6 reasons Windows 8 is still not a very good tablet OS

By on June 10, 2014 10:52:13 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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There have been endless articles on how Windows 8 sacrificed desktop usability for being a better tablet OS.  The problem is, it’s not a very good tablet OS either.

The problem has nothing to do with Metro per se. The problem is that Windows still, at its heart, behaves like a 1990s OS.  Let me walk you through some things that I think, regardless of whether you’re a Windows, Android, iOS fan you can agree that these are inexplicably bad things.

For full disclosure, I have both a MS Surface and a MS Surface 2 Pro, my SP2 is my main “carry with me” machine.

#1 It often isn’t available when you want it to be

Want to check a quick email or look something up? Too bad, there’s an update that has be installed first. There’s always some update forcing itself on it seems like (or enough times that I can’t rely on it as my “quick check”

image

Oh, you wanted to actually use your tablet right now? No, it’s Patch Everyday!

#2 It has terrible sleep power features

I can leave my Kindle Fire, iPad or heck Macbook Pro laying around for weeks and pick it up and the’re ready to go.  Not so for any Windows 8 tablet I’ve tried (MS Surface Pro, various Lenovos).  After a few days, they’re drained if not left plugged in.

 

#3 It’s slow or not reliable at acquiring WiFi after sleep

This is a pretty well known issue that you’d think they’d have fixed with Windows 8.  I even picked up a new MS Surface Pro 2 to be ready for next month’s Build conference and low and behold, about a third of the time it won’t reacquire (or is very slow) to pick up the WiFi network at my home or at my office.  I’ve had to reboot it before just to get it to see my WiFi.  Android, Mac, iOS have never had any issue with this.

 

#4 Its version of “Sleep” is really more like a light hibernate

You go out to a business lunch with your trusty iPad. You want to pull something up real fast. You press the home button and it’s back on, instantly.  Not so on a Windows 8 tablet.  You’re going to get the Surface logo (or whatever logo), wait a second. Get to the logon screen, you lift that up, hit your security check and THEN you’re in.  That’s insane for a tablet.

image

Oh thanks!

image

But you’re one of the biggest offenders!

 

#5 There’s no “launch” bar on the Metro screen

Android and iOS recognize that there’s typically just a few things you go-to on your tablet all the time.  Not so on Metro.  I want to get to my camera, I have to remember where I put it (before we made Launch8, I just put those things at the start of the list but it still required me to go back to the beginning of my start list to get to them).   This shouldn’t require a third-party program (same is true of ModernMix and Start8, hey thanks MS but I’d rather have the OS be solid out of the box).

image

Why isn’t there a launch bar by default?

#6 What time is it?

Seriously, how often do you quickly look to see what time it is (or how much power you have left)? On Windows 8’s Metro, you have to bring up the Charms bar to get that.  What? Why? Not even something on the Start home screen? You have room for my name on the home screen (top right – thanks! I forgot who I am!) but not for the time of day or battery.

image

Thank god, I forgot who I was. Now, what times is it? How much battery is left?

 

Bonus: This isn’t an OS issue, this is strange hardware design issue so I’m not including it into the list:  Its “home button” isn’t tactile.  People who use tablets often use them in low lighting. It’s incredibly frustrating not being able to find the Windows button.  Why do Windows 8 tablet manufacturers seem to insist on not having a tactile Windows button? 

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June 10, 2014 10:58:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Preach it, brother! There are definitely some strides to be made. I assume Windows Phone addresses some of these issues?

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June 10, 2014 11:23:24 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Windows 8, regardless of the platform used, needs to die.

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June 10, 2014 12:53:14 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

Brad,

I agree with your OP. 

However, Lord Reliant posed a good question and in my experience the answer to that is "absolutely it does".   Windows Phone does in fact address the issues you cited (at least for me) and as I've stated a few times in other threads is the perfect 'rounding out / compliment' to using Windows 8 on my desktop, notebook and tablet.  To put it another way, I have never before felt as though I should carry my phone with me at all times.  Windows Phone 8 has changed that for me.

 

While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

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June 10, 2014 2:22:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting the_Monk,
While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

Maybe the new Nokia phones will be Android based.

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June 10, 2014 2:25:33 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting kona0197,


Quoting the_Monk, reply 3While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

Maybe the new Nokia phones will be Android based.

Why would they choose to downgrade?

 

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June 10, 2014 2:27:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kona0197,


Quoting the_Monk, reply 3While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

Maybe the new Nokia phones will be Android based.

Blech. Android is such crap.  I'm always amazed when I see someone who is otherwise technically sophisticated using one.

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June 10, 2014 2:32:11 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I know this is focused a lot on the OS, but do you have any quick thoughts on the Surface Pro 3?

 

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June 10, 2014 2:32:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Less phones. More E2015. 

 

Founder's Vault, GO!

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June 10, 2014 2:33:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If Android devices are crap, why do they along with Apple sell more units than Windows phones?

 

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June 10, 2014 2:36:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kona0197,

If Android devices are crap, why do they along with Apple sell more units than Windows phones?

 

They're cheap.  

