Windows 11 is here .. well, kinda! – Oct 21

They said Windows 10 was the final version of Windows, they said it would just be updates from here on out! But lo and behold – here’s a refreshed visual design of Windows being called the next generation of Windows .. read on to know more.

What’s new?

  • New Start Menu & Visual Changes to the interface
  • New Widgets Menu – with quick glance information
  • New Settings Menu – easier to use
  • New Snap Assist Tool – to easily position your windows into sections of the screen
  • New Microsoft Store & XBox Apps
  • Work in Progress updates:
    • Support for Android Apps
    • Support for Direct Storage for Games
    • Performance updates for Games

Should you update?

As tempting as it may be to update, I would recommend that you wait a few months for all the bugs to be smashed and for the teething issues in the interface and guts of the software to be sorted.

To summarize as of now though, there is not much in terms of new and noteworthy in the performance or the visual redesign.

If you have a 3 years or older desktop or laptop however, I would recommend to definitely hold as there are some compatibility software updates that need to be resolved. Even probably

The Details? Mostly good, some bad.

As much as the Windows team have tried to ensure that they do not copy MacOS, there are quite a few ideas taken straight from there. However, as soon as you click that start icon – which now is in the bottom center of the screen – you see that you are still using Windows.

  • Start Menu:
    • The center start menu now opens up to an app gallery where you can pin favorite apps right up to, it also features a search bar right up top with buttons to take you to all apps installed and also a button to get you to recommended i.e. recent files.
    • Plus the Shutdown, restart button and settings icon – all of which can be customized along with shifting start to the left similar to the old way.
    • You can also pin apps to the taskbar for easier access similar to Windows 10.
  • Visuals:
    • Rounded Corners, refreshed icons, emoji’s and overhauled + simplified look
  • Widgets:
    • Widgets now slide from the left side out and has some prebuilt widgets – however, something I rarely used (called tiles in Windows 10), and I don’t see the appeal, function or use of it still – time will tell.
    • Currently you can add the below, but no 3rd Party apps:
      • Outlook Calendar
      • To Do
      • Photos
      • Tips
      • Entertainment
      • Family Safety
      • Weather
      • Watchlist
      • Plus a newsfeed at the bottom
  • Settings Menu:
    • Easier to use and Navigate compared to before making it faster to change via the quick access to the left side of the window
    • Light Mode and Dark Mode Options + plus switching without reloading the window like before
    • You will also be able to switch on Auto HDR if you have a monitor that supports it
  • Snap Assist:
    • This is something they have copied from the Mac and improved upon in my opinion where the windows snap as before as well as you have snap layouts that fit your open windows into some useful preset options
  • Microsoft Teams and Messages are now one app:
    • They have updated Teams to now handle SMS messages so you can send and receive messages from the app on your desk
  • The Bad Stuff:
    • Cannot drag files into the task bar folders and apps as before
    • There are still barebones of Windows of the past still visible via the Command Prompt, Task Manager and some other windows some of which do not even switch on the Dark Mode switch
    • Only the primary monitor displays the easy access icons on the bottom right such as time, date, battery, bluetooth etc. The rest of the monitors do not.

Work in Progress updates !!

  • Performance Improvements:
    • There were supposed to be performance improvements with the introduction of Windows 11, however, as of now this doesn’t seem to have made any noticeable changes
  • Android Apps:
    • This is purely a workaround, but there will soon be an Amazon App Store that will have it’s own collection of Android Apps that you will be able to access via that store; how well these apps work and perform however is something that we need to wait and watch
  • Direct Storage Access:
    • Provided Games support it (which most don’t currently) the data can be loaded directly from the SSD via the GPU rather than the CPU which would result in much faster load times, which will have a significant boost incase you do not already have SSD’s

With all of this and more, hopefully Windows has a much better time going forward – keep in mind, every alternate version of Windows has been a disaster – Windows 8, Vista, ME; so this has a lot of history going against it.

Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do like and subscribe for more.

Cheers! 🙂

The Surface that could – Microsoft Sep 21 Event

The market is in such bad a state that it is currently only a monopoly that could aspire to break up another monopoly. Microsoft took a well deserved hiatus from mobile hardware to focus on the cloud but now that their cloud act is at the top of it’s game they have been focusing on the Mobile Products division with the help of Panos Panay. And so the Surface Strategy is back with a new line of up of products to tempt you away from the iOS or Android Monopolies that you are already a part of and these are the products they announced.

The Surface Duo 2

Yup, Duo 2’s the name and it isn’t Deja-Vu. The second iteration of the Surface Folding Phone – all improved with a curved center edge, a thinner and lighter form factor, a slimmer pen and a new camera line up. Better specifications to boot as well. A pure ‘workaholic’s’ & Multitasker’s delight in my opinion. The only thing I would consider to replace my iPhone but only during work hours and not anything else.

Link to Technical Specifications here

The Refreshed Surface Laptops Line-Up

Next up is the refreshed line-up of Laptops and at first glance all you see is that they have upped the specifications and not much else for all except the Surface Laptop Studio which apart from the specs also had a new form factor to go with it.

Surface Laptop Studio

The screen is quite an amazing achievement, it also folds from it’s center back position to lay flat over the entire body so you can use the pen that hides under it’s mouse pad to write, draw and more. However, an overall bulky device with a box underneath for ventilation via fans and vents. Unsure how this performs in the market with better value for money options that are more powerful.

Link to the Technical Specifications here

The rest of the devices are nothing to write too much about, we have the Surface Pro 8, which is probably the best of the lot for its power for form factor ratio and also the detachable keyboard with the hidden pen slot. If you need a windows laptop + tablet for portability and work – this is the device for you. Well worth the spend just for the portability alone. The upgrades on this are nothing more than the spec’s tho.

You also have the Surface Go 3 if you need a budget friendly device, however the sacrifices it makes ensures it isn’t a great value for money. For this price range there are definitely better deals from other manufacturers out there. An new iPad would be a much better value for money with lower cost in this case.

Oh and yes, just to tick the box of being environmentally conscious, they also released a mouse made of recycled ocean plastic. So there’s that. Awesome, I guess.

Would you recommend buying one?

At this time, the only one worth recommending is the Surface Pro 8 in case you are looking for a portable windows machine with the emphasis on portable. The Surface Duo 2 can also be recommended if your work productivity is front and center in your list of priorities especially if tied into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Apart from that the rest are not ready for prime time and do not justify the price for the value they deliver.

Hope you enjoyed the read. Do like and subscribe for more.

Cheers! 🙂