Windows RT review

Windows RT is Windows 8 with restrictions

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Lacking support for Windows 7 programs and available only when pre-installed on mobile devices like the Microsoft Surface, Windows RT is not Windows 8.

While its destined to forever live in its big brother's shadow, it's not without a few advantages of its own.

We liked

As far as looks and general interface go, Windows RT includes the best of Windows 8. The "Metro" Start start screen looks great and does wonders with a touchscreen. Live Tiles are an awesome cross-breed of icons and widgets, and the multitasking and split screen features make it the first legitimately fun OS in a long time.

Windows RT review

It's built to support the tremendous battery life mobile devices need to be considered top-tier. With the Microsoft Surface running Windows RT clocking in at seven-an- a-half hours before needing a charge, there's reason to be impressed.

The inclusion of Office 2013 products makes it something of a value purchase, and fulfills the promise of a tablet OS built for productivity. Not only do the programs look great, but also Skydrive makes Windows more seamless than its ever been.

We disliked

Microsoft, why does Windows RT have a desktop? It's clumsy, and formatted poorly for small screens and touch interfaces alike. And why make essential applications like Control Panel and all the Office programs run exclusively from it? If legacy programs are not supported then don't tease us with the site of the familiar and beloved desktop.

Windows RT review

And why be so picky about which sites can run Flash? You could have gotten away with just banning it outright - iOS 6 and Android do the same. Now there's some sort of confusing mobile web elitism in the air, and it's just going to befuddle the casual users Windows RT seems destined to appeal to.

Then there's the app store. Yes, we know it was just launched, but no Facebook or Twitter apps? The Messaging center is not good enough to replace the two most popular social networks on the planet. That's a glaring absence. Whoever is dragging their feet on that one needs a serious hot foot.

Finally, some of the movie prices are just ridiculous. Microsoft, you could get away with that three years ago on the Xbox 360 when PlayStation 3 and the Wii were late to the media center game, but now that Amazon is ruling the roost with iTunes running a close second, you need to step up your game to compete.


Windows RT might be kneecapped, but it's also affordable. Anyone who's considering an RT device like the Microsoft Surface or Asus Vivo Tab RT should think long and hard about whether their money would be better spent on an full-blown Windows 8 device, like the excellent Asus VivoBook S200 or the capable Lenovo Ideapad Yoga.

That doesn't mean it should be avoided though. The new Live Tile interface is awesome for tablets, and genuinely fun to use. Just makes sure you know what you're getting into, which is more of tablet than a full blown PC, no matter what that fancy fold-out keyboard tells you.