Windows 8 ‘touch-ups,’ please

Surface Pro could shine if Windows 8 had been better designed to take advantage of its touch capabilities.

Surface Pro (Credit: Microsoft)

Surface Pro
(Credit: Microsoft)


I like the Surface Pro. It drips with potential. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Windows 8 touch doesn’t do the Surface Pro justice.

Try this. Use an iPad for an hour; then jump to Windows 8 touch. It’s a bumpy switch.

Windows 8, at times, strikes me as Windows 7 touch with a Metro splash-screen bolted on. (Yes, there were Windows 7 touch laptops — I’ve used them).

Here’s the short version of what I’ll write below: Aside from the browser and some interesting touch-based transitions done from the sides of the screen, for me, Windows 8 is pretty much Windows 7. (Albeit a Windows 7 with a lot of the useful stuff stripped out or unnecessarily rejiggered.)

Try this. Open Word; then try to do something with touch. It requires unerring finger precision. Which means it’s better done with a mouse and keyboard.

Of course, I’m not the first person to say this but it can be frustrating, because Surface wants to be a shining example of the Windows 8 touch experience.

It’s not. Yet.

Metro needs more stickiness — I spend almost no time there — or Desktop needs better touch.

Which leads me to what’s good about Surface. If you look at it as a thin, lightweight laptop that happens to have a touch screen, then it begins to make sense. And Panos Panay, the guy who heads Microsoft’s Surface Pro business, said as much last month.

“This should be the fastest PC you pick up. Period…. It was designed as a PC,” he said.

I certainly agree with that. Surface Pro is a good laptop waiting for a future version of Windows 8 to make it a great touch device.

Surface Pro is a good laptop. I'm not wowed by the touch experience. (Credit: Brooke Crothers)

Surface Pro is a good laptop. I’m not wowed by the touch experience.
(Credit: Brooke Crothers)

via: Windows 8


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