Windows 8: The official review

Microsoft's efforts to woo mobile-device users may leave traditional desktop PC owners feeling abandoned.

By Loyd Case, PC World |  Windows, windows 8

Assuming that you're logged in to your Microsoft account, SkyDrive is available as the default storage for many applications, but you can change that on a per-application basis. Of course, that default setting could cause you to consume your 5GB allotment of free storage pretty quickly. An additional 20GB costs $10 per year, while 100GB costs $50 per year.

SkyDrive has several important drawbacks that for many users may make it less viable than local hard-drive storage or competing cloud services. First, it imposes a 2GB limit on individual files, so the high-definition video you took of, say, your child's soccer match might not copy to your SkyDrive if it's bigger than 2GB. Second, Microsoft restricts the types of files you may upload: Illegally copied commercial content is prohibited, and so are files that contain nudity or excessive violence.

Microsoft has been vague when asked for the specifics of how it defines and detects prohibited content. Although it's understandable that the company would ban the uploading of illegal content, Microsoft's decision to serve as a moral authority on prohibited private material seems excessive.

Microsoft Office integration

Microsoft Office 2013, still in beta at this writing, is more tightly tied to Windows 8 than any previous version of Office was to any older OS. Like Windows 8, Office 2013 is closely coupled with SkyDrive: If you sign in with Office to your Microsoft account, you can specify SkyDrive as Office's default storage location. This arrangement is handy if you're constantly moving between a home system, a laptop, and a work computer.

In addition, Office 2013 seems to perform better on Windows 8 than on Windows 7, most likely because the new Office takes full advantage of the GPU acceleration built into Windows 8. The overall look of Office 2013 also matches that of the new OS, mimicking the Windows 8 look and feel.

Bottom line

Windows 8 is almost here, and system makers are readying new models. Some will be touch enabled or otherwise optimized for Windows 8, while others will be similar to existing PCs. For some time, PC sales have been down, partly because everyone has been waiting to see what Windows 8 will be like on new systems. Although we've delved into the RTM version, and we like what we see, the success of Windows 8 will depend on how rapidly customers adopt the new user interface and the hardware to support it.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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