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Review of "Computeractive"

published 06/04/2008 | Deru
Member since : 23/11/2003
Reviews : 146
Members who trust : 95
About me :
* Same name over on Dooyoo
Pro Simple and clear advice, Interesting articles, Product Reviews
Cons Adverts, Reviews sometimes too short
very helpful
Quality of journalism
Quality of features
Value for money
Quantity of advertising

"Probably the only easy-to-read Computer Magazine"

Computer Active (I'll call it CA) is a monthly PC/computer/technology magazine that can be found in most newsagents and supermarkets. It currently costs £1.59, which I feel is reasonable and seems to be cheaper than many other computer magazines, although it used to cost £1.35 before prices started to shoot up all over the place. The magazine is usually just over 80 pages long and contains varied articles for the reader relating to new development in technology, consumer law, technical advice, product reviews, etc.

Although I'm no beginner when it comes to computers, I still find CA to be my preferred computer magazine even though it may be aimed at a broader category of computer users ranging from beginners to the more advanced. The language used is simple and easy to understand. Something that makes CA stand out is that throughout the whole magazine, there's always a Jargon Buster section for each section defining all the technical terms used in the articles. This means that the magazine is suitable for non-techies.

Each month, CA tries to feature a special topic and it emphasizes this on the front cover. These topics can be anything on how to improve PC performance to how to find bargains online or even how to sell on eBay. I do not buy CA religiously and only do so if the topic is of interest to myself (that or if I'm out and about and fancy something to read, in which case I'd buy it regardless of the topic). Whether the featured topic is of interest to you or not, I often find there is something else interesting to read, as they do not dedicate the whole magazine to it.

CA is usually broken down into the following sections:

- Q&A (Question & Answer)

But the order seems to vary and some section headings can also vary, sometimes because of the theme. For example, a feature topic about digital cameras would have more reviews and possibly product tests.

The Workshop is quite interesting as this is dead in the centre of the magazine and you can pull it out to keep for future reference. Only problem is that once pulled out, although still a two page spread, they aren't held together anymore as the staples remain with the rest of the magazine.

Although the title of the magazine is 'Computer' Active some sections do seem to focus on consumer law like the DSR (Distance Selling Regulations i.e. buying online). In these sections, readers write in and ask for advice on what to do when they experience problems with a service or product so CA go 'Watchdog' mode and contact the companies on the reader's behalf to try to resolve the problem. Even so, they're usually Internet services and electronic and computer products that were bought. I like this section as they're interesting to read and I can learn something new about consumer law.

It's also nice to be able to read reader's questions, comments, etc just like a non-computer magazine since it lets CA interact with its readers making it more dynamic and less wooden.

They also have a website where you can view past workshops, view past reader technical questions, get software downloads and even buy stuff. This is a great way to complement the magazine, especially with the software downloads. They often provide address to software downloads in the magazine from their website.

There are adverts throughout the magazine, and usually a loose leaflet or two in the middle with ISP broadband offers and a Computer Active subscription form that gives you a free gift if you sign up. I don't mind the loose leaflets but it's a bit annoying when they fall out all over the place so would prefer that they stapled them in but made them easy to pull out like the workshop. A lot of the adverts are full page adverts distributed throughout the magazine and there's always a whole section at the back dedicated to adverts, which I don't bother looking at anyway. The adverts are always computer related so are appropriate.

There are usually reviews of gadgets, computers and software but I find them to be a bit short and often don't contain all the information I want but it's nice that they are there. They have the usual Pros and Cons summary with a star rating.

Overall, I really like CA. It's easy to read, has interesting topics and useful tips. It's a lot smaller than other computer magazines but find the length of it more appealing than those of other computer magazines since I don't always have time to read long articles. It also keeps the cost down, which can only be a good thing.

Thanks for reading.

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Comments on this review

  • patriciat published 13/04/2008
    It sounds very useful. I usually avoid computer mags as I didn't think I'd understand them but this sounds suitable even for me. Pat.t x
  • arnoldhenryrufus published 07/04/2008
    I brought a copy once a long time ago when I saw something on the front that caught my eye - lyn x
  • mightymuffin published 06/04/2008
    My husband reads this occasionally, very good review x
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Product Information : Computeractive

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Listed on Ciao since: 27/06/2000