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June 10, 2014 2:40:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Wasn't aware a $500 dollar phone was cheap. Anyhow, back to topic.

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June 10, 2014 3:17:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting kona0197,


Quoting the_Monk, reply 3While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

Maybe the new Nokia phones will be Android based.

According to an article [I think] on NT Compatible, those Nokia phones which are currently Android will remain so pretty much as is, and the Windows Phone division will develop upon current and future Windows phones.  However, I rather expect MS will eventually phase out the Android OS for something more respectable... that being Windows 8.1 and beyond.  I too am happy with my Windows Phone [Win 8.1] and prefer it over Apple and Android devices.

As for the points raised in the OP, I haven't spent enough time with Windows tablets to have noticed them.  I did have a play with my niece's Surface Pro 2 and liked it enough, but Intel have just released a Windows tablet that looks rather inviting and I will weigh up the pros and cons of both when I'm closer to purchasing [one or the other]  I have an Android tablet which is sort of okay, to a point, and I can sync it with my PC and phone using 3rd party apps but I want to replace it with a Windows tablet to better utilise the platform across my devices.

I suppose, too, I'm not so much in a hurry these days and I do not depend on my devices for business purposes, and in my old[er] age I'm more patient than I ever used to be, so I guess I'll have to wait and see if the points raised in the OP piss me off enough to want to replace it with an iPad... though I seriously doubt it. 

Nah, I'm not yuppy enough to carry one of those.

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June 10, 2014 4:02:17 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
, but Intel have just released a Windows tablet that looks rather inviting and I will weigh up the pros and cons of both when I'm closer to purchasing [one or the other] 

 

a reference design is not a product you can buy in a store.

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June 10, 2014 4:03:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,


Quoting kona0197, reply 4

Quoting the_Monk, reply 3While I am already happy with my current Windows Phone device (Nokia Lumia 920) I can't wait to see what MS plans to cook up now that they've acquired Nokia's phone division.

Maybe the new Nokia phones will be Android based.

Blech. Android is such crap.  I'm always amazed when I see someone who is otherwise technically sophisticated using one.

I'd love to see your analysis of Android. I have a Nexus 5 right now and while there are things I'd change about it, I'm pretty satisfied overall. I'd be interested in knowing your take on the OS (and maybe comparing to Windows Phone).

I'm leery of Windows Phone because I'm not fully in Microsoft's ecosystem (Office 365) and the lack of apps/development. I've never seen or used Windows Phone, so interested in hearing more.

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June 10, 2014 4:12:40 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting moshi,


Quoting starkers, reply 12, but Intel have just released a Windows tablet that looks rather inviting and I will weigh up the pros and cons of both when I'm closer to purchasing [one or the other] 

 

a reference design is not a product you can buy in a store.

Perhaps not, but there will be a retail release by someone at some point... otherwise the entire concept/design is pointless.

 

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June 10, 2014 4:20:53 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lord Reliant,
I'm leery of Windows Phone because I'm not fully in Microsoft's ecosystem (Office 365) and the lack of apps/development. I've never seen or used Windows Phone, so interested in hearing more.

 

I'm not sure I understand "lack of apps/development" at least not from a practical/functional perspective anyway.  I mean how many apps does a device/ecosystem need doing the same/similar thing?  For me personally (and yes I use my devices for business) Windows Phone 8 has the most complete offering in terms of functionality out of the box and interoperability with my desktop/notebook/tablet over any other device(s) / ecosystem(s).

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June 10, 2014 4:26:39 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Intel sells chips. the target audience for this reference design are OEMs. 

there might be some manufacturer that maybe builds a tablet that looks similar (although probably thicker and heavier as a battery needs to last longer than the 2.5 hrs of the first Surface Pro). you will not be able to buy this or any other tablet by Intel though.

 

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June 10, 2014 4:32:38 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I agree totally with the review. 

Trouble is if you want to run a windows application on a tablet you need full windows 8.1. If you need to send someone out in the field with wizzy web based apps any tablet is fine but when they say how do I run this Windows 98 app or open up an excel spreadsheet with 6 sheets and macros, ermm. Either that or you pay for Citrix to push it out business wise. 

For home use buy an apple or android, both are good but in opposite ways, personal choice. Small Business Windows 8 tablet is good stop gap but I often think why not just have a bloody laptop and a good smart phone. 

What do people do with their tablets, We have two at home and I never pick one up I always use the 5 inch phone or go to the PC/Mac or smart TV, where does your tablet fit in?

And yep windows phone is just Office 365, but then the apps on Android and IOS have similar functionality. 

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June 10, 2014 5:02:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kona0197,

Wasn't aware a $500 dollar phone was cheap. Anyhow, back to topic.

Sigh.

You said that Android phones sell really well. I pointed out that that's because they're cheap.  You then talk about $500 Android phones...which don't sell nearly as well.  

Sure, you can buy a Galaxy S5 or a Nexus 5 but the OS is still crap and those models don't sell anywhere near what an iPhone sells. 

Anyway, I don't have a Windows Phone but I'd certainly use one over an Android phone any day. Not even a close call.  Ech. 

