In the previous days I have installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my ExoPC tablet. I’ve had the time to play around with it for several hours so in this post I’ll explain how the new OS is doing.
Above all, it’s great. It has its downsides, but it works and it works fine. I don’t want to compare it to iPads and Android tablets and phones, I’d rather just make a review of how useful it is and what needs to be done to make it even more useful. I’ll leave to you if Windows 8 is better or worse than iPad or Android or ______ (fill in your favorite tablet OS). I guess the answer will depend on personal preferences when the final version will be released and pre-installed hardware made available.
So here are the big picture things that make Windows 8 great:
- It’s still Windows. Even if it can be Metro and wants to be Metro and is Metro when you run it, Windows is only one click away. And with that all the software. A great plus. Actually, as I write in a related post, this combination might have a very bright future.
- It’s not slow at all (for Windows). Boot time is acceptable (between 6 and 12 seconds on my tablet, I still don’t know why such a difference in my tests) and when it’s done it’s fast. Even when running several programs together it didn’t slow down (I tried that before I learnt that a long swipe down is used to close programs in Metro under Windows 8).
- Localization: I haven’t seen a first-version-tablet that would have so many languages, keyboard layouts, correct characters… Microsoft proved here that they care about non-English users, too.
- Most of the software you have on your computer will run on tablet, too. In desktop mode, but do you really care?
The things that need some more work are small and might happen only on my system (some of them for sure). I hope they get fixed or added before the final version. Here they are:
- The on-screen keyboard doesn’t appear in desktop mode (I have to click the icon). In Metro mode, however, it shows and hides like it should.
- On my tablet screen orientation doesn’t change when tilted; I’ve read that it’s a missing driver for the g-sensor in ExoPC.
- There are not many apps for Metro.
- The Youtube player in Metro IE stops playing when I switch apps or to desktop view. The desktop IE, however, plays normally even when it’s not active.
- There is no Flash plugin in Metro IE so Flash doesn’t work under Metro IE. It works in desktop IE.
- Store was not available yesterday for a short time.
- “Pinball FX2” app doesn’t work for me. It just exists after a few seconds after I run it.
- “Weather” app shows temperature only in Fahrenheit.
As you can see the bad things are really small and are connected to specific apps and not to the system.
Please note that I have tested Win8 only on one tablet and that it’s not even a beta, so many things can change before you’ll be able to buy it (and hopefully, they will change).