A quick glance at Windows 8 will tell you that this is not Windows 7 or XP or any other Windows that you might be familiar with. The Start screen is a sharp departure from the Start of old and the live tiles are a fresh new way of interacting with your PC... but is it worth making the change to the new colorful Windows 8?
Windows 8 is a big change for Microsoft and at its core is the belief that work and play are intertwined and so really are the use cases for tablets and computers. Of course this tablet and computer "best of both worlds" is really evident in the new touchscreen Windows 8 hardware, but the ideas behind the new OS still shine even when it is in the form of an upgrade. While new hardware might not be in the picture for you, there are still reasons why you might want to consider moving your PC to Windows 8, here are a few:
1. It Looks Really Nice. Of course there are other benefits than simply looks to Windows 8, but since we are a design site, we would be remiss not to start off with just how much easier on the eyes Windows 8 is. We are huge fan of the live tiles and think that the clean, colourful design is a huge step in the right direction for Microsoft. We cringe whenever we leave the Start screen for Desktop and can't wait till Microsoft makes the two elements more cohesive and consistent.
2. Faster Boot Times. Although your Windows 7 logo'd hardware is not likely to start up as snappily as a brand new piece of Windows 8 kit, you will see a faster boot time with an upgrade to Windows 8.
3. Gestures & Multitasking. As big Exposé and Spaces addicts in OS X we are thrilled to see gestures play a big part in Windows 8. The best way to use the gestures is via touch, but there are also mouse-friendly options. The multitasking in Windows 8 is pretty great and we love snapping apps and running two side by side.
4. Smaller Memory Footprint. Instead of gulping your precious memory, Windows 8 is a much tidier eater and with the upgrade you will have less of a drain on your memory in the form of a smaller memory footprint.
5. Keeps Everything in Sync. With your Microsoft account, Windows 8, SkyDrive, and Office 2013 your documents, photos, contacts, and almost everything else are all kept nicely in sync. This is the first time we've really seen such a cohesive solution on the PC side of things and it's making our Microsoft loving friends who have long been jealous of MobileMe/iCloud very, very happy.
6. Skype. If you're a big Skype user you will be happy to see that it gets a lot of love in Windows 8. Skype is heavily integrated across the OS and while we have not had a chance to test it extensively, we have heard good things about it on Windows 8.
7. Windows Store. Although the app store is not as large as some that have had years to grow, it is increasing and with the market share that Windows has around the world, we expect the number of apps in it to increase exponentially over the coming years. Windows 8 brings you the Windows Store, the Windows analogue to the App Store on the Mac.
8. Better Battery Life. If you have a laptop running Windows 7 you will be happy to discover that your battery life will improve with an upgrade to Windows 8.
9. Xbox Music & Video. Interested in streaming music that will play nicely across your devices and will be light on your wallet? With Windows 8 you'll gain Xbox Music & Video.
10. It's Inexpensive. Last but not least, it's a very low cost upgrade. If you opt to download the upgrade it's a mere $39.99.