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Are Windows 8 Convertibles Being Given a Fair Chance?

by ajtrek / April 14, 2013 10:30 AM PDT

Before I begin let me say that I use both Mac and Windows products.

This question/discussion is not one entirely of my own conception. It was inspired by a CNET article posted on April 12th entitled "Hardware vs. Software: Playing the PC sales blame game" by Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein. In the article they try to shed some light as to why Windows 8 PC sales are stalling at least in the first quarter of 2013. Is it due to the Windows 8 OS, the confusing hardware question (for consumers) to decide between a traditional laptop vs. convertible or all of the aforementioned?

I'd like to narrow the question to the convertible selection. Convertible in this case means a Windows 8 device that has a screen size of 13 inches or less and has the ability to function as both a pseudo laptop and tablet. Personally, I've found that a convertible above 11 inches in screen size is too awkward. The sweet spot for me is 11 inches (no pun intended).

IMO reviewers of these new convertibles have been a little too critical. Case in point the Lenovo Yoga in 13 inch category, HP Envy X2, Surface Pro and Sony Vaio Duo 11 all in the 11 inch category. The Yoga and the HP Envy X2 both garnered CNET 4 and 3.5 Stars respectively while the Surface Pro and Sony Vaio Duo 11 garnered CNET 3.5 and 3 Stars respectively.

The Lenovo Yoga was the clear winner. However, the exposed key board of the Yoga in tablet mode is a downer for me as CNET questioned as well. The HP Envy X2 is under powered with its Atom processor which leaves the Surface Pro and Sony Vaio Duo 11 as comparison models.

Let me say that I do respect the opinions given by the professionals at CNET and use them to temper my buying as probably many do. Having said that...the opinions given by CNET (and other Tech Reviewers) can determine the success of a product. I would venture to say that the influence imposed upon buyers (buy the experts) is at least 80 percent. I myself given the liberal return policies of at least 30 days will still try a product before I write it off. At the very least I'll play with the device at my local tech retailer when available.

So where am I going with this....I purchased a Sony Vaio Duo 11 with i7 processor and 8GB ram. I've been quite pleased with my purchase. In fact I'm typing this post with it. The only short coming that I whole-heartedly agree with the reviewers on is the lack of a traditional track pad. That being said the Surface Pro with its detachable key pad/cover does have a traditional track pad. I still chose the Sony Vaio Duo 11 over the Surface Pro because of connectivity options of which the Surface Pro is severely lacking.

I think that many of the experts are trying too hard to pigeon hole these new devices to be what they want them to be and therefore they fail to make the mark. This new breed of convertibles are still products in development. Most of the criticism (that I have read) has been about design and not performance. So that suggests to me that the devices by enlarge are stable even though consumers may not be comfortable with Windows 8 as it is today...which may change with the release of Windows Blue.

"What are your thoughts about the Windows 8 convertible machines are they being given a fair chance?"

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Arrogance by Microsoft.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 14, 2013 11:58 AM PDT

Sorry but why Microsoft forces Metro and not offering a choice is not much of a mystery and the market is responding in kind.

While I can fix most of this with Classic Shell or Start 8, it's a mystery why Microsoft doesn't respond and fix this but instead tell us we're wrong.

Windows 9 should be fine. Vista was OK but it took Microsoft years to figure out what was wrong.

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Precisely. Arrogance isn't going to ever be rewarded by:
by Robynsveil / May 3, 2013 10:36 AM PDT

"Fair Chance".

Windows8 is an epic fail on a number of levels, the most crucial being disrespectful of the user's time: the time-investment Windows users have made learning a piece of software in order to fit it into their business to enhance productivity in that business.

The lack of uptake on MS tablets is secondary to that disenchantment with Win8, even though the OS *should* work well with specifically exactly that piece of hardware.

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The download of START menu APP is proof of Window's failure

Got a new desktop with Windows 8. Just could not make it work.
Did research on my old Windows 7. Found that Stardock App that puts the START button and other Windows 7 features back onto Windows 8 had sold around 20 Million.
Bought it, applied it, and was fully up and functional with in minutes.

Now, I will update my other three computers with Windows 8 plus the Stardock App.
This is proof to me that Steve Ballmer should be asked to resign. He totally missed the .NET idea back during his 1999 announcement. He is to blame for this bad decision of Windows 8.
Glad I sold my Microsoft stock years ago. Glad I sold Apple back in Sept of 2012. Neither of these companies get it anymore. They are living on past accomplishments.

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"Arrogance", sort of...
by Thunderbuck / May 3, 2013 11:03 AM PDT

Much as people have been comparing Win8 to Vista, it's not a fair comparison. Vista was actually an attractive UI that harbored some killer technical flaws. Worse, MS didn't give the peripheral manufacturers the proper driver model until the last minute, guaranteeing widespread device incompatibility.

