Windows 8.1 (MSFT +0.6%) is a clear improvement over Windows 8, but doesn't completely address the complaints users have registered over the latter's UI. That seems to be the consensus for reviews of the latest version of Microsoft's PC OS, available starting today as a free upgrade to Win. 8 users.
The Verge (8.8/10) declares every built-in Windows app "has been improved," and is also fond of 8.1's personalization options, snap view features, and universal search support. But it still finds it "awkward" to navigate Microsoft's Metro UI with a keyboard and mouse.
Wired: "Should you upgrade? Yes. It’s a solid update. The people who hated Windows 8, however, likely aren’t going to be much more pleased with 8.1." PC World: "Windows 8.1 eases the transition for desktop diehards, granting PC enthusiasts the ability to shun most of the tablet-oriented bits."
There should be a decent number of reasonably-priced 8.1 tablets/convertibles this holiday season, thanks in part to Microsoft's license discounts for smaller devices. Two examples: Lenovo's $299 Miix and Acer's $330-$380 Iconia W4. Both products have 8" displays and Intel Bay Trail Atom CPUs.