For about two years now I’ve been working solely off of a laptop – I have a desktop, but best it can do is Windows XP and a lot of the programs I wanted to use aren’t supported on such an outdated software. When it came down to it, at the time I could either buy a new laptop or a new desktop. A computer with portability and updated software sounded much better than a grounded computer with updated software so I opted for the laptop. While my laptop is still doing okay, it’s starting to show some wear and tear from so much use. I don’t really want two laptops, so I’m back in the market looking for a new desktop.
It’s funny how different shopping for a computer is compared to shopping for phones. Phones seem much easier to follow and it’s big news when a really good one comes out. Computers? Not so much. With so many manufacturers working with the Windows platform, and only one working with iOS, there’s not really a whole lot of competition in the market. Software updates for computers are also pretty universal. As such, there’s also not much reason to go out and buy an entirely new computer every time a new one is released. Computers are more timeless than smartphones, and thus making it a little bit harder (at least for someone like me) to really keep up on what’s what. This is an unfamiliar market.
Of the desktops I’ve seen (I’m a Windows kinda gal) most of them are currently running on Windows 8. I will say that I like that Microsoft is really trying to bring a unified experience with their smartphones, tablets, and computers. If you look at Windows 7, or any previous versions of Windows, you’d have no idea that they were made by the same company that makes Windows Phones if you didn’t know any better; it’s a completely different interface all around. However, with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 the layouts are almost identical with both featuring Live Tiles anda simplistic layout. The problem with Windows 8 is that while the interface is unified, it really is a form that (I feel) is better suited for touchscreen interfaces and not traditional desktops. This brings me to my next point.
I’ve come across a couple of desktops that come bundled with Windows 8 and touchscreen monitors, which I was actually pretty pleased about. My first experience with a touchscreen desktop hybrid was while I was working at Kodak. The touchscreens were to help make the editing of photos easier, but the physical keyboard was still there for when you needed to type (and a mouse was available if you preferred). It was kind of a hit or miss technology at the time as the calibration was often off, but naturally as time progressed things have improved and some of these desktop tablet hybrids we see today are actually pretty cool. I think that’s where Windows 8 really shines – as long as you have a touchscreen function, it’s not that bad of a software. Right now I definitely prefer Windows 7, but that’s mostly because I’m more comfortable with it and know what I’m doing.
Without the touchscreen, Windows 8 just doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t feel right to have these enormous spaces for you to click on. The reason for Live Tiles on Windows Phone in the first place is because big fingers and tiny screens don’t always work – but they do when you have big buttons to work with. On a regular PC you’re working with a tiny cursor that can easily click on small icons, so there’s no reason to have such large, space-consuming Live Tiles.
Another awesome feature that some of these desktops have? You can take the screen out and use it as a tablet. So you have the base of the desktop (the actual work station) and then you can take the screen with you to use on-the-go. I guess in a way it’s kind of like a laptop but less bulk. It’s a unique concept, and I like unique. It’s taking the desktop PC and making it a part of the future. While many think that the tablet itself is slowly killing the PC, I think this is the more the direction it’s moving. If it is a PC killer, I think it would be several years down the line because there are still a lot of things that stand alone tablets can’t do as extensively as fully functioning computers can, but time will only tell.
I think I will end up purchasing a tablet/desktop hybrid PC and give it a whirl. It’s something different than my laptop has to offer, and I think the interface will suit me well. I look forward to this new experience as it will be my first with Windows 8.
Readers, what do you think about tablet/desktop combos? Do you think they are the future or would you rather keep the two separate? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Image via CNet