OK, so it’s second impressions really. I tried the beta out on a netbook months ago… it didn’t go well. But, betas are betas, and the hardware wasn’t really suitable… so here is your second chance Windows 8. On a simple laptop (no touchscreen).
Firstly, the start screen. I don’t like it. Why should everything have the same weight (ignoring a small adjustment on size you can make)? Where is the automatic “these are your most commonly used applications” list? Why is there no visual indicator that I can type something to search? Even Google’s homepage has a carat waiting for me to type!
The charms… almost, but not quite. Why is the top-right of the screen a hotspot, which is traditionally where the close/minimize/maximize buttons are? They just conflict with each other all of the time. And why is the power-off button so hard to find?
I like the consistency across apps. It’s nice to have a common way to access the same functionality, and we’ve seen similar moves from Android (and possibly iOS) to bring a measure of consistency across all apps. The problem Windows suffers though is that it isn’t across all applications - because Windows 8 feels like two separate OSs stuck together via a start screen. The desktop application behaviour is very different from a native app. The appearance is flatter and makes better use of the screen. Right-mouse button behaviour is different. Dragging native apps to the bottom of the screen isn’t intuitive compared to clicking a “close” button. And why if I try to uninstall a desktop application from the start screen does it take me to “Add/Remove Programs” instead of just uninstalling it like I asked?
Having said all that, the core - is in the stability - seems very good. But why no safe mode? Things can still go wrong…
Am I looking forward to Windows 8.1? Absolutely. Would I choose Windows 8 over Windows 7? No. Not yet at least.