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3/6/2013
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Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive

The CEO of a small translation business shares her lessons learned in three months using a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Windows 8 convertible.

Three months later, Bell reached a disappointing conclusion about Windows 8: "It's just not ready for prime time," she said. Issues with the Yoga's "tent mode" -- the ability to stand up the tablet display for presentations and similar purposes -- top her list, because that feature was one of the primary appeals of the convertible in the first place. Bell found several applications didn't properly flip or "stuck" in tent mode, rendering the image upside-down to the viewer. Skype videoconferences -- In Every Language is a heavy user of the app for staff meetings and presentations because it's a virtual office -- were a regular problem, and Bell ultimately had to leave the device in laptop mode so that people's faces weren't upside-down.

"What was the point in me paying $200 to $600 more than I would have for a laptop to have something I could put in tent [mode] so that it looks nice in presentations if I can't use the tent mode?" Bell said. Bell's firm is also a heavy Dropbox user for both internal and external file sharing, syncing and backup. She said she ran into regular problems syncing files from the Windows 8-based Yoga and has had to uninstall and reinstall the app multiple times, ultimately to no avail. "Dropbox [does not work well] on it," Bell said. "You might as well not even have Dropbox because it makes it [run] as a [Windows 8] app as opposed to being able to get into it as though it were a file folder."

Some of Bell's experience speaks to a fact of life for many small businesses: They don't have an IT department for things like application testing, troubleshooting and similar tasks that come with a significant technology change such as Windows 8. "I am admittedly not an IT person," Bell said. Therein lies a challenge for Microsoft in getting small businesses to adopt Windows 8. Small-business owners often have less time, inclination or technical know-how for getting under the hood to tweak and customize settings, application preferences and other features.

Among other relatively minor items that nagged Bell: Having to sign in to Windows with a Microsoft account. She used her long-abandoned Hotmail credentials, but did so begrudgingly. She has also found Windows updates to be more intrusive -- her older laptop runs Vista, and she is accustomed to the pop-up prompt that enables the user to postpone the automatic update for up to four hours.

"Were I only using the computer for personal stuff, [the updates are] no big deal," Bell said. "But if I’m presenting in front of 100 people at an international conference, not so much."

The Clooney comparison held up in her day-to-day usage -- the retooled, touch-centric Windows UI had advantages beyond just looking good. "The Web browsing on it is incredible," Bell said, adding that the touch functionality was a big plus in this regard. "But like most business owners, I don't want to pay $1,000 for a Web browser."

"Business owner" is the operative phrase here. Much of Bell's disappointment with Windows 8 stems from high hopes borne of a form factor that seemed tailor made for her job. She has found, though, that the underlying OS -- especially on an out-of-the-box device purchased at retail -- would be much better-suited for use at home. "The [convertible] set-up seemed perfect. But in reality, it’s as though we’ve paid for a very expensive game console," Bell said. For personal use, she said, "it's great -- if I want to watch TV on it at night or whatever. I just don't think it's fit for business. I don't think they even made it for us."

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moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
3/9/2013 | 1:12:03 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Interesting read...but seriously, can't stop working for the ten minutes it takes to board a plane? Nobody is that important.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 10:22:59 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
The problems mentioned are not with Windows 8. It's a problem with the device itself. And in her choice of logon type. And in her choice of using Drop Box rather than the outstanding SkyDrive App.

Had Ms. Bell availed herself of competent help in selecting the right device and getting it setup properly for her use case, she would have had a much better outcome.

One of the (many) reasons for Apple's success is because they focus so much on the user experience. And it starts early... in their marketing and in their retail purchasing process. They sweat the details here because it matters.

It's also the obvious reason that compelled Microsoft to take back the reins and drive their future more directly... aka the Surface products. Not saying they get everything right but when you have friends like their current OEMs... just sayin.
jododo
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jododo,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:17:08 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
You're right. I think they're doing it again. -+That's their "new" strategy? They should try to fix Windows 8.
edyang
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edyang,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 3:44:41 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Why are we surprised? We all know the first try by Microsoft is usually lackluster. But given them a few revisions and we will find a much more polished Windows 8. Or...Windows Blue?
AsokAsus
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AsokAsus,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 10:35:18 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Trivial or not, she doesn't like the product. If enough folks don't like something, trivial or not, it's not going to sell well.
pgilbert303
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pgilbert303,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 10:17:03 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
I don't know about the Dropbox issue. However the issue about having to login with a Windows Live account is wrong as other commenters have stated. It is the default choice when setting up a new Windows 8 computer but you have a choice at this point in the setup. Obviously she was in too big of a hurry to read and the columnist in too big a hurry to bash the OS to check the facts.

As far as the auto-rotate goes in tent mode, I have a Lenovo Twist. It too doesn't rotate correctly and gets stuck upside down. However I feel this is more a manufacturer issue rather than an OS problem. I can understand how that could be a deal breaker for this particular user.

Otherwise I love the OS and everywhere we have installed the OS, the end users like it too. Too many negative and wrong perceptions exist about Windows 8 from you have to have a touch screen to no Desktop.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
3/7/2013 | 8:19:57 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Actually, it's one of a thousand Windows 8 bashing experiences documented in the tech press, by yet another tech writer. Also, $1000 is a lot for a CEO these days? Really? The whole thing is very biased...most of her complaints seemed trivial at best and misleading at worst. Sorry if you can't see it.
ANON1234369798209
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ANON1234369798209,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 7:20:00 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
I guess Microsoft is using their warchest to discount any individual posts refuting the absolute perfection of their products...
AsokAsus
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AsokAsus,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 5:53:20 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Uh, you completely miss the point of this story, I suspect on purpose. The author isn't reporting on their own personal experience but simply REPORTING the experience of an ordinary small-business user with Windows 8 on this particular (expensive) device. And their experience was not good. This was a business woman who spent a lot of money and had high hopes, and was disappointed to find that Windows 8 and the device did not meet her needs. That's all the story is about. There's no spin. Just a report on one not terribly happy user.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
3/7/2013 | 5:49:32 PM
re: Windows 8 Convertible: My 3-Month Test Drive
Kinect you brought up every point that I noticed about the story. I run Win 8 Pro on my home machine and I won't go back either. Not a touch machine yet, just a few days later, I was scooting around the OS with the keyboard and mouse and yes, it runs everything and runs it better. The added features under the hood and the speed of the OS has me sold.
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