7 days with a Windows 8 tablet: Not quite the best of both worlds

I bought the first iPad and it has been my casual-use device ever since. I take it on my backpacking adventures, on business trips, heck, I even take it to bed (much to the dismay of my better half) to read news, beam favorite shows to the Apple TV or just to chat with friends. It is truly a personal device and it usually goes where I go. Its downfall, however, is that it's a pure consumption device. Good for one task at a time.

Enter Microsoft's new Windows 8. The premise: Combine a full-blown desktop OS with a modern touch-interface (Metro) and have the best of both worlds. I took the plunge with the Samsung Series 7 tablet that Microsoft handed out as a loaner device at TechEd in Amsterdam:

[ Also in this series: 7 days in the cloud: My week with the Samsung Chromebook and 7 days using only keyboard shortcuts: No mouse, no trackpad, no problem? ]


So the prospect of Windows on a tablet seemed intriguing. Having both the full compatibility and power of a desktop OS combined with modern apps is what I was looking for. But does it really deliver? Let's find out.

Day 1. Installation and software compatibility: Flawless (almost).

I've got a standard set of around 80-100 Windows applications (Office 2010, Live Essentials, WinRAR, Adobe Reader, TeamViewer, a set of Benchmarks, etc.) that I install and need on every one of my Windows PCs and laptops. And, as usual, I installed them one by one. What surprised me, however, is how problem-free everything went. Even the long abandoned Ulead PhotoImpact X3, which I still use and love and which wasn't even developed for Windows 7. It worked just fine. I only had minor issues with the codec packs I use (MKV and DivX files just wouldn't play). A simple install of the new Shark007 Windows 8 Codec packs fixed that. Curious about whether your hardware and software will run? Head over to the Windows 8 RP Compatibility Center and find your products.


What was especially nice, of course, is the roaming cloud feature. When I switched my local account to a Microsoft Account, the tablet automatically acquired all settings from my main desktop machine, including the wallpaper, saved passwords, language preferences, app settings and more. It’s just a massive time saver.

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