Hands-on review: Windows 8.1 RT

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Windows RT is still hanging in there, although the variety of ARM-based gadgets readily available with it does not precisely seen to be growing.

But regardless of that, along with high initial rates for items like the Surface RT plus noteworthy stillborn gadgets and absentee suppliers, Microsoft still seems committed to the cut-down version of Windows 8 and now Windows 8.1, even if RT barely got a mention in the keynote that opened Microsoft Build the other day.

We got our hands on RT 8.1 which we found working on a Surface at the Build event. Right here’s some shots direct from the device.

Windows 8.1 RT

The first thing to say is that there’s no going back if you install the Windows 8.1 RT Preview over standard Windows RT. You can’t roll it back – you’ll just have the ability to update to the final version by means of Windows Update when it’s launched.

As we mentioned in our primary Hands on: Windows 8.1 testimonial, the improvements to Windows 8.1 make it a far more usable operating system – the brand-new side-by-side app views make things much easier. Then, of course, there’s the fact the desktop computer now has a Beginning button back, even if it does nothing but also launch the Start screen. You can also swipe up on the Start display to view the All apps display, which is a terrific improvement and far more like the old-style Start menu.

The integration between the Start screen and Desktop computer is now a better blend – a description made use of by Steve Ballmer throughout the Windows 8.1 launch. It could sound like bluster, but it’s true. Gone is the jarring nature of the 2 interfaces for the many part, although brand-new users will still discover it a high learning curve.

Windows RT doesn’t change its stance on Desktop apps. Aside from the major Microsoft Workplace apps, no others are enabled or enabled and you’ll get an abrupt error if you attempt to run one. We are unsure why Microsoft doesn’t go the entire hog with RT and bin the Desktop computer. Unless you are relocating files around or using a Workplace app, it’s pointless.

Windows 8.1 RT

The big thing in Windows 8.1 RT is that there’s now a variation of Outlook. That’s big news and a genuine perk because it actually turns RT gadgets into something that can be made use of for work – no one in their right mind would attempt and handle work email inside the standard Mail app – it’s just not up to the job.

As with the various other vital Workplace apps, this will come with all RT devices.

Windows 8.1 RT

As you can see, Outlook on the Surface looks quite empty. It appears exactly the like the Workplace 2013 version.

Windows 8.1 RT

But RT does have its troubles. The primary issue is that it’s still really sluggish. We were using an Nvidia Tegra 3-based Surface RT, but also compared to comparable Tegra 3 Android devices the OS still feels very labored. Beginning one of the Workplace apps includes a hold-up of a couple of seconds prior to you even see the splash display – making you think you haven’t tapped on it correctly.

Windows 8.1 RT

And there were some various other problems, too: the system totally hung and would not accept any gestures twice throughout our play around. We understand this is pre-release software application, but we are typing this on an Ultrabook running the full Windows 8.1 Preview and we’ve had no concerns with it because installing it 24 hours back.

Hopefully these bugs will be ironed out, and with rumors of Surface 2 running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, the speed may not be a trouble in future.

Windows 8.1 RT

Windows RT 8.1 is much more useful though – that’s the bottom line. We are not persuaded about the change in search makings searches inside apps less of a concern in favor of web searches, but the enhancements to things like the Settings app (now more like the Control Panel) are outstanding.

Windows 8.1 RT

SkyDrive is now absolutely baked into the OS – it might look like Microsoft is giving it the hard sell, but the basic truth is that cloud storage can compensate where small capacity flash drives on tablets can not.

Windows 8.1 RT

Early verdict

We like Windows 8.1 and we such as the enhancements it brings to Windows RT – particularly Outlook, which is a dealbreaker for numerous who’ve rejected Windows RT gadgets. But there are issues with speed and integrity while there continue to be essential concerns, such as whether there must be a Desktop computer in Windows RT. As an up-dates, we ‘d definitely recommend it if you’ve a Windows RT tablet, However, since you can’t roll it back, we ‘d wait for the full launch rather than installing this preview.

Windows 8.1 RT