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Posts Tagged ‘ Windows 8 ’

Windows 8.1 Update 1: hands-on preview

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

W81

A pre-release build of the latest update to Windows 8 has leaked online, giving us the opportunity to try it out ahead of its anticipated release in March or April.

This isn’t the “Threshold” update that’s been in the news lately: that’s not expected to arrive until next year. Threshold will reportedly bring major changes to the OS, including the return of the Start menu; it will probably be dubbed Windows 9, and could well be a paid-for upgrade.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is expected to be a free download for all users, but it still represents a significant step forward for Windows. The leaked code is dated 14 January 2014, so there’s still time for a few more changes to be made before release, but what’s here is enough to give us a good idea of what the update will bring.

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Windows 9: what changes would you make to Windows 8?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Windows81

Windows 8 has been much criticised — with a lot of the complaining coming from our podcast. While some of the grievances levelled at the OS, such as the focus on Metro at the expense of desktop users, are fair, suggestions that Windows 8 is the new Vista may be taking it a bit too far.

Microsoft has made a few improvements in Windows 8.1, with more planned for its next update, and Windows 9 is widely expected to be discussed at Build in April — and to arrive as early as next year, as Microsoft hopes to ditch the 8 brand and get a fresh start. (So maybe it is the new Vista, then?)

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Acer Iconia W4 review: first look

Monday, January 6th, 2014

DSC05609

Acer debuted its new range of budget tablets at a pre-CES briefing today, giving us a chance to get our hands on the Acer Iconia W4-820 – an aggressively priced update to the deeply underwhelming Iconia W3 we reviewed last year.

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Stupid Windows 8.1 tricks (or how not to upgrade your PC’s hard disk)

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Business laptops 428There has been a bit of a burst of action lately with engineer’s utility updates. No, come back! This is important.

You may think that “engineers” are a vanishing species and it’s all about just unwrapping the latest Chromebook, which will immediately solve every computing problem you ever had, but it’s not: despite the dire forecasts of the death of the PC, other forces are at work, including both the growing demand for data storage and the relentless pace of hardware improvements.

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Painless Windows Updates: the great lie of Windows 8

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Hands on head

I’ve just sat here doing nothing for 20 minutes in the busiest part of my day. Why? Because of Windows sodding Update.

I was there at the Build conference in 2011 when Microsoft promised the problem of Windows Update interrupting your work day would be a thing of the past with Windows 8. The rotten, stinking liars.

Windows Update has, if anything, got worse. True, it no longer nags you from the System Tray when there are new updates to install. Now the warning is far too subtly placed on the Settings panel that I barely ever open.

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Farewell to the Windows Experience Index

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Windows Experience Index in Windows 8

When the Windows 8.1 Preview appeared back in June, a few sharp-eyed souls noticed that the Windows Experience Index (WEI) – introduced in Windows Vista – had quietly vanished. Now we can see that it’s not in the RTM either. After seven years, it looks like Windows’ built-in benchmark has finally been laid to rest.

The idea behind the WEI, as originally implemented in 2006, wasn’t a bad one. After five years of XP, it provided a handy, albeit rough, guide to the hardware demands of Microsoft’s next-generation OS. A still-live page on the Microsoft website helpfully explains that Vista systems scoring 1.0 to 1.9 will support “business programs, web browsers and email programs”, with performance and graphical capabilities improving as you move up the scale.

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Windows 8 on an Android tablet. Wait, what?

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Pipo tablet

Novatech is currently working with Chinese manufacturers to find a white-label Windows 8 tablet it can sell under its own brand. It hasn’t been an easy task, and as yet the British PC maker hasn’t found one it’s happy to put it’s name to.

Novatech has tested dozens of white-label tablets so far, few meeting the grade for build quality or features, but the one on tester Steve Kerrin’s table when I visited the company’s factory was certainly intriguing: an Android tablet running Windows 8.

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Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus review: first look

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Samsung Ativ 9 Book Plus

With the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, Samsung looks to be taking the Ultrabook form factor to the next level.

It’s essentially a slight redesign of the handsome Samsung Series 9 900X3D laptop we recently reviewed. The chassis is a combination of brushed, dark silver aluminium,  measuring a mere 13.6mm thick when the sturdy lid is closed, and weighing a reasonable 1.39kg. Samsung has added a Kensington lock slot on the rear right hand side, but that’s the only noticeable physical difference.

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Samsung ATIV Q review: first look

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Samsung Ativ Q

Some companies are into their second generation of Windows 8 hybrid laptops, but the Samsung Ativ Q is the first we’ve seen from the Korean consumer electronics giant. It’s quite the debut, however, introducing the first better-than-Retina 3,200 x 1,800 resolution display we’ve seen on any mobile device, and dual-Windows 8/Android compatibility.

Physically, the Ativ Q cuts a familiar dash: its touchscreen display measures 13.3in across, so it’s quite a large device, and it has a mid-mounted screen hinge that allows the Ativ to be used in a number of different configurations.

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Acer Aspire P3 review: first look

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Acer Aspire P3

The Acer Aspire P3, launched at a glitzy New York press event in New York, wants desperately to be a rival to the Microsoft Surface. At first glance it looks like it could be: it has a keyboard cover, just like the Surface, and that cover can be folded over so you can use it  as a tablet or prop it up at an angle for use in laptop mode.

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