Microsoft Windows 8 Review - Pros and Cons, Worth the Upgrade? and Verdict Review


Windows 8: Jack of all Touches

It’s

almost like, with Windows 8, Microsoft has clobbered together two

completely different operating systems. On the one had there’s the

traditional Desktop mode, which works and behaves a lot like Windows 7 –

except it’s not quite as convenient or as pretty, thanks to its lack of

Aero.

While

we’re talking negatives, it would have been nice to see native DVD

playback and the continued evolution of Media Centre, a half-competent

office suite like with the RT version (we’re not asking for Office 2013

to be bundled with Windows 8 X86, but OpenOffice is free after all so surely Microsoft could manage something better than an ad-supported imitation), and

more control over the size and colour of tiles.


Windows 8 7

However,

on the bright side Windows 8 is noticeably faster than Windows 7,

especially on older hardware. Everything from games to power-hungry

programs runs just as smoothly as your PC will allow. It can eke out

more battery life, great for mobile X86 devices that just don’t run that

long away from a socket. It has newer drivers, giving better device

support out of the box. It offers better synchronisation both with your

other Windows 8 devices and with the cloud. It gives you more advanced,

customisable profiles. And it offers a lot more features in many areas.


Windows 8 Loves Tablets

What

really makes or break Windows is touch. It was inevitable that

Microsoft would end up with a frankenstein OS on its hands, as on the

one hand it needed to provide an X86 operating system with a

touch-friendly, app-oriented interface for tablets, touch-enabled

all-in-one PCs and laptops, while on the other it couldn’t risk

completely alienating existing users who were after a more traditional

environment sans touch.


Windows 8 3

All

this considered, Microsoft has done an admirable job. We only wish it

had given us the option to make the Windows 8 Desktop just a little more

yet like that of its predecessor, rather than forcing users to employ

hacks or third-party software.

Mind

you, if you are new to Windows and especially if you’re using a tablet,

you’re unlikely to care if you ever see the Desktop. What Windows 8 has

done with its new Start screen and tile interface is create an

attractive, comprehensive and fairly easy to use touch system that

generally works well and does so without obviously stealing its style or

ideas from rivals. There might be a slightly steeper learning curve

than with Android or iOS, but Windows 8 also offers more potential and

many advantages – not least of which is its comprehensive stylus

support.   


Windows 8: Worth the Upgrade?

So

is Windows 8 worth upgrading to if you’re happy with Windows 7?

Probably not. But then again, if you’re willing to put a little effort

in there’s scant reason not to upgrade, either – especially as

Microsoft has confirmed a supremely affordable download upgrade price of a mere

£24, or £14 if you’ve bought a new Windows 7 device since the second of

June 2012. A full retail ‘hard’ copy, meanwhile, is likely to set you back

around £50.


Windows 8 6

Whether

you love or hate Windows 8, a lot will depend on how quickly software

companies transfer to using Microsoft’s Windows Store for their

products. If a piece of software you really want for your Windows PC

isn’t available outside of this delivery system, whether you like the

new OS or not becomes somewhat moot.

It’s

the same story if you’re thinking of buying another Windows 8 device –

whether that’s a smartphone running Windows Phone 8, a tablet running

Windows RT, or even another PC or laptop with Windows 8 Pro. Like

Apple, Microsoft is creating its own all-encompassing eco-system, and once you’re in…


Verdict

Considering

the challenge of making an operating system that would work as well for

a tablet or other touch device as your average desktop PC, Microsoft

has done an admirable job with Windows 8.

There are times when the

complex innards break through its slick tile interface and we could have

wished for a little more familiarity in its classical Desktop mode, but

these are minor blemishes on what is generally a very slick OS. Throw

in the fact that it not only performs every bit as well as Windows 7 but

also runs smoother on older machines while potentially increasing

battery life, and Windows 8 is a worthy upgrade – though it really does

want touch to get the most out of it.

Score


Score in detail

  • Features 10
  • Value 9
  • Performance 9
  • Design 8
  • Usability 8