By and large, things are the same as we saw in the Release Preview — it’s too late in the development cycle for Microsoft to make any splashy changes. Under-the-hood tweaks make up the majority of the changelog in the lastest version, and it shows: Windows 8 is smoother, faster, and more reliable than ever. We installed the new OS on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon without a hitch, and though there are some compatibility issues (more on those in a minute) there’s nothing about Windows 8 that feels buggy, unstable, or unfinished. That aside, though, there are af few interface, app, and usability tweaks that are a little more obvious to the naked eye.
Several months ago, I lightly dabbled with Windows 8 in a virtual machine. Frustrated by the poor translation of trackpad movements to a predominantly touch-centric interface, the sandboxed install quickly fell into disuse, and I’ve barely gathered the enthusiasm to experiment any further with any ensuing builds.
Now, however, with the final code available for download, I’m keen to re-visit the forthcoming operating system. Given my well-publicized and highly controversial opinions concerning Windows Phone 7, there’s plenty for me to sink my teeth into with regard to the interface design.
Furthermore, with the rumors of a $199 price point for the Microsoft Surface fresh in memory, Windows 8 may well be poised for quite a disruptive entry into the broader marketplace.
Notably, following the lift of the press embargo, Microsoft has immediately posted a 90-day trial edition of Windows 8 for all to download.