Perhaps the most drastic change for Microsoft since Windows 95 comes Windows 8. A metro style user interface that looks sleek, loads fast and has barely any resemblance to any Windows operating system before it… and it’s coming out tomorrow. Preordering the pro version from Amazon will get you a $30 Amazon gift card, as well as dropping the price from $200 to $70 (an unheard of discount). So get on Amazon quickly to nab your copy before the sale ends. But what should you expect? Well, the Windows 8 reviews are out and we have a few things for you to look out for while you find your way around this new operating system.
First thing you’ll notice is the lack of a desktop you are used to. You’ll immediately see the metro style interface with no start button or bar at the bottom. That kind of desktop, sans start button, is actually still there, and you can still use it. Some reviewers have said that old users should look at the metro UI as a more advance start button. Everything you’ll need is right in front of you, and the physical lack of a corner start button doesn’t actually change anything. So right away you need to rethink the way you work with Windows, and it only changes more from there.
The Metro style UI is built, mostly, for touch screens. Windows 8 ready touch screens are available, but you don’t NEED them. To go from one part of the screen to another you can simply use your mouse wheel, it works
surprisingly smooth with little effort. The buttons, a bit big for just a mouse, is something that actually works better with live updates. For example, if you have a facebook icon and your photo gallery icon, they will scroll through updates and pictures on the fly, and actually makes it look really cool. The other cool feature, which involves pictures, is that you can use pictures as your unlock screen. Lets say you had a picture of your two kids, wife and yourself. You could make the pass-code an area click, which means you click you two kids, your wife, then yourself and your screen unlocks. It’s a neat feature that actually turns your computer screen into a nice picture frame.
What is good about all this? Well, Windows 8 changes the game in one simple way, it looks the same. What I mean by that is all Microsoft devices, be it a tablet, cell phone, or computer will have the same exact looking user experience. The way they will be connecting to each other will make them feel more like one device, as oppose to several connected loosely by blue tooth. This intrigues me the most, even though I have no interest in a Windows phone, I do have interest in Windows Tablets, also known as Surface (no, not the giant LCD touch screens Microsoft was pushing a decade ago). luckily Microsoft isn’t making their connected experience exclusive. The launch of Smart Glass will allow any Apple iPhone or Android device to, at the very least, connect to your Xbox 360, a very smart move. Will limited control cause people to sell their Apple iPhone 4s for a Windows device? Maybe with more time, once the system has proved itself.
Now what about the bad? The bad thing is that it’s difficult to tell when an app is on or off right away. There is a try off to the left, which is easier to spot with a touch screen swipe, but normally you won’t even see that. You can also only have 2 independent windows open at a time in the Metro UI. On the desktop mode, you can have as many windows as you want, while the intended experience only allows 1:3 screen coverage for apps. It takes some getting used to, and it is nice that Internet Explorer, and other browser apps, still have their tabs intact. Having multiple things running at once is really where the touch screen gestures shine the most. Closing, opening, switching is all much easier with gestures. Touch screens aren’t that expensive anymore, but compared to normal LCD monitors, it is night and day.
Should you get Windows 8? Right now, today, yes 100%. The deals associated with Windows 8 right now are amazing, and if it is anything like Windows 7 release, those deals will vanish by tomorrow. After that… well it all depends on the reviews and how the experience evolves from here. If you’re buying a new PC after tomorrow, you won’t have much of a choice. But for those with Windows 7 or Vista, I would suggest waiting AT LEAST a month or two and see how everyone likes it. Even go as far to go into stores and try it out yourself.