"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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