The Newest Member
The newest member of my machine family is actually a visitor. It’s the Dell XPS 12, which I have received to try, also considered for introduction as replacement for one of the older tablet models in our infrastructure. I only got i last evening, so whatever I say at the moment is just first impressions. But first impressions last, as all of us know who grew up with 1990ies shampoo commercials.
The XPS is a really neat laptop (pic 1), which can be transformed with some rapid gymnastics (2) into a quite powerful tablet (3). It’s my first time with a windows 8 machine and a finger pointed interface for windows. It still feels slightly odd,but cool, to get online by pointing at go online when in tablet mode.
As for windows 8, I feel slightly puzzled. It has this neat windows 8 tile menu (knows us “Metro” until copyright issues made Microsoft drop that name). It looks good, but it seems to me that it is really just a covered windows 7. As soon as I click on something important, like Outlook or Word, it defaults back to the old Windows 7 desktop hidden under the Surface and there is not much that feels new at all. The tiles menu (or “Start” as Microsoft has labelled it) then gives very much the impression of a sized up start menu, giving a bit of the same feeling as the text-based “Mastmenu” did n my old school years intel 286 based systems. A very neat menu that covers the screen with options but quickly deactivates if you actually do some work. Is windows 8 supposed to be like that?
That said, learing the interface is extremely intuitive for us who are used to press, hold, swipe, drag until something happens. The first trick i got from the intro leaflet that came with the laptop: swipe left on the right edge of the screen. This brings out a small contextual menu that can be used to pick/search for everything else. Adapting the start menu is then equally simple: Drag whatever you want to the bottom of screen and a context menu appears to ask what you want to happen. Just to point with a finger and get it done.