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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  • Michael

    I got my copy of Win8 when I bought my new laptop. The tiled look is pretty cool, other than that, I’m not too thrilled with it. It’s almost a hassle to grab a link from a website and then paste it into Windows Messenger.

    Each time I try to dig up a program, sheesh, just as much of an effort as I have with link grabbing and WLM. Why can’t I have the start button? Why isn’t there an option to use Windows Classic like there was in the past? For example, today I needed to use WordPad, so I had to use the Windows key + C, couldn’t find it at first glance so I had to search for it, found it, clicked it and it opened on my desktop. It just seems like in Microsoft’s attempt to create a more “convenient” UI, it added more steps than previous Windows versions used to do what you’re trying to do.

    But hey, at least it looks cool, right?

  • Maximus

    “Not as bad as expected?” — Another experiment from Microsoft ?
    That’s what they said about, Vista and Sys7 (have owned both). I’ll stick with XP, till something better comes along.

  • Clara

    I got it for free from university…windows 8 pro that is. Is so fast. It boots till you end saying fish. Also the way you swap between windows is preety cool. I can browse web and in the corner keep the soap opera playing. And errors till now. And it looks quite fancy. I heard a web developer that IE 10 (that comes with Windows 8) is quite a good browser – I’m so much staying on the lap of papa microsoft right now – such a strange feeling to over-enjoy a microsoft product.

  • Steinerman

    I have an extra 500GB drive laying around and I’m seriously thinking about putting 8 on it just to see what it’s like and to play around with it. I still will probably use 7 to do any productive work.

    I’m amused at the Microsoft ads for 8 I see on TV. All they show is photos and people playing with it. I’ve yet to see anybody doing any real work with it!

  • michel

    Not as bad as expected? Odd, I seem to recall many reviewers being excited at how good it is.

  • Winh8r

    Windows 8 is probably the only thing that could drive me into the arms of Apple.

    Up until now, I’ve stuck with MS through all its Windows incarnations, from 3.1 upwards (including, briefly, Vista). No more. If Windows 9 is as cumbersome as Windows 8, I’m buying a Mac when Win 7 gives up the ghost. SEVERAL Macs, in fact.

    And, no, Linux is not a solution

  • mukhi

    win8 upgrade will make sense if MS can figure out solutions to at least some of the common complaints. handling apps in a new OS is always problematic unless the OS becomes stable.

  • i would upgrade to windows 8, but my computer is a shared one with my dad. I can just hear him telling me why I upgraded to WIndows 8 when Windows 7 was perfectly fine for me (haha).

  • AFPhys

    A while ago I saw some article that claimed that a person who got Win8 was able to request and obtain a downgrade to Win7.,

    If I see such an article again, and am assured that is truly the case, I will buy a copy and upgrade.

    If not, I definitely will not.