Maybe review is too ambitious of a word, so let’s think of this as more of a first impression. I have been using Windows 8 Consumer Preview for a couple of weeks now and I think I have finally gathered a statistically significant number of observations to share. Here they are in no particular order:
- Soft keyboard – definitely Like. I tried it in several layouts and as far as soft keyboards go, it definitely works for me. It doesn’t do as good a job of word prediction as the Swiftkey keyboard on my Android phone, but I do like the Insert key that pops up next to the space bar that makes it easier to insert the suggested word with less travel for your fingers
- Stability – a lot better than the Developer Preview. I have not seen a single Blue Screen of Death yet (BSOD). The OS however is clearly not very stable yet, with a lot of minor but annoying issues around pretty much every aspect of the experience. The amazing boot up speed of the device alleviates a lot of the annoyance since most issues go away after I toggle the power button
- Boot up time is very short, only two or three deep breaths away
- App launcher, Metro skin, not sure war the proper name is yet… very functional, live tiles are cool but, to me they are more of a gimmick than anything
- Navigation – love it. I have been a long time iPad and Android user and I have to say that now I get frustrated when I use those devices and I have to switch from one application to another or access additional options and properties. Probably the best combination of BlackBerry, Web OS, and the aforementioned two operating systems to date. Few stability issues aside, I have to say that Microsoft nailed this
- Touch friendliness – almost there, but few times I did wish for a little crispier design
- Office runs great, as do all of my other applications that I use on a day to day bases.
- Internet Explorer 10 – the jury is still out on that. I like the UI overall. The browser plays some videos, doesn’t support flash, supports Silverlight I think, but frankly every now and then I had open an instance of the Internet Explorer from the desktop tile as it has all the standard IE9 features. Google music site did not work right in either which was very frustrating, hopefully it will be optimized for them soon
Overall, I am definitely impressed and do like the tablet with Windows 8 on it a lot more than the custom skin that it came with on top of Windows 7. I can finally see myself carrying just two devices (tablet and phone) in the future, down from four that I routinely travel with today.