Windows 8 - An In-Depth Expert Review (Part 6)

6/4/2013 11:51:49 AM
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Windows 8 - An In-Depth Expert Review (Part 6)

Windows Store

When Windows 8 was released a few days ago, Microsoft said the Windows Store was home to thousands of apps, though it declined to provide an exact number. For now, there are no first-party applications for Facebook and Twitter, which is still true on Windows 7. (At least, Twitter says it will have an application in the coming months). Other missing biggies include: Foursquare, Mint, PageOnce, TripIt, NPR, Draw Something, Words with Friends, Temple Run, Spotify, Springpad, Remember the Milk, Instapaper, Pocket (formerly Read it Later), Flipboard, Steam, Instagram, Nook and Radio. However, there’s reason to think many of these will appear soon: in the weeks we spent working on this review, Netflix, The New York Times, Skype, Hulu Plus, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Zinio and Bank of America all went live in store. Dropbox, ESPN and PayPal are all coming soon, according to Microsoft. Other notable’s applications, such as AP,, Pandora and Slacker, have been available for a long time. Also, who are we kidding? We are talking about Windows. The operating system that’s going to ship millions and millions of new PCs. Developers like Facebook would be wise to come up with something for Windows 8 posthaste. However, in the first few weeks or months of owning your Windows 8 device, you might find yourself having to deal with unfamiliar alternatives, or just loading up the browser version of the app.

Store application

Store application

Navigating the store feels like using any other Windows 8 app, you'll start by seeing recommended apps, along with tiles new releases and the top free apps. Keep scrolling to the right and you will see the applications divided into categories, such as social or entertainment. If you’re less in the mood to meander and more in the mood to look for something specific, you can search in one or two ways: swipe the Charms Bar and select the Search option or you can just start typing. Yes, in the same way you can start typing to search for something on the Start Menu, you can start typing to look up an application. If it’s in the app store, it will appear in the search results as a recommended pick. However, despite the convenience, you can only do it on the main page of the Windows Store. Choose a page like "Top Free Games" and that search method no longer works; you'll have to use the Charms Bar instead.

When you find a suitable application, you can read an overview, along with a summary of the licenses you’ll be granting the developer. You can also see a list of supported languages ​​and check if the processors are supported (this is especially useful if you have an ARM-based device running Windows RT and aren’t sure if it will run the same applications as an x86-based Windows 8 device). Finally, there’s a tab for assessment, which you can sort by newest, oldest, lowest rank, highest rating or most useful (yes, you can appreciate the specific comments). Methods of payment in the Windows Store include credit cards and PayPal. When you buy an app, you can install it on up to five devices simultaneously.


In addition to all the new applications and UI elements, Windows 8 brings a number of improvements for those with limited vision or other disabilities. Leaders of Windows, Steven Sinofsky gives ​​a detailed overview of these improvements here, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll gather in a quick summary. The updates include:

·         A redesigned Narrator that’s quicker to read selected items

·         Extended language support in Narrator, with more voice options available

·         Updated UI Automation with more text patterns and document content helps Narrator read the output from applications

System requirements

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 needs 1GB of RAM and 20GB of free disk space. Other system requirements include a 1GHz processor that supports PAE, NX, and SSE2; 1366x768 resolution, and DirectX 9 graphics. If you are upgrading existing machine, you can be running an operating system as old as XP with Service Pack 3. Microsoft warns that if you’re upgrading from XP or Vista, you’ll need to reinstall your applications.

It’s not clear that whether you’re current laptop’s trackpad will support Windows 8 or not. Some current PCs will benefit from updated drivers that allow you to perform all the Windows 8-specific motions from the trackpad, but of course, we can’t give any guarantees.


Although you can buy a PC with Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro installed, Win 8 Pro is the only version of the operating system available for purchase as separate software currently. (The main differences are that Windows 8 Pro includes business-oriented features such as Remote Desktop Connection, Domain Join for corporate networks, and Device Encryption, which is based on the company's BitLocker technology).

Windows 8 versions

Windows 8 versions

Finally, although this is a review of Windows 8, the new version of Windows for x86-based PCs it’s worth acknowledging Windows RT for ARM-based devices, and also summarizing the differences. In short, these two types of operating system look and feel, with the same UI, gestures and native apps. The main difference is that Windows RT cannot run applications written for x86-based PCs. Also, not all applications in the Windows Store can run on both Win 8 and RT devices. Fortunately, all Windows RT devices come with a version of Office 2013 modified for Windows RT. With that major hurdle out of the way, we’re hard-pressed to name that many other x86 apps you’d want to run on an ARM-based tablet.


Although you could install Windows 8 on an older Windows 7 system and use it with a mouse and keyboard, the market is filling up with touch-friendly PCs designed to be used with Win 8. These include traditional notebooks with touch screen, as well as dockable tablet, all-in-one with articulating displays, slider PCs and convertible laptops whose screen can twist and fold back into tablet mode. Overall, we’d strongly recommend any of these over a PC that doesn’t have a touch screen.

The market is filling up with touch-friendly PCs designed to be used with Win 8.

The market is filling up with touch-friendly PCs designed to be used with Win 8.

Windows 8 is the best when you interact with it using your fingers. It doesn’t matter much if you have touch screen, a modern touchpad or an external trackpad that supports Win 8 gestures. The problem is, many of Windows 8’s most attractive features (the Charms Bar, etc.) are easy to use in this way, but it will be disappointing if all you have to work with is a mouse. If you have an older systems shoes touchpad won’t support Windows 8 gestures, you might want to stick with Windows 7 until you’re ready to buy a new PC - without touch input, and a lot of new features will be lost. However, for people with more touch-friendly hardware, Windows 8 is much easier to use than you may have feared. Its tablet-style apps, multitasking features and desktop enhancements add up to a balanced mix. It’s an operating system that you can use on the tablet continuously, but with features like Snap, Switcher and File Explorer, you can be more productive than you ever were on a previous iPad or Android tablet.

Windows 8’s specs


·         Graphical interface: Yes

·         Command line interface: Yes


·         Architecture: 64-bit, 32-bit

·         Kernel type: Hybrid kernel

·         Multitasking: Yes

System requirements

·         Processor: 1 GHz of faster with support for PAE, NX, SSE2

·         RAM: 1 GB or 2 GB

·         Hard disk space: 16 GB or 20 GB

·         Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver


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