Hands-on with Windows 8.1 Preview: Windows 8 done right

Late last month, Microsoft announced a raft of interface changes that Windows 8.1 would introduce. We’ve been giving them a spin.

As you might guess from the name, Windows 8.1 is an update to, and improvement on, Windows 8. The new user interface introduced in that operating system—the Start screen, touch-friendly “Modern” apps, the charms bar—is retained in Windows 8.1. What we see is a refinement and streamlining of these concepts.

The new Start screen is a pleasing evolution of the old one.

The differences are visible as soon as you log in. In 8.1, the Start screen offers a lot more flexibility over layout and tile sizing. By default, the Weather tile takes advantage of this, using a new double-height tile size to show the forecasts for both today and tomorrow, in addition to the current conditions.

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