PC for free

David Fearon explains how to save energy and hassle by converting your old Windows XP PC to a virtual one that you can run on your Vista machine

HP Officejet K8600

Lacklustre colour quality, but good speed and value for money make the K8600 a contender if you like blowing things up to A3 size

HP TouchSmart IQ508a

A stylish and usable touchscreen PC that’s right at home in the living room. With Windows 7 promising touch-control, this could be the future of desktop PCs.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009, our new A-List pick

More approachable than ever, with excellent malware detection in an affordable package

Kodak ESP-3

Lenovo IdeaPad Y430, top value 14.1 Centrino 2

In a world filled with gorgeous Sony, Apple and even Dell laptops, a sober, matte black machine aimed at consumers has to be truly special to turn heads. The IdeaPad Y430 is a well-built Centrino 2 machine that lacks nothing in the way of features, speed or value

Lexmark X4875

Plenty of features, but printing and scanning results proved average at best

Lexmark X9575

Quality, speed and a huge array of features go some way to justifying the price

Linksys WRT54G3G

Slow speeds and a high price make this an underwhelming offering

Linksys WRT610N, dual-n band networking is here

The arrival of dual-n band networking with 5GHz promises an end to crowded home wireless networks. Speed, range and technology is great, but the price is steep

MSI Wind U100, challenges Eee PC and Acer Aspire One

A startling achievement: a highly capable mini-laptop for under $700. Only mediocre battery life mars its appeal.

Nokia E66

A capable and beautifully designed smartphone, but weaker battery life means it can’t match the E71


Despite worrying reports about network congestion, Optus performed well in our tests. Top-notch speed, balanced with keen pricing - if you value network performance above all else this is the mobile broadband to get

PC Tools Registry Mechanic 8, does "computer voodoo"

It’s easy to believe that registry cleaners fall into the category of “computer voodoo”. You expect to perform a few ritualistic gestures and gain a faster, less problematic computer.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 6

A modular scanning tool that catches most unwanted software – but not quite all

Pinnacle Studio 12

A great entry-level video editing app, but Montage is the only major addition unless you go for the Ultimate edition

Price Watch: getting "cost price" at retail

Our man undercover, the Retail Warrior tested this by shopping for a TomTom Go 720 at four retailers, and found there are extremely good deals to be had, if you're prepared to do some clever leg work.

Printer group test: 9 inkjet all-in-ones tested

We test nine devices, from the simplest printers to versatile multifunction devices that print, scan, copy and fax

Server 101: Keep server apps running during a crash or maintenance

Leigh Dyer looks at how to get failover redundancy on a shoestring budget


Great looks, superb build quality and a world beating software package. It would threaten the A list if it were just a little cheaper.

Steinberg Sequel 2

Nothing revolutionary, but this simple and affordable music-production program feels both mature and modern

Telstra Turbo 7 Series Wireless Gateway

Good value if purchased with a plan, the telstra’s speed impresses

Top tips to save money on tech

Our full guide to saving cash-saving secrets is here, from how to get discounts on PCs, to SIM only phone contracts, the best DSLR cameras deals, and discount licensing from Adobe, Microsoft and others.


Disappointing speeds in our tests, underwhelming plans and expensive hardware make Unwired a niche choice


No excess data charges, a free modem and a good software package make virgin worth a look


A free modem and competitive pricing around the 5GB mark make Vodafone worth a look – but other networks are cheaper per GB

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