Microsoft Windows 8 tablet upgrade preview
We upgrade the Windows 7 Fujitsu Q550 tablet to give users an idea of what to expect when the touch screen optimised Windows 8 is released in October.
All of Microsoft's touchscreen additions in Windows 8 are available on the Q550, but we did find we had to press down firmly on the screen to activate gestures. Being fair to Fujitsu, this tablet was designed for stylus based input, which is why the touchscreen isn't as sensitive as newer devices.
Sliding your finger across from the left hand edge initiates multitasking. You can drag the last app which was being used to the forefront.
However, the gesture you're most likely to use will be the one to bring up the Charms panel. This is filled with shortcuts to features which will be used commonly. You bring it up by swiping from the right hand edge toward the middle of the screen. There are five actions users can then carry out.
It is possible to search for files, folders or information within a particular app. The Share button allows information to be shared between apps - think copy and paste or sharing contact info.
Meanwhile, the Devices button allow you to connect the tablet to hardware. One of the most useful icons is Settings button, which allows users to manage their wireless connection, volume, notifications, keyboard and power options. Of course the Windows icon in the centre of the menu is crucial too. It mimics the function of the physical Home button found on tablets such as the iPad, allowing users to return to the Start screen from any point.
Whilst Microsoft's Aero interface resulted in the on-screen keyboard in Windows 7 being nice to look at, it was small and impractical to use for text input.
Microsoft has cut away the gloss and produced a functional keyboard for Windows 8. The keys are larger and well-spaced, making it one of the best touch screen keyboards we have seen. The only gripe being is the Q550 needs a firm press to register input compared to iPad and Android devices.
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