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Windows 8’s official release date is October 26, but just a few days ago, early copies of Windows 8 were released to a large number of industry insiders, including developers and several journalists. That means that Windows 8 reviews are starting to appear online, and so far, they seem to be fairly positive.
This copy of Windows 8 is called Windows 8 RTM (Released to Manufacturing), which is essentially the final release build of Windows 8. Microsoft is expected to make some final tweaks to the operating system – particularly the apps and the app store – but other than that, this is the final copy of Windows 8.
Interestingly enough, it seems like many of the early Windows 8 reviewers installed the new operating system with some trepidation. A large number of the reviews started with a negative bias before appearing to be convinced by the Windows 8 interface. For example, Preston Gralla from Computer World says that the Windows 8 interface is “easier to navigate than I’d feared.”
So what do these earlier reviewers think? Here’s a collection of quotes from around the internet so far:
“Incredibly innovative, incredibly important, not quite incredible” – Kyle Wagner, Gizmodo
“Log-in and boot times are fast, the apps look gorgeous…Windows 8 embraces the future wholeheartedly.” – CNet
“Highly usable….the final release is noticeably more responsive with the touchpad and mouse with the pre-release versions.” – PCWorld
“The learning curve is steep…in-app navigation isn’t obvious.” – CNet
“Old habits die hard. Prepare to retrain your brain when you start using Windows 8.” – WPTV
“A bigger annoyance, to my mind, is just how eagerly Microsoft seems to want to collect your money after you install Windows 8.” – PCWorld, in reference to the numerous times Windows 8 prompts you to buy music, movies, and games from its marketplace.
So to sum up these reviews, it appears that most people feel the operating system is better than expected, but it’s not going to revolutionize the face of computing as we know it. Still, Windows 8 has faced renewed criticism over the last few months from those in the industry – like Gabe Newell – and it appears to have defeated these criticisms to become a decent operating system.
So far, the main complaints seem to revolve around a steep learning curve – particularly for those who have used Windows operating systems for their entire lives. Instead of the Windows key opening the Start menu, for example, it takes users to the main Windows 8 interface screen.
Another complaint comes from a surprising source: Microsoft appears to be using Windows 8 as a monetization platform. This isn’t really a surprise to those who have tracked the development cycle of Windows 8, but it is a bit of a shock to experienced Windows users – especially those who have already paid hundreds of dollars to Microsoft when purchasing operating systems over the years.
What does the Fix My PC Free blog think?
While we haven’t tried out Windows 8 yet, we agree with most of the reviews we’ve read so far: all of the complaints are relatively minor and easy to avoid. For example, the re-learning process can be completed in just a few hours, and once experienced Microsoft users have learned how to use the new operating system, its usability truly becomes noticeable.
And in terms of the in-your-face monetization, we argue that Microsoft is running a business, not a charity. With Windows 8 upgrades available for just $39.99, Microsoft isn’t forcing you to invest a lot into the operating system, and you don’t have to buy any music, movies, or games if you don’t want to.
Once people start using tablets like the Microsoft Surface – something that was designed solely for Windows 8 – we believe users will start to catch on. While Windows 8 might be just an average operating system for desktops, it has been built from the ground-up with the mobile space in mind, and until we start to see Windows 8 tablets appear on the market, it will be tough to judge just how revolutionary this new operating system could be.