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June 10, 2014 5:09:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Reliant,

I'd love to see your analysis of Android. I have a Nexus 5 right now and while there are things I'd change about it, I'm pretty satisfied overall. I'd be interested in knowing your take on the OS (and maybe comparing to Windows Phone).

I'm leery of Windows Phone because I'm not fully in Microsoft's ecosystem (Office 365) and the lack of apps/development. I've never seen or used Windows Phone, so interested in hearing more.

One day I'll put together a lengthy Android rant (although, like Apple users, Android users tend to get pretty nuts about criticism).

Basically, the OS itself is an architectural piece of crap. While the latest (S5 for instance) has enough horse power to cover up the responsiveness issues (still present in KitKat), it's a sea of inconsistent usability, poor polish, and muddled software compatibility (at least once you move outside the mainstream).  

Its basic issues stem from the fact that it's a derivative of Linux which itself is pretty crappy when it comes to its display system.

Windows Phone is a much better OS but I don't enjoy using it and it lacks sufficient software support.  I wish I could combine the Windows Phone architecture with Android's customization with iPhone's dev support and user experience.

 

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June 10, 2014 5:13:53 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting the_Monk,
I'm not sure I understand "lack of apps/development" at least not from a practical/functional perspective anyway. I mean how many apps does a device/ecosystem need doing the same/similar thing? For me personally (and yes I use my devices for business) Windows Phone 8 has the most complete offering in terms of functionality out of the box and interoperability with my desktop/notebook/tablet over any other device(s) / ecosystem(s).

Yup, got it in a nutshell.

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June 11, 2014 10:27:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Windows Phone is a much better OS but I don't enjoy using it and it lacks sufficient software support. I wish I could combine the Windows Phone architecture with Android's customization with iPhone's dev support and user experience.

Wouldn't that be amazing! Appreciate the commentary on Android. Thanks!

I'm also interested in following the FirefoxOS. I doubt it will ever be a big player, but it will be interesting to see what new ideas and options it brings to the table, as well as how it influences (or not) MS, Google and Apple.

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June 11, 2014 10:38:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting the_Monk,


Quoting Lord Reliant, reply 14I'm leery of Windows Phone because I'm not fully in Microsoft's ecosystem (Office 365) and the lack of apps/development. I've never seen or used Windows Phone, so interested in hearing more.


I'm not sure I understand "lack of apps/development" at least not from a practical/functional perspective anyway.  I mean how many apps does a device/ecosystem need doing the same/similar thing?  For me personally (and yes I use my devices for business) Windows Phone 8 has the most complete offering in terms of functionality out of the box and interoperability with my desktop/notebook/tablet over any other device(s) / ecosystem(s).

I agree with your sentiment. If the OS can do it, who needs an app?

What I'm referring to is when apps aren't available for that platform. At my job we have several vendor solutions with apps that are iOS-only and no hope to come to Android (let alone Windows Phone). Apps seem to be the preferred interface for things nowadays (I prefer HTML5 myself), but until vendors can easily port between different platforms or the various manufacturers ease the challenge to do so, lock-in will be inevitable. Your choice of device could be determined simply by app availability. And this is why I don't see Mozilla being able to compete as well against the big three companies. However, they do have much more of a developer focus and would probably do a good job in making their system available and documented. It's their lack of other resources that would hurt them here, but it's still a bit too early to tell how this will all play out.

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June 11, 2014 12:20:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

#5 There’s no “launch” bar on the Metro screen

True but why would it ?

I know why this is mentioned... but it doesnt take a 3rd party prog even if it is a good one to organize your stuff.
From a lazy persons perspective - ( and im talking out of experience )it actually takes less time to organize your tiles than installing and adding your programs to the launch bar.
The Result is pretty much the same if you make your main progs first lane of tiles or second lane .
No scrolling swiping is needed then.

To the thing with the time on start
search the store there are free solutions for you to add a clock.
+
Can't yuo disable onedrive/skydrive on the SPro ?
I believe there is also some hybernation fixes for Surface 2
to save battery... since the sleep was broken
 

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June 11, 2014 3:56:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting benmanns,


#5 There’s no “launch” bar on the Metro screen
True but why would it ?

I know why this is mentioned... but it doesnt take a 3rd party prog even if it is a good one to organize your stuff.
From a lazy persons perspective - ( and im talking out of experience )it actually takes less time to organize your tiles than installing and adding your programs to the launch bar.
The Result is pretty much the same if you make your main progs first lane of tiles or second lane .
No scrolling swiping is needed then.

To the thing with the time on start
search the store there are free solutions for you to add a clock.
+
Can't yuo disable onedrive/skydrive on the SPro ?
I believe there is also some hybernation fixes for Surface 2
to save battery... since the sleep was broken
 

 

I run into the lack of a launchbar all the time when I use a machine with a fully fleshed out Metro setup that has lots of junk on it.  It always remembers where it was when you last were on the metro screen so I end up having to either return to the front of the list (if you want to organize things) or pick through the list of stuff.

Let's face it, 90% of the time you're using a browser, email program and some sort of office app.  I want a bar to get to that.

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