Win8, otoh, is technically excellent. And I haven't found a Windows 7 device yet that isn't compatible. Stuff from all the way back through Vista should still be good on Windows 8. The Start page actually seems like a very usable interface for touch devices. It's too bad that such a great touch interface doesn't readily translate into a desktop or traditional laptop PC interface.

I know many people are still choked about Microsoft adopting the ribbon UI in Office 2007. Not only was it impossible to degrade to the old Office UI, but the options on the ribbon couldn't be configured at all. VERY rigid, and users were up in arms over it. In that case, MS had some very good reasons for doing it the way they did, though. The ribbon itself was developed to be more touch-friendly, but beyond that it was meant to eliminate the whole cascading-menu issue. When a feature was only available under four levels of menus, it could get very tedious just navigating to it. Especially if you accidentally moused off the menu on the third level and had to start over.

So MS imposed the ribbon in Office, and said that allowing users to revert to the old UI would be technically difficult (which I believe).

MS might try the same excuse with the Win8 Start page, but Start8 makes it very clear that allowing a Win7 style Start menu is easy. I use Start8 myself on my laptop, and I, too, wonder why Microsoft didn't allow users this choice to begin with.

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Where is the "not offering a choice" ?
by rwgcnet / May 3, 2013 11:43 AM PDT

I have yoga, and with a flick of a button or hand movement I can switch between Metro for playing and normal desktop for working. I don't understand where or why you say there is no choice! The only fail (not counting RT) is the lack of Windows 7 style Start menu and is solved by downloadable applications. I'm extremely happy with Win 8 Pro and the yoga. I now have one light weight device that I can use for playing, run reading, internet browsing, after plugging the HDMI to my 60" movie watching. When I want to get serious, I use it for writing memos, documents, serious research, and software development while using the HDMI to desktop monitors.


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Did you Beta 8?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 3, 2013 1:04 PM PDT

It was not funny as they worked hard to disable third parties from turning the start button back on.

And why dismiss the 8 RT issues with it's draconian you may not install anything you like?

Well, it's this simple. Win 8 RT is not a Personal Computer. It's back to the Dark Ages for you?

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Lenovo Twist .... enjoying it
by StrangeDze / May 3, 2013 11:34 PM PDT

I was skeptical about Windows 8. I was skeptical about touch screens. I belong to and volunteer at the Resource Center of a 1,000 member Computer Club (since 1991) and am involved in teaching ... knew I'd have to learn Windows 8 in order to assist our members with their questions. I'd looked at the HP convertible laptop/tablet, but opted for the Lenovo Twist (smaller than the Yoga). I have had great success with HP laptops, but because of the specs on each I chose the Twist.

I am very happy. I find the touch screen easy and fun to use to the point that I know touch nearly every screen I sit in front of because the touch function is sooooooooooooo cool... my brain just goes for it. LOL.

It has been great fun to help others find their way into Win8 and learn on their new systems. I'm helping people set up everything from tablets, to laptop convertibles to AIOs with Windows 8 installed.

YES! There is a learning curve but it is well worth it once you understand that a Windows OS is a Windows OS ... just a little different interface and interaction...

i am much happier than i expected to be with my Twist. There were a few glitches to start off ... the screen rotation was a bit hinky, but once the updated the drivers/software (Lenovo that is) all works as it should.

Well worth it. Especially the convertible laptop/tablet style. I truly enjoy the versatility and it's taken over from my straight tablet device as my go to system

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Why complain when there is Start8.
by gdgroves / May 3, 2013 1:03 PM PDT

You can have the best of both worlds with Start8. I just switch back and forth with a simple pressing of the Windows key. I would love to have one of the tablets with keyboards running Windows 8. I understand that MS will be coming out soon with an update that will allow you to boot into the old Win7 screen.

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Tell this to the shareholders.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 3, 2013 1:09 PM PDT

I have relatives that picked up Windows 8 laptops and they are sitting unused. I posted about that as well and hope the departure of that one person will help speed this along.

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More Choice, I like that....
by gfoley1 / May 12, 2013 11:50 AM PDT

I agree to having more choice in choosing an OS that fits our needs -- yours from mine, and mine from yours.

Yes, I would have liked to have seen MS create an OS7P. An OS where you have click-type choices built in.
As such, if an OS7P existed I could go into the control panel and simply choose "touch-screen" control, and guess what, if I have a touch screen (of any type) I can use it with OS7P without a hitch, and with all the same fun icons, etc). Otherwise OS7P could be set to standard key/mouse mode, and can be used with any PC with ease -- and of course have a somewhat improved desktop, with all the "silly-stupid" icons plastered all over.

Yep, I'd say MS did put us under their reign, and have just plain and simply jammed OS8 down our throats -- without consulting, what would appear to be, the majority of us in here?

