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Winners and Losers: Microsoft unveils Windows 11 while EE and O2 cut free roaming

This week has been a hectic one at Trusted Reviews. The first half of the week brought an abundance of tech deals courtesy of Prime Day, while the second half of the week gave us our first look at Windows 11, as well as some disappointing news for holiday-goers. 

With Amazon’s annual summer sale gone for another year, our focus turned to what Microsoft had to offer as the tech giant officially unveiled Windows 11 – and Microsoft weren’t shy on sharing what’s coming to its new OS.

Meanwhile, we had bad news from two of the UK biggest mobile networks as EE and O2 announced roaming charges will make an unwelcome comeback in 2022. 

Winner: Microsoft 

This week’s winner is Microsoft, who gave PC users plenty to get excited about when it unveiled the latest iteration of its Windows operating system. 

Microsoft is giving Windows a design makeover with Windows 11, adding more curves and shifting the toolbar front and centre, a move that’s drawn comparisons to Apple’s macOS (even if it’s still missing out on one major Apple feature). 

Windows users are getting a personalised feed with widgets for things like the weather or your calendar, along with a Recommended app to make it easy to return to whichever app you were using last. 

Elsewhere, the interface for the Microsoft Store has been redesigned and new third-party apps will be able to join the store. Not only this, but Windows 11 will now support Android apps, so users can look forward to downloading through the Amazon App store (confusing, we know). 

Multi-tasking is improved thanks to the new Snap Layouts feature, while Microsoft Teams integration means you’ll be able to access the Chat feature and connect with friends and family directly from your PC’s toolbar. 

Gamers will enjoy the new Xbox Series X associated gaming features that includes DirectX 12 Ultimate and DirectStorage support, as well as Auto HDR for improved picture quality in select games. 

The operating system is also set to be faster than Windows 10 and improvements in efficiency mean Windows 11 laptops could offer better battery over their predecessors. Even better is that all of this will come as a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 users. 

Windows 11 isn’t set to roll out until later in the year, but based on what we’ve seen, the new OS looks set to be a winner. 

Black Friday deal

Loser: EE and O2

EE and O2 – or rather, their customers – are clear contenders for the title of losers in this week’s edition. 

And it’s all thanks to Brexit (because of course it is). 

Both mobile networks confirmed roaming charges will make their dreaded return, meaning UK users can look forward to additional data costs next time they use their minutes, messages and data plans abroad. 

According to a BBC report, EE users who join after July 7 will be charged £2 a day to use their data allowance in 47 European locations from January 2022. 

Meanwhile, O2 has announced a return to roaming charges from August 2 onwards. The network is introducing a 25GB a month data cap in its Europe Zone before charging users £3.50 for every GB they run over.

This is all despite EE, O2, Three and Vodafone reassuring users they had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges. It seems those plans have changed. 

Roaming charges were scrapped in 2017, but the Brexit trade agreement made it possible for mobile networks to bring them back. Now it looks as though EE and O2 will take this option, and the saddest part is we can’t make the most of free roaming while we have it thanks to the pandemic. 2021 really is the worst. 

There are some exceptions to the new roaming policies. EE has confirmed it won’t charge customers extra to use their phones in the Republic of Ireland as it is included in domestic plans. Maybe book your next holiday to Dublin if you’re concerned about running up a bill while you’re away.

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