Windows 8 Preview
Microsoft is well aware of Windows 7's lackluster touch controls, especially in a tablet setting. The company's upcoming release of Windows 8 will address many of these issues. During its recent BUILD keynote, the company shared a slew of upcoming features along with releasing a preview version of the software. The changes between Windows 7 and 8 are too numerous to cover in this review, but we have a list here.
Naturally, with the preview build readily available, we couldn't resist installing Windows 8 on the WindPad. First impressions are good. So good in fact, I think Google and Apple should be on alert. Although this is only meant to be an early preview for developers, it feels so much more complete than that.
I already prefer Windows 8 to the latest Android and iOS operating systems as it feels polished, powerful and interactive. While opinions are bound to vary, I personally liked the Metro interface and found that switching between it and the classic Windows 7-like desktop worked seamlessly.
When using the WindPad 110W as a tablet (in-hand, sans dock and peripherals), the Metro-style Internet Explorer 10 is fantastic, occupying the entire screen. If you need to access the classic layout of IE, such as when you sit down at a dock, it's only a couple taps away in the Windows 7-esque environment.
The Metro interface works as well with a keyboard and mouse as it does by touch. The desktop mode is still a bit clumsy when using a finger and you'll still want to tweak icon and font sizes when running this mode on a slate.
However, there should be little need for tablet users to shift from the Metro interface to the classic desktop and this will become even more true as the software is refined. The developer version comes with a number of Microsoft-built applications as demos.
For example, the weather application provides up-to-date information that's visible from the Metro start menu without launching the software. That's one of Metro's coolest features. You're constantly updated with data on all your programs from the start menu, so you don't always have to open them.
Anyone following Windows 8's development will have heard about its speedy boot time and we can confirm the hype. The Metro start menu appears just moments after pressing the WindPad 110W's power button.
What's more impressive is the WindPad's multitasking abilities in Windows 8. I had to remind myself repeatedly that I was only on a tablet with a 1.0GHz dual-core AMD processor. Switching between the Metro interface and the desktop takes a mere second. Loading applications like Internet Explorer is just as fast.
The WindPad 110W also detects flash drives extremely fast in Windows 8 with almost no delay once they're plugged in. There are far too many improvements to mention in this early preview but we really liked the new task manager and the way the OS handles multiple file transfers as well as the revamped transfer window.
For now, it looks as though Microsoft is on the right track with Windows 8 and the developer preview has us even more excited about what's to come. Windows 8 can't arrive soon enough for tablets.