Editorial – 2 weeks using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview – My experience so far
So it’s been 2 weeks since I loaded the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my PC and my Windows 8 Tablet (ExoPC) and I wanted to take stock of what I am feeling about the experience in real time.
In addition, there was a collision of necessity and opportunity because I sold my iPad 2 last week. This freed me from any external Apple Tablet mojo for the past week or so.
So, how is Windows 8 testing going for me?
I’ll be honest, not so good.
Windows 8 on my Desktop
I find myself using my Windows 8 PC just for screenshots and exploration. There isn’t one thing on there that has (even slightly) tempted me to make the switch over and live in that environment.
I am writing this blog post on Windows 7 and I have to tell you, the more I think about it, I REALLY love Windows 7. I’m starting to see the beginnings of a Windows XP-like mass refusal to move over.
I have asked myself whether it’s because the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is still rough and incomplete.
I just really don’t care for Metro on the desktop especially since I don’t have and don’t want a Touch Monitor.
I’ll keep testing but I’m pretty sure that as long as Metro is part of the package, I’ll prefer to stick with Windows 7.
Windows 8 on my ExoPC Slate
This is where it gets tricky and this is where (I predict) Microsoft will have a lot of problems.
I am not sure how I feel about Windows 8 on my ExoPC slate because I am not sure who’s responsible for the problems I am having.
Is it the Beta Software or the “slow” Tablet?
After 2 weeks of using this, I am absolutely certain that performance will be one of the main problems for the average consumer.
- The slate feels sluggish a lot – Is that Windows or the ExoPC?
- The desktop does not rotate when I hold the screen vertically (portrait) – Windows 8 is the culprit (it worked fine when the ExoPC had Windows 7)
- The Tiles are sometimes slow to load
- Sometimes it just won’t swipe when I need it to (5 second delays – ???)
- It doesn’t feel great in my hands – feels very bulky
- It feels heavier than the iPad (even though it isn’t)
- Not very precise fingertip recognition (MSFT or ExoPC??)
- Still not very intuitive
- Doesn’t feel snappy – ready to go
For a while, I thought the issues I was having were because my ExoPC was underpowered BUT here are the specs:
- CPU / Processor Intel Atom Pineview-M N450, 1.66 GHz (supports 64-bit)
- Storage Capacity 32 Gigabyte or 64 Gigabyte Solid State Drive (SSD)
- Memory 2 Gigabytes DDR2 SDRAM
This should be more than enough for Windows 8.
This tablet is heavier than an iPad 2, slower, less responsive and
more almost as expensive. Luckily I got this one for $399 from the Microsoft store during one of their quarterly sales discounts.
While writing this article, I realized why the Windows 8 Tablet wasn’t really turning me on.
You see, the big draw for me with the iPad is the fact that it’s almost always on and ready. Like a physical magazine, using an iPad, my content always feels like it’s just a swipe away.
On the Windows 8 Tablet, it doesn’t feel that way. Ironically, that’s partly because I have a “Windows Account”. I subconsciously associate that login process with a PC or a laptop where you have to login, wait and be authenticated before you have access.
I realize that this is unfair because in practice, it’s really not that slow. The problem is, I consciously think about whether I want to use the Windows 8 Tablet if I’m sitting on a couch in front of my TV - I don’t reach for it instinctively.
Apple has spoiled me, I’ll happily admit it. I want my Tablet to be always on and one swipe away from what I want.
The Bottom Line
I’m not sure where Microsoft are in the development cycle but I’m not seeing the gold dust yet.
If this is 30 to 40% done, this is excellent and I look forward to the next 60%. If this is 90% done, this will not be good. It just feels like it’s really really not done.
The OS feels like it’s more of a statement of direction with 2 or 3 more rounds of previews and major code reviews to come.
I think there need to be MAJOR refinements made to this OS before people like me can get behind this.
I’ll continue to soldier on and see if my mind changes with time but it really doesn’t help that my new iPad arrives this Friday.
Enough about me – what about you guys and girls? How’s the Windows 8 testing going so far?
Leave me some comments below …