This is the OS that Windows 8 should have been.

Still a developer preview, Windows 8.1 has made my Surface Pro, not only usable but pleasant too. Increased performance, high DPI (aka Retina) display support with scaling, improved battery life and more consistency between Desktop and Modern UI. In the case of the later, the simple change of allowing the same desktop wallpaper in both interface removes that jarring feeling that you are using two different operating systems. Support for Desktop/Modern is also a welcome improvement.

Windows 8.1 aside, I came across two tweaks that have had a huge impact on usability, moving the recovery partition to a USB and reducing CPU performance on battery, have given me 7GB more disk space and up to 6 hours battery usage; moving the Surface Pro into (old) MacBook Air territory.

Increase disk space:

Improve battery life:

Despite my initial disgust I've even given the stylus a go and found it incredibly useful to annotate Word documents and make quick notes in Evernote.

One week ago I  thought the only use the Surface Pro would get would be the occasional UI test and fixing a wonky table leg, now I can almost see it being my everyday machine.


Andrew Gribben @grib