What a world of disappointment we live in. Soon we'll all be forced to go have MS implants put in, which will also include the song "soft kitty, warm kitty" in its' crawl space....

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My current laptop is on 8.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 13, 2013 2:05 AM PDT

And with Classic Shell it's fine. Microsoft did studies and there were two folk at the top that chose to ignore it. They are no longer at MSFT so we see the stirrings of Windows Blue. This does not address the prison of Windows 8 RT.

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Fair Chance for W8 Convertibles?
by Ron Geiken / April 26, 2013 9:36 AM PDT

Remember Fair Chance means that some one has to spend money on something to try it out. I don't think that I want to try that out myself. I have looked at some of the W8 equipment at the Microsoft Store and none of them have won my heart, and I don't really desire to give them a chance. I don't like W8 at all, so there is no device that would entice me to buy it. I will stick with W7 for the indefinite future. By the way, I am a user that has comfortably moved from XP to Vista, to W7 without a hitch. Now, I have no desire for W8, so the string is stopped. The price is not the issue, I would not install it even if it was for free! Windows 8 may linger in the wilderness for a while unless Microsoft takes action and releases W8.1 with a Start Menu.

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As long as there is Windoze 8, there will be no fair chance
by TerryMZM / April 26, 2013 10:25 AM PDT

Windoze 8 convertibles will never be given a fair chance because they run Windoze 8. Windoze 8 gave me such a bad experience during some testing that a company could build the best computer in the world, but if it runs under Windoze 8, I won't even look at it! And, from what I hear and read, I'm not alone. When Micro$oft wakes up and sells what people want, things MIGHT change, but don't hold your breath. I'm surprised more hardware manufacturers haven't introduced new convertibles with one of the newer Linux builds.

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It gets deeper than that. Some makers cancelled plans.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 26, 2013 11:23 AM PDT
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I missed that story
by TerryMZM / April 27, 2013 1:48 AM PDT

Wow, what a revelation! (LOL) Micro$oft steamrollering its partners. They've been doing this for years, yet the hardware guys keep coming back for more. Go figure.

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Re: Linux Builds
by nbahn / April 28, 2013 1:05 PM PDT

The reason that it probably isn't happening is that the manufacturers would have to send company representatives to brick & mortar stores to train potential customers exactly how to use a Linux OS; and just who wants to do that?

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Odd. Android is sitting on top of Linux
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 28, 2013 1:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Linux Builds

And I don't see folk getting trained in Linux. Any good app or shell seems to remove the need to know anything UNIX or Linux.

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Perhaps I should've phrased it differently.
by nbahn / April 28, 2013 1:47 PM PDT

Potential customers need to be trained in the desktop environment and the equivalent programs. I know very little about smartphones, so I don't know how they're sold.

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by JayMonster / May 3, 2013 10:52 AM PDT

If something came along that was "Android Like" it may (and I stress MAY) have a chance, but even ChromeOS cannot get a foothold in the PC world. Different Rules. I don't need to buy a printer or other hardware and HOPE it has drivers. Everything I need for the phone is built into the phone.

The problem with Linux on the desktop is in your solution "any good app or shell." Options like that bode well for the tech crowd, but not the Consumer base in general, and there are too many... religions (for lack of a better word) in the Linux world. And that just causes confusion for consumers. Which Distro? Gnome vs. KDE or something else? As the meme goes(and the general public agrees), "Ain't nobody got time for all that!"

Unless or until there is a clear winner and a unified Linux, it will continue to be relegated to the niche.

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re: So?
by dj_erik / May 3, 2013 12:29 PM PDT
In reply to: So?

I think you pretty much nailed it. Apple took the *nix environment not by being familiar with consumers in OSX, but by offering support for it. The prestige bit with Apple and the fan boys was following imho after they eventually started to get a good reputation for support. If someone else can come out with a Linux platform of both hardware and software that will educate and support end users, I think it may very well have a good start.
New in general is bad for the normal public, but new with flashy advertizements and an easy way to get answers did sell Apple computers out of classic.

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Odd. Android is sitting on top of Linux
by lenber / May 4, 2013 1:30 AM PDT

Then I have to wonder as why Google does not jump instead sitting on Linux to make it Go?

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I think we know why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 4, 2013 1:49 AM PDT

The public has already pushed back on that so it's better to label it something new and "don't mind the man behind the curtains."

Remember that if you are on the geeky side you would not care and might even embrace it being called Linux but we are talking the public here. We don't want to scare the herd.

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by gfoley1 / May 13, 2013 12:46 AM PDT

Google does not need to deal with Linux, it's got its' nitch and is comfortable with all its' other money-grabbing ideas -- why get into OS competition fight when not necessary? Moreover, I think MS has got the message by now. Hence, geeks like all "new", it's a challenge of sorts. Conversely, consumers like "comfortable", and OS8 has just put them over Niagara Falls without a barrel to escape. Oh sorry, now there's a """start""" mode, wow.... that outta shut the consumer up for awhile?????? f

I'll stay with 7, quite happy indeed with 7.

