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.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

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

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.