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Monday 24 January 2005

Best UK computer mag? [Lurks]

Could it be that publisher on the south coast has made the ultimate computer magazine and no one has noticed?
As some of you know, I've been doing computer mags for a good many years now. These days I sit on the other side of the fence so that instead of sitting next to the annoying sales guys making loads of noise as they try to sell adverts to some poor computer manufacturer, I'm the poor guy that they call up and flog ads to.
So over the last six months I've been looking critically at the UK computer magazines. I must confess, I haven't really bought any myself for a good long time. Probably because, as I'm sure you're all aware, I know everything so I don't need to buy a magazine innit?
With an office full of magazines, one of the things that struck me was just how stuck in the mud computer magazines are. They all look the same, they all use the same sort turns of phrase in language and they even seem to all use the same review criteria where this frequently isn't in line with the needs of their readership. Looking the same means drab as hell, in stark comparison to the gaudy games mags which have worked out long ago that in order to stake out their market they need an individual look and feel.
Enter this mad little title called GigaHz. This magazine is being published by Paragon/Highbury and is being edited by a chap who has a background in editing a small poxy mag (a running theme with Paragon by and large) called PC Home. So it ought to be shit. It isn't though, it's great.
For a start, it's huge. The latest issue is 178 pages. The vast bulk of this is written by freelancers or is bought-in content from the likes of ZDnet. It pitches itself as 'Maximum Performance Computing' and sadly is choosing to demonstrate that by whacking graphics cards on the front cover but actually inside there's quite a lot of good stuff. Features are given room to breathe and the mag is spending more on photography than anything you've seen.
If they review a bit of expensive high-specification kit, they take proper ninja pictures with a real photographer - usually out there in the real world - and ... well, it looks great. There's also a lot of gaming in the mag, as well there should be since what else do you want all that lovely computer gear for.
I'm not saying GigaHz is the panacea of computer mags in the UK but it is a genuinely good effort and if you were to pick one up, you'd get a few train journeys out of it rather than read it cover to cover between a couple of stations like much of the other titles on the shelf.
I also happen to know it's not selling that much. Some of which is their own fault because of the poor cover billing which you just cannot afford in this competitive market but it deserves to succeed if only to edge out some of the older drearier competition and inject a little bit of fresh enthusiasm and youthful good looks.
Anyhow, grab a copy and check it out. They might very well fail but in the mean time it's a lot of mag for a fiver and it's got pictures in it too.


  1. Oh yeah, their web site is a bit laughable (having not been updated since the launch issue...) but you can see the cover and the logo so you'll know what to look for. That said, it's sticking out like a sore thumb in Smiths now.

  2. I've picked up the last issue of "Digital Camera Buyer" also by Highbury. Seems like similar production values to the PC one, jam packed with info etc. Reviews seem to be pretty on the mark, a lot shorter but still containing the salient points from anal detail level reviews found on the intarwebnet.