Windows 8 In Videos: An Operating System Reimagined?

Windows 8: Our Initial Impressions

The Metro interface featured so prominently in Windows 8 is impressive in its own right. Frankly, it's the most significant UI change we've seen since the transition from Windows 3.1 to 95. This is really about bringing tighter integration to all of Microsoft's products, from smartphones to the Xbox 360. And Metro is a major step toward achieving that goal.

On a desktop, Metro feels less intuitive, if only because we're not used to it yet. In our opinion, there's a lot to like about Microsoft's design. The solid color palette and clean text reflects the company's minimalistic approach, which conveys a sense of natural usability. However, if third-party tools are any indicator of what Windows 8 is capable of, it appears that you should be able to disable the Metro UI completely and stick with a Vanilla desktop environment. (Right now, that's only possible through a third party tool called Metro UI Tweaker for Windows 8.)

Windows 8 isn't perfect, because it's not (at least not in its current pre-beta state). Microsoft is letting everyone get a peek at core functionality in its Developer Build, but we're hoping that the company makes some tweaks before it goes gold. Our biggest complaint with Metro continues to be the inability to quit apps, similar to Android. And if you're a developer, the need for a touchscreen to access the touch keyboard is going to slow down the process of checking usability. Hopefully, the Microsoft team makes the keyboard more easily accessible. It really needs momentum on the application side if it wants to fight against the incumbent Apple.

On the tablet side, 79.2% of tablet owners confirmed owning either an iPad or iPad 2 (source: IHS iSuppli 2011), and 50% of those shopping for a new tablet said they would buy an iPad 2. Google hasn't made much of a dent in the tablet market because it mistakenly launched Honeycomb without enough third-party developer support. We're eight months beyond the introduction of Honeycomb and tablet-specific apps are still fewer than 300. The figures that Google likes to cite seem more impressive because many apps are simply upconverted for a larger screen. Very few programs are designed expressly for Android tablets.

If Microsoft wants to make its mark on the smartphone and tablet scene, it needs to hit the ground running with an abundance of developer support. The company is off to a good start, but only time will tell if it has enough juice to close the gap.

  • stonedatheist
    inb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!
  • Pyree
    "Even if you don’t own a touch-enabled device, you should expect a completely unique experience."

    Uniquly bad experience if you use mouse and keyboard with Metro.

    "While this interface is clean and easy to use, Adobe Flash Player is missing, and Microsoft doesn’t plan to include it as part of the Metro interface."

    May be because it is already so much like a flash app.

    We are unhappy about the Metro app can only be closed by end process too:

    There are way too many unnecessary apps on Metro and you cannot multi select the ones you don't want to delete them, which sucks. (Or maybe I haven't work that out yet, correct me and tell me how that can be done please if I am wrong.)

    On the other hand it is light OS with low hardware requirement and boot fast:

    Compatibility with old software and driver seems good, although only very preliminary:

    IMO, it is a big mistake to have Metro activated by default. Metro is not good for device without touch at all. Since the majority of computer still use mouse and keyboard, Metro should be invisible and you turn it on with a button, as oppose to Metro is the default and you have to turn it off by using 3rd party software or going through regedit (many people don't or don't like touching the registry). MS got the GUI priority totally wrong.
  • lradunovic77
    MS got everything wrong since Windows XP. Recent news is that Windows 7 just barely took over Windows XP Market. With Windows 8 coming soon, i see Windows XP somehow to be still dominant. That tells me one thing. People do not want what MS delivers. When you take Windows XP x64 Edition vs Windows Vista/7 and soon 8. They offer nothing worth over Windows XP.

    Speaking of Metro, worst thing ever.
  • mbryans
    I love Windows 7. But Windows 8 look simple ugly and heavy.
  • whysobluepandabear
    Will this make viewing porn a more enjoyable, efficient task?
  • americanherosandwich
    I for one don't want to have to navigate by touch and have to clean up a 28" monitor screen from finger grease. Ship it with a newer and better Kinect and have it integrated into Windows 8, and they have something going.
  • Pyree
    Forgot to mention the Secure Boot "feature" implemented by window 8 whcih can potentially lock the hardware to window 8 on certified window 8 hardware. If we want the OS locked to our hardware, we have other OS to do that. Linux dual boot users won't be happy with it at all.
  • dafin0
    At first i didnt like metro but after a good few hours of use it really grows on you. i think for most people its going to be great.

    As said in this review, i dont like how you cant close apps. this makes switching from one app to another a real pain

    i think the biggest problem Win 8 will face is people not giving it a chance, sadly most people are really quick to judge and that could be its down fall
  • Pyree
    9520535 said:
    i think the biggest problem Win 8 will face is people not giving it a chance, sadly most people are really quick to judge and that could be its down fall

    I think a successful product is one where it convince people quickly and will like it, not one where you actually have to use it for a long time to get used to a product by adjusting your habit. I give credit for Fruit company being able to achieve that (although their product doesn't work for me). W7 was easy to like, but after trying window 8, I am still not convinced. It is just too much of a change to have Metro showing up when you click window start and that change doesn't let you to be more productive/provide better ease of use with mouse and keyboard. I know it can be disabled, but the priority is wrong. Metro is a feature which you enable on touch device, not a feature where you have to disable on mouse and keyboard. Hopefully MS can change that order. Metro can stay, it is useful in some case. I will disable it because I don't have the hardware to take advantage of it.
  • jdwii
    People who used computers for 10 years will hate 8 so much on a laptop and a desktop. I hope Microsoft lets us change 8 to look like 7 unless i'm not buying it. Why can't Microsoft just make a faster smaller more secure windows why do they have to change. Make a W8 lite edition and bring it to the tablets but don't make windows 8 look like media center.