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|CNET rating: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 best|
| The good: Painless installation; autoreconnect feature restores dropped connections; tons of broadband content; includes more ways to connect with people online; easier e-mail management. |
The bad: Cluttered interface; lots of ads; poor tech support; expensive dial-up service.
The bottom line: Despite claims to the contrary, AOL 8.0 is just another minor upgrade, with a slightly slicker interface and smarter e-mail tools. Pick MSN 8.0 for better e-mail filters, stability, and tech support.
Judging by the recent statements of AOL executives, you'd think that version 8.0 was designed solely to lead the troubled online giant out of the pit of public scandal and private discontent. But the latest version's improvements are essentially cosmetic, and some promised customization features aren't available yet. Yes, AOL 8.0 does offer a slicker look and better e-mail tools than version 7.0, as well as scads of new broadband content. You should certainly upgrade from earlier versions, posthaste. But we prefer the cheaper and more reliable MSN 8.0 for its stronger e-mail filters and much more streamlined interface. New users and even unhappy AOL users should knock on Microsoft's door instead. |
In light of AOL's performance against its primary competitor, MSN 8.0, we have reconsidered our original 7 out of 10 rating and downgraded AOL to a 6. Please see the updated text for direct comparisons.
|Software requirements and specs:|
|Disk space:||Up to 208MB|
|Display requirements:||VGA, SVGA or better display, with 640x480, 256 colors or better screen (optimized for 800x600)|
|Downloadable full version:||Yes|
Dan Tynan is a frequent contributor to CNET Internet Services and the author of the regular column Inside @ccess. Got a question for him? We'll pass it on!