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Computer magazines have a sad reputation but Netsurfers of all levels are discovering the new wave of Net-dedicated glossies to be essential guide- books they can’t do without. Deirdre Molloy dispenses with her anorak to review seven of the best.

I lntemet Monthly. £3.50. Unfussy read for experienced Netheads, novices. and the curious unwired alike. Information Helpful case

studies and reviews of hardware. software and Net- related services. Entertainment Witty reviews,

but features tend to be of a dry.

educational bent.

Visuals Clear design and a sober balance of photos, charts and images downloaded from the Web.

Trainspotter Factor Counters the stereotype with unassuming ease.

Low Down Will get you sussed. connected and in control of your life online. 7/10.

I .net Monthly, £3. A vibrant. feature-led magazine with a different theme each month. balancing Net culture and techie stuff.

Information Basic instructions and reviews. Plus ‘your testy


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technical questions answered in plain omelette English'. Entertainment A-pienty. Cyber celeb interviews. Internet titbits and gossip. and coverage of lntemet and multimedia happenings. Visuals Get past the clutter of grunge psychedelics on the cover, and you'll find each section distinct and well designed.

Trainspotter Factor Nerds beware. .ncr wants your scalp fora sick party trick.

Low Down Fit for the Renaissance wo/man on-line. 9/10.

NB: Comprehensive and stylish paperback Web site review .net directory now published separately every other month at £4.99.

I Wired Monthly. £3.50. UK version of America's high- brow, high-hip monitor of digital culture.

Information Less informative than philosophising. millennium-style, with meaty, think piece-style features on future phenomena like digital animation. genetic engineering and, of course. the lntemet. Entertainment Pithy bites of Net gossip and what's funky on the future technology front. Visuals Whizzy techno- graphics pay a compliment to the text. You'll feel ambient not sea-sick.

Trainspotter Factor Your geek ass can take a walk outta here. Low Down Essential reading for what gives in Net politics and the technosphere. 9/10.

I The Web Monthly, £2.50. Newcomer to the pack. its no- nonsense attitude and first-rate

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writing will shake the most jaded observer out of complacency.

Information Sensible reviews of soft and hardware and detailed ‘How To' series with the emphasis on the WWW. Entertainment Stuffed full of trivia and news. its fab investigative features dish the dirt on what's festering in the wired politic.

Visuals Hold on to your eyeballs, it's all bright colours and painfully small print. Trainspotter Factor With this credible new player on the block. the days of the trainspotter are numbered. Low Down Great value for money with a finger on the accelerated pulse of Web activity. 8/10.

I Met User Monthly. £3.95. Practical magazine for online folk that is still developing an identity.

Information Deals wth the nitty-gritty of getting online and doing something useful once you've got there. Browsers, lRC, HTML Net User will dispel all your techno-fears.

Entertainment Dip into its big Web site review section, profiling everything from pets and fashion to space travel sites.

Visuals Spruced up considerably after a recent design revamp.

Trainspotter Factor If there are any in here, they're well disguised.

Low Down For up-to-date and concise explanations of the online ABC you couldn't do better. Plus frequent free CDs



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with tons of trial software to download. 7/10.

I Computer Lite Monthly. £3.95. General computer lifestyle magazine with lntemet features. reviews and news.

Information The ‘Online' section reports on and tests out what's new Net-wise: gadgets. service providers, Web sites. Entertainment Snappy features and sound-off columns on Net issues, plus a brilliant news and gossip section call the ‘The Crack'. Games to sample on the regular free CDs and floppys. Visuals Streets ahead with a no-fuss and frills minimalist look.

Trainspotter Factor A cool antidote to the trainspotting image.

Low Down Standards matter to these people and they should to you too. Subscribe! 8/10. I Internet Today Monthly, £2.95. Established commentator on what's up in cyberspace that cuts through fan-boy techno posturing. Information Savvy software reviews and invaluable step- by-step tutorials for navigating those fiddly Net procedures. Entertainment Eclectic features and exclusive coverage of the more bizarre Net goings-on.

Visuals Uncluttered. with aesthetically pleasing artwork. Trainspotter Factor Not an anorak in sight.

Low Down Seamless joumalism and cerebral topics make this an intriguing and satisfying read. 8/10

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The List 12-25 Jan 199623