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Big Money...
by gfoley1 / May 13, 2013 12:38 AM PDT

Big money has a way of keeping little great projects on the shelf. Look at alternative fuels for autos for example -- the gov shelved the hydrogen vehicle? 350 miles per tank yet? Big oil talking no doubt. Same with MS, when MS talks "LAZY" hardware makers follow... kinda like pigeons if you get my drift.....

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Linux OS
by John Kennedy / May 4, 2013 12:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Linux Builds

Zorin a linux os, is very much like Win 7, very easy to learn. I have been with Windows since Win 95 was released and purchased every operating system they produced, win 8 changes that. Windows 8 is not hard to learn, in fact I consider that it was made for children and to sell their products. I do not like being tracked by MSN or anyone else and block all of them, Win 8 kills that. The cloud is mainly for the younger generation that trusts the likes of MSN, Google, Facebook etc., I do not. I consider my computer a computer, it seems to me Microsoft thinks its a telephone. I do not think of a computer as a toy, it is to create for business, news etc. I admit that Microsoft is trying to please everyone and that is good, but give us the option to turn off undesired features that is to rid ourselves of Metro. I previously mentioned Zorin OS and would already have moved there, it is a great Win 7 replacement, much faster then even Win 8. While the OS is great some of their programs are not, Winamp is a program I love, replacement is not (they are currently addressing this with wine, a program that allows Windows programs to work with Linux), I love Picasa, it does not run in Linux, Google killed that, these are problems to me. I would also mention that I download movies and display them to my TV, don't think it can be done on Zorin, I am checking into that. I am now duel booting, if I can make these programs work on Zorin then goodbye Windows. Win 8.1 is due out at the end of this year, if Microsoft continues in their current direction, I will have no use for it, the start button is not a problem MSN is.

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You don't have to have MSN follow you
by tbone69069 / May 11, 2013 3:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Linux OS

If you don't want MSN to follow you. Don't use a windowslive, hotmail or any windows email when setting up win8.

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Options are lacking, yes indeed....
by gfoley1 / May 13, 2013 12:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Linux OS

You hit it on the money, just as in another post I previously made. And that post stated that OS8 would have been fine if it just gave you an "opt out" button. Just give me, the serious user, a smooth interface, no-nonsense, speed, and a non-invasive "in-your-face" OS. That's all I need, that's all I want. If I want a slick toy I'll just revert to my phone and all my "invisible facebook friends", of whom are as fake as an air waffle.

No thanks OS8, I'm a real human, and your "flip-me-out" OS just doesn't cut it for the more serious user.

I'll stick with 7. Amen.

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Not much of problem...
by Johnny Bramham / May 4, 2013 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Linux Builds

The problem as I see it is that W8 is neither one thing or another - fish or fowl, as it were. It's basically a tablet OS that *could* be used with a desktop - if you have the patience to sift through the whole thing to find out where M$ have put everything.
So, M$ have tried (yet again) to compel users to do things THEIR way, maybe in the hopes that if they do it often enough and get away with it, they can control the market for as long as they like.
However, this is precisely the scenario that could well spell the end of M$'s dominance in the PC market, as those who either cannot (or maybe don't want to) get au fait with W8 will go for a viable alternative; Linux is not that different to Windows, and is a darn sight easier for most users to understand than W8 would be in its current (undeveloped and unloved) configuration.
Someone else on this thread hit the nail dead centre; M$ need to realise that they should be producing stuff that people actually want, rather than coming up with products that are the answer to a question that nobody ever asked.

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I wish the 'debate' could be more about information...

Personally, I wish that the discussion, or debate, or whatever it is could be handled without no-longer-funny misspellings of the word 'windows' or rather trite attacks on Microsoft as a corporate entity. I am surprised this comment is even on this board, I thought CNET would filter such nonsense.

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by Johnny Bramham / May 4, 2013 10:09 AM PDT

Carlo; what you have to remember is that Micro$haft have had the buying public more or less by the short and curly hairs since 1993, and have 'imposed' their product on the public in an extremely cavalier manner; small wonder that many users, like myself, hate what Microsoft has become and take every chance we get to have a knock at them.
I gave up on Redmond when they brought out the worst OS yet known to mankind, AKA Vista, and very quickly swapped over to Linux, which was not only free to install and use, it was better in most respects than any version of Windows.
Quite apart from that, Linux users seem to have a common sense of helping others and resolving problems within the Linux community - something that seems to be an alien idea to most windows users.
As for CNET 'having a filter for this nonsense', I'd suggest you remember that this is an open forum where REAL people air their views, and also allows YOU to have YOUR say.
Need I say more?

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