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Windows RT review

Windows RT is Windows 8 with restrictions

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Our Verdict


  • Best multitasking of any tablet OS
  • Metro UI perfect for touchscreen
  • Skydrive and Microsoft account form seamless ecosystem
  • Designed for great battery life
  • Includes the best of Office 2013


  • Relies on Desktop, but no Windows 7 software support
  • Flash works on only a handful of sites
  • Underdeveloped app store
  • Cut off at the knees compared to Windows 8
  • Video and music prices are not competitive

The world of apps on Windows RT is something of a mixed bag. On one hand, you get a suite of the most useful Office 2013 products with your purchase price. Then you've got the access to the Windows Store's limited selection apps. While entertainment stalwarts like Netflix and Hulu Plus have arrived, social networking giants like Twitter and Facebook have yet to launch official apps. There are some capable third-party workarounds, though.

The list is growing though, Evernote, eBay, StumbleUpon, Pandora, Skitch,, and Slacker Radio have all since joined the ranks.

Windows RT review

There's also a surprisingly limited selection of games, surprising because this is Microsoft, the company that's currently ruling the living room with the Xbox 360. The games available for Windows RT are all overly familiar cellphone titles like Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride and Cut the Rope. At least Windows RT supports Smartglass, so your tablet can assist as you play some Halo 4 or Madden 2013.

Windows RT review


If Windows RT has one bundled advantage over Windows 8, it's the inclusion of Office 2013 products. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote are all included on RT devices. These applications start in preview mode, but a quick online sync will unlock the full versions.

Windows RT review

Despite looking totally "Metro"-fied, these apps all run from the Desktop. That means that selecting their Live Tiles will dump you into the old-school Windows view. It makes for a jarring bit of time travel.

Windows RT review

The programs themselves have been nicely reworked for use with a touch interface. But for resizing and minimizing the windows, you'll want to bust out a cursor, either through mouse or touchpad.

Windows RT review

The apps look great though, especially Powerpoint. While your audience may still nod off like narcoleptics at a midnight meeting, you'll enjoy the snazzy looking interface as you put your presentation together.

Windows RT review

Best of all, it's easy to save files to the 7GB of Skydrive space included with your purchase. The option is right there when you access "Save as." This way, you'll have no trouble getting to your files on another PC or Windows Phone 8 device.

Windows RT review

The multitasking capabilities of Windows RT helps products like Windows Surface RT make good on the promise of productivity. Additionally, the included suite of Office 2013 programs add to their value. Productivity is all well and good, but what about fun distractions?

There's a considerable lack of games and social networking apps for Windows RT. Unless you want to play Angry Birds again, or learn a third-party Twitter program you'll probably ditch once the real thing comes out, Windows RT leaves a lot to be desired. At least you won't be tempted to fritter away cash on impulse app purchases.