Reza Pahlevi

News, tips and reviews from the experts on PCs, Windows, and more

The best smart lock for a keyless home

Keys are yesterday’s tech, your smart home needs a smart door lock.


Wyze Lock review: This ultra-affordable smart deadbolt converter covers the basics well

Convert your dumb deadbolt into a Wi-Fi-connected smart lock for less.


Firefox flips on default DNS over HTTPS to encrypt Internet traffic at the source

Mozilla has announced that its Firefox browser has begun to roll out encrypted DNS over HTTPS by default for all users in the U.S., a major step in the push to fully encrypt all Internet traffic and eliminate the risk of attack. However, while Mozilla is pushing the feature as “one of the many privacy protections you can expect to see from us in 2020,” it could be gearing up for a lengthy legislative battle.

On a technical level, DNS over HTTPS (DoH) encrypts the initial lookup of the website you want to reach, known as the Domain Name System. “DNS is a database that links a human-friendly name, such as www.mozilla.org, to a computer-friendly series of numbers, called an IP address (e.g. 192.0.2.1),” Mozilla explains. “By performing a ‘lookup’ in this database, your web browser is able to find websites on your behalf.” 

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Google and Microsoft are scaring consumers over Edge extensions, and for what?

Microsoft's new Edge browser is filled with promise, especially given its ability to use Chrome extensions to add features. But neither Microsoft nor Google are doing users any favors with what amounts to a childish, tit-for-tat territorial squabble over those extensions.

One of the key features of the new Edge browser from Microsoft is its ability to add extensions from the Chrome Web Store, just like other Chromium-based browsers. If someone using the new Edge browser tries to add extensions from the Chrome Web Store, however, a message will pop up saying that Google “recommends switching to Chrome to use extensions securely.”

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Best external drives for backup, storage, and portability

Anyone who uses a PC should have an external drive. It’s both a useful means of data backup and storage, and a way to transport files from your desktop or laptop to another device. Xbox One X users, as well, would be wise to invest in an external drive as a way of augmenting the console’s measly 1TB hard drive (the external drive needs to be USB 3.0-compatible and will be formatted when you insert the drive). 

Two things are for sure: No one ever said they wanted less storage space, and no one ever said they wanted a slower drive. Our latest top picks for best external performance drive (SanDisk's Extreme Pro Portable and Samsung's T7) are blazing-fast, great news if you're moving around large amounts of data. If backup or connectivity are your priorities, we’ll also walk you through our other top picks, and everything you need to know to buy the best external drive for your needs.

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SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD review: Fast, tough and reasonably priced

Well, that didn’t take long. A few short weeks after reviewing the Samsung T7, SanDisk’s Extreme Portable Pro SSD (1TB) showed up at our door and easily surpassed its rival for the top-performing USB 3.1 Gen 2 drive. SanDisk’s drive doesn’t offer the T7’s handy and fun fingerprint security, but it’s about the same price and offers software-based password protection if security is a concern. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best external drives. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. 

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Best antivirus: Keep your Windows PC safe from spyware, Trojans, malware, and more

Antivirus software is nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. Even if you’re well aware of potential threats and practice extreme caution, some threats just can’t be prevented without the extra help of an AV program—or a full antivirus suite. 

You could, for example, visit a website that unintentionally displays malicious ads. Or accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). Or get stung by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program gives hackers entry to your system.

We’re not suggesting that PC security software is fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits, like ransomware, on your machine. Anyone who actively uses email, clicks on links, and downloads programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.

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Lenovo announces a major ThinkPad refresh, including AMD's mobile Ryzen 4000 chips

Lenovo said Monday that a number of its upcoming ThinkPad laptops will use the AMD Ryzen Pro 4000 Mobile series of mobile processors, a strong endorsement for AMD’s new chips.

Both Lenovo’s premium T-series, X-series and L-series line will offer Ryzen Pro 4000 models, which will be offered alongside Intel’s 10th-gen Comet Lake chips, in business-oriented vPro versions. Lenovo was originally scheduled to launch the new laptops at the MWC show in Barcelona, which was cancelled over coronavirus concerns.

Lenovo said that all of the new ThinkPad models will offer Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), regardless of processor. The sliding ThinkShutter webcam shutter will be included on all of the models, too. PrivacyAlert, which uses the IR camera to determine when someone is peering at your screen, will be optional on ThinkPad devices with an IR camera, Lenovo said.

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