Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium review
Strikes the right balance between features most home users will want while keeping the price affordable
Windows 7 Home Premium is the version consumers – as opposed to business users – are most likely to experience. As such, it contains new tools and options that will appeal most to home users and those who use their computers for entertainment.
Prime among these is the revamped Windows Media Center. This can still be used as a full-screen entertainment system, and can be controlled with a remote from the comfort of your sofa. It also works with Media Center Extenders, such as Logitech's Squeezebox Duet and the Xbox 360, so your PC can be your home's entertainment hub. Support has been added for DivX, XviD and H.264 file types to keep it up to date.
We’ve also been impressed by the much-improved Windows Media Player, now up to version 12. New streaming features allow you to share media not just over a home network, but over the internet. And the "Stream to" feature makes sending music to DLNA-certified players a doddle. With an intuitive interface it's a superb way to control a large MP3 and video collection.
Windows 7: The Full Review
Unlike the cut-down Starter Edition, the Windows Aero interface is fully installed, and it’s not just there to look pretty but to make using your computer more intuitive.
It’s the little touches like shaking a window to minimise all others, and the excellent desktop themes, that make it a superior environment to Vista. If you’re fortunate enough to have a touchscreen then things go a step further thanks to a full roster of multitouch features.
Biometric support is in place in Home Premium, so if your laptop has a fingerprint reader the OS can make use of it for logins and security.
More powerful features are missing, though: there's no BitLocker encryption, no remote desktop and no Windows XP Mode. Home Premium's Backup and Restore Center is restricted to local hard disk or DVD backups – more versatility is available with the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7.
So power users and tweakers should consider paying the extra, but unless you explicitly need one or more of those advanced features, most home users will still be best-served by the excellent Windows 7 Home Premium.
|Software subcategory||Operating system|
|Processor requirement||1GHz Pentium or equivalent|
Operating system support
|Other operating system support||N/A|