With the latest windows software release, microsoft took a big leap of faith. Windows 8 is a completely new and different version of the traditional windows platform that we are all familiar with. I bought a new Lenovo U410 Ultrabook with Windows 8 installed, as it is the standard software in new PC’;s. After almost two weeks of use, here are my thoughts.
As I get into this review, I want to clarify that this is a review of the software itself, not the computer that I just purchased. I love my new laptop and I will probably write a review on it in the near future, but that isn’;t my focus for this article. That being said, I want to start off by saying that the computer plays a huge role on your Windows 8 experience. I tested out dozens of computers at best buy, so I have experienced the new software in multiple ways. I will get into some basic reccommendations later, but Windows 8 was designed for the touchscreen. My Ultrabook is not equipped with a touchscreen and I am fine with that, but after playing with some touchscreens, I really liked the concept. Now, here is what I think about it.
The first big difference that everyone notices is the overall interface. Upon startup, you quickly realize that Microsoft has targeted the basic user. Everything is so clear and simple. The setup reminds me of starting up an Apple product for the first time. Once you put in the time, date, location, and set up your microsoft account, you are taken to the start page. This is the biggest noticeable difference between past versions of Windows and Windows 8. The start page is now the center of your computing experience, and it is a fullscreen view of all of your “apps” which is also new. There is an App Store where you can download free and paid apps. The software is so new that there aren’;t many apps as of now, but there are many new ones each day. There are apps for everything, and I really like the concept. In the start screen, there are “tiles” that show your email, facebook, news, stock market, as well as anything you want to see. The customization possibilites are endless here and this really allows you to optimize your computer for the experience you need and expect.
Another note on apps here, they are fullscreen. You can access any of your apps fullscreen from the startpage. You can also multitask and use 2 or 3 apps on one screen, divided into sections. This new start pane is awesome and I love it. It is really easy to use once you get used to the new idea. Now, all this doesn’;t leave the traditional desktop out of the picture. On the desktop, you can open up the internet with the traditional window, while typing a paper or working on something else. This is the more traditional windows view and can be very useful in the new Windows 8.
No discussion of Windows 8 would be complete without mentioning hotkeys. There is a hotkey for everything, and while it may be difficult to remember them all, they prove to be pretty useful. With the click of a button, you can switch apps, close apps, bring up the internet, open a file, or any other task you may need to accomplish.
After using the new software in-depth, I am overall impressed. Initially, I hated the idea of changing everything up like Microsoft did. However, that was before I tried it out myself. The newness is something that makes it look kind of intimidating, but the simplicity of the interface makes for an easy transition. The learning curve is relatively steep, but after just a few hours, the transition is easy. Although the software is new, bugs are to be expected. As of now, I haven’;t run into any. Many processes, such as updates are automated and that makes things really easy. I really like the overall interface and I do think that this is a huge step forward for Microsoft. Windows 8 targeted the more basic user, rather than the seasoned user. I have quite a bit of experience with past versions of Windows and I found the transition to be fairly easy. It felt wierd at first, but it took me about four hours to truly get aquainted, and I am still learning new things every time I use my computer. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate the new Windows 8 experience an 8. It is simple, useful, very customizable, and I really liked it. The only thing keeping it from scoring a 9 or 10 is the learning curve, and for me, it seems too simple. For the average user, this is no big deal, but I have found it to be almost too simple for my taste. That doesn’;t take much out though, I really do love the new software and plan on using it for years to come. Microsoft really brought their game this time and I really do think that it is worth the upgrade.