Windows 8 Consumer Preview : In-Depth Review

Here is one more addition to my Article Series of Windows 8 and today I’m here with my review about the all new Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I’ve been using it since the day it was launched i.e 3 days back at MWC 2012 and it has been a test having mixed opinions and experience. So, in this article I’ll be covering my personal thoughts about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I hope you like it!

Before I proceed to my own opinion, I would like you to learn some basics about how to use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview metro interface because at first, it is not an easy interface to get used to. So, below is the video by Engadget explaining basic features of Windows 8 and if not yet, you can download windows 8 consumer preview and install it.

Fine, so I hope you’ve watched the video and ready to carry on with the viewpoints. Below is my personal observation and experience using the Windows 8 Consumer preview.

1. Start menu

windows 8 start screen

Actually, there is no start menu. There is a metro style new user interface which to me looks a bit odd. With the new version of windows, Microsoft has killed the old start button and unfortunately, there is no way to get it back. You’ll have to press the start button on your keyboard or move your mouse cursor to lower right and click to get the Start screen which will contain all your applications. The funny thing with me was that I had to google “how to shutdown windows 8” just because I was not able to find where the shutdown button was 😛 You can have a look at Windows 8 Keyboard shortcuts and here’s from where you can Disable Metro UI style for Windows 8. My rating : 2.5/5.

2. Settings

The new settings page is a bit complicated and a bit difficult to locate as well. You need to right click on the screen and then click on “all apps” and it’ll give you a list of more apps from which you can find out which setting you need to go to. Difficult for me, personally. My ratings : 2/5.

3. Music Player
Windows 8 music player

The interface of the new music player is quite cool and it’s integration with the music store is seamless as well. The quality, the response time, everything works perfectly. The negatives is that it is having a bit of heavy interface and animation which doesn’t simplify the experience. My ratings : 3/5.

4. Apps and App Store

Windows 8 app store

The windows 8 has been built taking tablets in mind and in future, this OS will be available for tablets as well. In the current market, there is a boom for a dedicated app store for OS and taking a step ahead, windows has integrated their own app store into Windows 8 Desktop version as well. Though there are not much app available yet, the app interface is quite a good looking. The thing to be noticed here is that every application will open maximized which might not be helpful to those who work keeping 2-3 windows at a time. It feels like Windows 8 wants you to run everything maximized, and that is going to be a problem for heavy multi-taskers who are used to a traditional windowed environment. Note that, the application switcher is a cool thing which you must have seen in the video above. My ratings : 4/5.

5. X-Box Integration

Windows 8 xbox integration

Xbox Live is one of the most prominent pins in the new Start menu. The integration with X-box live allows user to synchronize everything between their xBox and their Windows PC. Once logged in, you can browse through your recently played, purchased games and you can instantly launch them and even start playing. The interface is a bit of sluggish plus the controls are limited to up/down/right/left. My ratings : 2.5/5.

6. SkyDrive

Windows 8 skydrive

This is a big plus point. SkyDrive makes uploading and downloading files from one machine to another very easy. SkyDrive was launched in 2007 before the iCloud and with Windows 8, it has got a seamless integration. It surely adds an advantage to Windows 8. User can directly upload their files to SkyDrive and it’ll be saved in cloud. My Ratings : 4/5.

7. The Explorer

When you go to the desktop in Windows 8, you can take a look at the new explorer with a bit of an interface change and nothing more in it actually. The functionality is all the same as before. Not much impressed with it. My ratings : 3/5.

Overall Experience
“Not so awesome” is the line you’ll think after spending some time with the new Windows 8. The interface is something which will need some time of yours to get used to unlike the previous versions. To me, it is somewhat needs at least an intermediate level to get used to it soon. Normal users who’ve no idea about latest OS and interfaces should remain with their current OS itself will be my recommendation as of now. The interface in the consumer preview will remain the same even in the final release as I’ve got some news. My Overall experience rating : 2/5.

Final Answers

Should you download? yes. (just for the testing purpose)
Will I recommend it for a longer use? Probably No. (as of now)

To add more to the above answers, I would say : Although it has a bit of complicated interface but once you get used to it, it is a pretty good OS to use. To me, it looks as if it is mainly built keeping tablets in mind and for the native Desktop users, they are surely going to face a bit of difficulty having that old “ease of use”.

That was my complete in-depth review of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Did I miss anything? Do you have any words to share? Word of appreciation?

Interesting Read : Mac OS X Mountain Lion Review.

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  • Well written! The Music Player is what really rocked the interface. Though the Music Store integration is buggy and doesn't always work.

  • Looks interesting.

    I wanted to download this but I have loads data in two non-Windows drives and just 20GB space in Windows drive.

    I am not sure if my system would support it properly.

  • Quite Detailed review Rahul, I haven't yet downloaded this Beta version due to slow speed connections but waiting to get hands on it soon. Did you do a fresh install or dual boot?

    • I didn't do a fresh install, neither a dual boot. I installed it via VMWare with high configuration as dual core, 2 GB RAM so that it doesn't hang when I test and when I go through its features. It didn't hang maybe because I had no other files than the system defaults.

  • Hi Rahul,

    Thanks for your lovely in-depth review. Appreciate every bit of it as it saved me the trouble of downloading and disappointment. I would love to get my hands on to it just to experience but nah not onto my laptop. Though it looks complicated I'm sure its not , it's just something unordinory from the windows legacy. But I would like to stick with my good old windows 7 atleast for now.

    A fantastic review from you. Thanks again.

    • It's a pleasure writing a review and yes, it is definitely something very different from Windows but as it is mostly aimed for tablets just like their Windows phone 7 OS for mobiles having tile UI, I would surely doubt if this works for PC as well. We got to wait and watch for the regular users' review about it :)

  • Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. It helped me gain a lot of info.

  • I'm using it on my laptop. And loving it very much. I think, it'd have been much better if you'd have decreased the brightness after increasing.

    Great review!

  • Nice review.

    My take, I think consumers are going to like it when they get use to it. I installed it on my 5 year old desktop. In the beginning it was slow and confusing. I kept wandering how to get to my office app and how to close apps and shut down the computer. I just keep playing with it and now that I got hands on it. I do not think I want to go back to the regular windows 7. This is so fast and more fun to use. For a preview version I was expecting worse.

  • very nice and well written article

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