The Zimbabwean Perspective

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Operating Systems PCs/Laptop

Personal Opinion: I don’t like what I’ve seen of Windows 11………so far

Let me get a few things off my chest..

Last week had a lot of Windows 11 Leak news, a lot of it which I (and the rest of TZP observed) along with of course the expected hype over everything that includes Windows 11. And while I definitely believe that Windows 11 and Microsoft deserve the hype and attention they’re getting, as it stands I kind of don’t like Windows 11. Let me explain.
Image: Windows Central
Now right off the bat let me state that this is a personal opinion (not a review our hands-on impression) that’s based on what I’ve seen of Windows 11 so far and what it seems to be at this point. The OS and other details will be revealed by Microsoft in about two days and I’ll definitely give more concrete thoughts after having a better look. But based on last week’s leak and what’s been building to be the Windows 11 reveal so far, I’m honestly not sold, and that’s for the following reasons.

The whole ‘Windows 11’ thing.

Just to be clear I’m not pissed about the start bar being centered, you can put it to the left if you wish.
The Microsoft devout of you may remember that when Microsoft launched Windows 10, they wholeheartedly called it “the last version of Windows” a statement which was mainly based on their new Windows as a Service model and the fact that Windows 10 itself has been an ever evolving and improving OS in a way similar to MacOS, iOS and certain Linux Distros. When this was actually announced Apple fans even said Windows was just copying the then OSX model from apple, including use of the number 10. And I would have believed that wasn’t the case until I realized Apple technically made BIG Sur MacOS 11 after around 10 years just last year, and now Microsoft is doing the same. But the actual reason is a lot more than that to be honest. Firstly, there’s marketing and sales. PC sales have been high due to the pandemic but do you know what can make those sales even higher? A new operating system. Or at least a new coat of paint on an existing operating system with a new name. And as such, we have Windows 11. Microsoft will literally use the name change as a huge boost for PC sales and that’s the biggest reason for it outside of the second one I’m about to mention.

 

I don’t feel it deserves the name 11(based on what I’ve seen so far)

Dark Mode does look good though
So the way Windows 11 has come about is actually quite interesting and perhaps a statement of smartphone development today versus even 8 years ago. You see Windows 11 is essentially the merger of Windows 10 as we know it, and Windows 10X, the lighter, once dual-screen focused OS that was meant for more mobile-suited devices. Windows 10X was always a riskier idea and in the wake of the pandemic became an increasingly less convincing one, so Microsoft axed its development and decided to put it’s best ideas (the modern UI, tablet friendly features, performance advancements) into regular Windows 10 and in the wake of all that, Windows 11 was born. And while that sounds like an impressive enough story worthy of a new OS name, well…so far, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, chances are if you ask certain people, Windows is Windows and never changes while if you ask others, the slightest UI change makes everything feel new. But considering that Windows 11 was already a planned Windows 10 update called Sun Valley that was treated as such until recently, it pretty much means Windows 11 is mostly just Windows 10 in a few new clothes. And that at least does feel like a shortchange no matter how you look at it.

 

Widgets and that Start Menu

Hmmm…
So some tech reviewers are already saying the start menu’s dead and what we have here is an app launcher more akin to what you find on iOS, Android and Chrome OS. I’m not sure I completely agree with that but I do see a lot of their logic. If you’d actually gotten used to the Windows 10 Start Menu and its hybrid approach between Windows 7 and 8’s start menus with some Windows Phone thrown in, it’s safe to say you won’t exactly like this new approach at first glance. Or at least I didn’t. One of the most marked things abut the Windows 10X UI is that it was very “mobile” focused, meaning this was probably the OS Microsoft wanted in their ARM powered PCs that would essentially be as light as an iPad but run full Windows. And now a lot of those mobile friendly elements seem to be right upfront with Windows 11. Including the centered Start Menu. Now this one also takes inspiration from designs like MacOS but apparently Microsoft saw that a lot of PC enthusiasts with multiple monitors or wider screens prefer their icons centered as it makes for a more sensible experience. This is all plausible but I do have my fears about a lot of the mobile aspects coming to play here, be it the control dials like volume or the new widgets center, which seems like the lovechild of Tiles from Windows 10 and Widgets from Windows Vista. It all carries a certain amount of the tablet friendliness that Windows 8 had, the same tablet friendliness that alienated a lot of users who used basic desktop and laptop PCs. I’m not even those people, I use a 2-in-1 and love reading and drawing on my tablet mode. But I know I’m not the majority here, let alone in Zimbabwe, and I’m a little worried this new version of Windows might veer a little off course again.
But in the end we’ll see what the 24th brings us. In the end this is a leaked and non-final build so chances are Microsoft might have even more to show us and we hope they do. After they seem hyped about this, or rather “pumped” as Windows Chief Panos Panay would put it, and on that same note we hope there’s some new Surface hardware to showcase this new version of Windows too. Well, fingers crossed.

 

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