Windows 8 isn’t as bad as expected, if user-submitted product reviews are to be believed

Most tech pundits have given a negative outlook to Windows 8, primarily due to its touch-optimized interface on keyboard and mouse PCs. Great, we know how techies feel about Windows 8. How about real people? Yeah, yeah, we have already seen some reactions from “normal people” when prompted to use Windows 8. But a potentially edited video of someone wandering the streets and asking a handful of random strangers to try Windows 8 on-the-spot without any real time with the operating system isn’t, in my opinion, really a fair way to judge Microsoft’s latest creation. So what is a better way? User reviews of computers that run Windows 8.

Before we go further, let me clarify that, yes, reviews that users submit online may or may not be very accurate. The accuracy or a user-submitted review of a product on an online website often depends on what website you are looking at and what type of product is being discussed. So, yes, looking at reviews of computers running Windows 8 submitted by star-clicking users may not be the perfect way to learn how people feel about the operating system. However, it is still interesting to look at. And look at it we shall.

Ed Bott of ZDNet took analyzed 42 reviews submitted by people who purchased Windows 8 computers from the Home Shopping Network. (You know, the type of reviews people submit after purchasing a product online, the reviews where you rate a product on an arbitrary scale that typically ranges from 1 to 5 stars and leave an optional comment.) Bott specifically selected Home Shopping Network (HSN) because of two factors — the high volume of tech purchases that happen on HSN and the fact that most people buying from HSN aren’t necessarily techy but rather “real people” (as Bott elegantly puts it). The reviews were spread over three different Windows 8 laptops, one from Acer and two from Gateway (which, as coincidence may have it, is owned by Acer). All three of these machines are low-end machines that target price-sensitive consumers. (Acer likes to operate in the low-end market.) Bott did not mention if the machines he looked at are touch or non-touch laptops, but I assume they are non-touch since they are low-end.

The following is what Bott found:

  • 21% said they love what they purchased, which presumably means they love their computer and Windows 8.
  • 24% reviewers specifically mentioned that they like Windows 8, leaving comments such as
    • “The setup of windows 8 is great I can see everything with [ease]. The computer itself has so many features that I have had it a week and still discovering new ones.”
    • “Windows 8 has a bit of a learning curve but overall, I like it.”
    • “Great machine! Win 8 easier to learn than expected.”
    • “I love it! It’s fast, Windows 8 is rather easy to use…”
  • 19% have not yet decided how they feel about Windows 8, reflected in comments such as
    • “Windows 8 … this take some getting used to. The idea of getting to information faster is good however, there aren’t enough programs preloaded.”
    • “Trying to get use to this new windows 8.”
    • “I haven’t made my mind up about Windows 8. I’ve sort of figured out how to use it but I find myself switching back to the desktop. It’s easier for me to navigate.”
  • 21% hate the hardware that they bought, which has nothing to do with Windows 8 but rather the fact that low-end machines typically come with below-par hardware.
  • 14% hate Windows 8, with one person calling it a “a real pain”, another person declaring “not crazy about Windows 8”, while a different person is not happy that they ran into an error within three days: “Looks beautiful but after 3 days it now has a pc error. I had to reset. So no i’m not a happy consumer. … Also i hate windows8. Thank you”.

Of course a review of 42 reviews submitted by users online isn’t exactly a study that is going to be published in Science Mag; what Bott found shouldn’t be used as conclusive evidence of anything simply because there are inherent flaws with user-submitted reviews and that fact that Bott picked reviews of similar machines on the same website. However, the results are actually fairly encouraging, if you are Microsoft or you are someone looking to take the dive into Windows 8. They are definitely not inline with what tech blogs have been spouting for the past few months, with more people appearing to be happy with Windows 8 than disliking it.

Have you upgraded to Windows 8? Will you upgrade? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

[via ZDNet]

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