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Group test: what's the best operating system?

The best OSes for PC, smartphone or tablet

PC Advisor reviews the best operating systems.

5. openSUSE 11.3

All in all, we've found that openSUSE 11.3 is, once more, a great Linux distribution. While we know free-software purists won't care for its use of Mono and parent company Novell's friendly relations with Microsoft, if you can past that, you'll find a truly excellent Linux desktop.

4. Microsoft Windows 7

Should you get Windows 7? Waiting a bit before making the leap makes sense; waiting forever does not. Microsoft took far too long to come up with a satisfactory replacement for Windows XP. But whether you choose to install Windows 7 on your current systems or get it on the next new PC you buy, you'll find that it's the unassuming, thoroughly practical upgrade you've been waiting for - flaws and all.

3. Google Android 2.3

Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread isn't as big an update as Froyo was, but you'll find some useful new features and nifty enhancements.

2. Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

The look and feel of Ubuntu gets closer to Mac OS X with each release — and with it, some of Apple’s ‘just works’ capabilities too. It’s for this increased simplicity of operation and more intuitive and friendly interfacing with the user that Ubuntu Linux 10.10 Maverick Meerkat should find much wider appeal. There’s an audience that is resisting the higher entry price of the Macintosh and is tired of the insecurity of Windows, for whom the Meerkat offers a real third way.

1. Apple iOS 4.2 for iPhone

For iPhone users, iOS 4.2 is a nice-to-have rather than a must-have update. Find My iPhone is the most useful of the new features, and for those who are security-minded, it's a welcome addition. Searching for text on a website is useful, although the feature could be improved. And AirPrint sounds useful in theory, but because it currently works with so few printers, only a few iPhone owners will find it useful for now.

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