I just finished installing the Release Preview of Windows 8 on my Acer Iconia Tab W500 and I'm pretty impressed with it. It makes my experience with the device much more enjoyable than it was with Windows 7. In the past my touch experience with the device was lacking. I installed Frontface from Mirabyte which makes the device a bit more touch friendly, but the performance of Frontface wasn't the greatest. And yes I know in a previous blog I did a sarcastic rant about Microsoft Surface, and Windows 8, but as a consumer device this works.
First off, thanks to the new Windows key + PrtSc I can easily save screenshots on Windows 8, and have them automagically saved to my photos folder on the device. That though does bring up one issue, and that's the desktop. I still feel going back to the desktop and having to interact with the old Windows interface leaves something to be desired. It's still klunky, however the Metro apps, and interface are great. It's very intuitive, and performance is really fast.
Installation took some to figure out for this device. I read on the web that you can use the USB stick method, but I couldn't find anything lying around for that method, but I do have an external portable Blu-ray/DVD/CD drive. So I downloaded the 32bit version and burned the ISO to disk. Then in the BIOS (click F2 at the cursor prompt upon starting) I set it up so I could choose my boot device. Once things loaded up the installation took about 30 minutes to complete.
Speaking of performance, I know you tech heads want to know the performance ranking of the Acer, here's the screen shot to show you (larger image below). At 2.7, it really does well, and with only an AMD 1GHz CPU, it hums along in Metro fine. For browsing the web, checking email, and using apps, it works about as well as my iPad. CPU was lowest ranked item coming in at 2.7, but all other items had respective rankings.
It took me about five minutes to figure out the gestures for the device, pretty easy, swipe from the side, the top, or the bottom to bring up context sensitive menus.
The big stand out for me is cloud and social, Microsoft is putting everything into integrating these two technologies into Windows 8. The People app allows me to see everything going on with all my connections on all of the social networks I care about. The sidebar menu allows for me to share items from apps to my social network very easily.
SkyDrive is built right in, I have integration with all my devices from my iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, and now my Acer, centralized file storage with 25GB of space for free is something that isn't matched.
Internet Explorer is fast and easy to use. I thought I would miss my tabbed browser, but a swipe from the top shows me tiles of the sites I'm in. Very easy and a bit better experience than my iPad as I can see a preview of the sites.
For folks with man fingers like me, the tiled interface of Windows 8 is much easier to navigate than iOS. You'll find yourself tapping the item you want and not hitting the wrong item, which happens frequently on my iOS device.
Of course the app store is lacking in apps, but since this really hasn't been GTM yet, it will get better as time goes by.
I still stick to my previous rant, where I don't see doing development on a "Surface" type device as my mouse and keyboard are still going to be the fastest performing method of I/O for me, but for general use, and a fun device to use like my iPad, this ranks right up there. I don't see it as an iPad killer though, but I do think Google should be watching their back with Android, I see Windows 8 taking a big chunk of that market.