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Windows 8/RT Review

I have had Windows 8 installed on my home laptop for a few months now and last week my Surface RT arrived. I thought I’d take this time to list a few things I like and hate about the whole new system.

Here’s what I love…

  • It looks sleek and fresh
  • It works well
  • Getting used to the new keyboard short-cuts takes some time, but it’s like riding a bicycle: one you know them, you never forget them. CTRL+X is a definite favourite.
  • Starting apps is easy, similar to Windows 7: Hit Start then start typing and press enter. Want PowerShell? Start -> Pow -> <Enter> done.
  • It’s integrated and synchronised, you would expect this but the way it works is just so nice and seamless. The Apple iCloud is nice, but Microsoft takes it one step further - if you use an Metro application on your tablet or phone then go and open that application on your desktop, you will be taken to the same place as where you were on your other device. Nice things like that and the obvious synchronising of files between devices by way of SkyDrive make for a happy user experience.
  • The on-screen keyboard is very easy to use and the option to use thumb-typing is very handy for those old-school texters. This only applies to touch devices, obviously…

What I don’t love…

  • The vast gap between desktop and Metro modes
  • Google Talk isn’t integrated into the Chat app
  • It would be nice if Skype-chat were integrated with the Chat app; the Skype metro app is very nice (though incomplete as file transfers aren’t supported, yet…) and it’s fine to use for video/voice calling.
  • There’s something wrong with my XBOX account and I don’t really know the best way to resolve it. One option given to me was to wipe my Surface and start again, but it wasn’t exactly clear how that would solve the issue so I’m yet to address it.
  • Live tiles aren’t updated frequently enough
  • The People app is a bit slow to update with Facebook updates
  • If I want to incorporate Tweets in the People app I must also have all the people I follow on Twitter as a contact, which can lead to over population of my contacts making it more cumbersome to find whoever I’m looking for. It would be nice to be able to see their Tweets without them showing up in my contacts. There is an option for this.