Summary: If you're a dedicated Windows 8 hater, the update to Windows 8.1 isn't going to change your mind. For everyone else, this collection of tweaks, fixes, and new features is useful, but everything here should have shipped in the original version last year.
Pros: Windows 8.1 adds many useful tweaks and fixes, including a new version of the missing Start button, better searching, the ability to boot directly to the desktop, and a much-improved app store. Plus, it's free for current Windows 8 users.
Cons: The split between the touch-friendly tiles and throwback desktop mode is still awkward, and the OS is hard to use without a touch screen. While welcome, the new Start button doesn't behave like the classic version, and the Windows app store still lacks serious software, especially for gamers.
Windows Phone 8.1 review: Microsoft's mobile OS finally feels whole
14 March 2013
Conclusion: Windows Phone 8.1 is the OS we've been waiting for years to see, bringing a notification center, personal assistant and other great touches.
Pros: Action Center is well-designed, desperately needed, Cortana voice assistant works well considering it's still in beta, Swipe keyboard is easy to use, More modern hardware support, More personalization options
Cons: Large phones can't take full advantage of the screen space, Google support still lagging
Excerpt: Microsoft's Windows 8 is a bold innovation, melding the worlds of tablets and PCs. Its excellent touch input, an app store, and better performance are compelling, but the changes will be too drastic for some and as a completely new product, a few rough edges remain.
Summary: Three tile sizes, lots of layout options: are you spoiled for choice or in control?
Pros: Slick interface, Huge amount of feature support, Skype integration, This is a delightful, elegant, enticing smartphone OS with a great browser and the best default touch keyboard bar none – and yes, maps that actually work. Building Lenses into the camera app means you're more likely to remember ...
Cons: Won't run on older phones, App store is smaller, Not as immersive as other platforms, The Wallet is only going to be useful when your bank and your mobile operator catch up with the new technology, although isn't necessarily a hindrance. Xbox Music will tempt you with music you can't listen to un...
Summary: Our definitive look at the latest version of Windows
Pros: On the right hardware, it's sleek, fast and fun, Huge security improvements, Better battery life, faster boot, Great for touch, Windows 8 is faster; you'll notice the difference on older PCs as much as on new machines. Battery life improves enough to be noticeable. And it's significantly more sec...
Cons: Start menu gone, Can't boot to the desktop, You'll want a touchscreen/trackpad gestures/Touch Mouse, Modern UI will annoy some, Some older CPUs won't run it, The new experience and interface is far from universally popular and while every interface is a matter of personal taste, the range of opin...
Conclusion: Using Windows 8 for a while has had an interesting effect on us. We started off finding it confusing, and for the most part there are still things in here that baffle us. We have, however, learnt how to use the OS now.
Pros: Windows is still a great OS, decent upgrade price, amazing start-up and shut-down speeds, enough new features to justify asking price, restore/refresh is a brilliant and well-executed idea, handwriting recognition is amazing
Cons: Metro/Modern is confusing and will require people to re-learn Windows, Supplied modern apps are mostly rubbish, the UI can be very inconsistent