The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is here, already it has surpassed 1 million downloads and so far, many PC users came out to defend Microsoft brave efforts, while others are taking turns to slam the OS for its revolutionary Metro User Interface. If you are still on the fence, still wondering whether or not you should take the plunge and download Windows 8 for a quick spin, we might be able to help you decide a little bit easier.
Since its release, we’ve been using Windows 8 on a daily basis via a Dell Inspiron Duo, a device that is both a netbook and a tablet in one. Since this is Beta software, everything doesn’t work accordingly as expected, but despite the little quirks that we have come across, Windows 8 is great. The Live Tiles we came to love from Windows Phone 7 are present, but they are more customizable and a lot more useful than what is found on Windows Phone. This should be a sign to Windows Phone 7 fans that Tile customization will come.
Without further delay, let’s take a look at what Windows 8 has to offer users when it is out as a retail product this year, 2012.
This feature surprised us; it is one of the better Windows 8 features. Charms is a toolbar hidden on the right side of your screen, this toolbar houses the search, share, start, devices, and settings buttons. To get to the Charm bar, just slimly hover your mouse pointer at the right, or if you have a touchscreen, swipe from the right of the display. The share option does not work on the desktop, only with Metro applications, which is a real shame.
Internet Explorer 10 Metro:
No one likes the current version of Internet Explorer (IE9), it’s clunky and does not follow web standards very well. Surprisingly, this is not the case with Internet Explorer 10 Metro application. The Metro version of IE10 looks slick and was designed with touch in mind. We found it a pleasure to use, and even at one point we were using it none stop despite having Google Chrome installed. For those who are seeking Flash video playback, you are out of luck. Internet Explorer 10 Metro only supports HTML5 for video on the web, which is not a bad thing since Flash has always been a buggy mess.
Microsoft as of late has been focusing a lot on its cloud efforts with SkyDrive, now the company is taking things one step further by integrating SkyDrive into Windows 8. The SkyDrive application is what you would come to expect, easy to use, fast, and 25GB free storage. With the ability to sync files on your desktop with SkyDrive on the web, it is difficult not to check this out.
Metro User Interface:
Metro is easily the main attraction on Windows 8, it is the sole thing that sets the OS apart from other competing Operating Systems. Some will love it, some will hate it, but it doesn’t matter much since Metro style is being rolled out on to every Microsoft service online and offline. Metro is designed for touch, if you do not have a touchscreen monitor or laptop, you will not get the full on experience. The keyboard and mouse gestures are good, but using a mouse on an interface that is designed for touch is not an easy task.
So the question remains, should you download it? Put it like this, if you have a touch capable device, then you would be missing out on a great beta product. If you do not have touch, there is not truly much to see here apart from Metro and its applications. We love Windows 8, but it feels like an OS built for touch, whereas keyboard and mouse support feels forced.