Consumer Reports, the buyer-friendly company that endorses products only after careful lab study and testing, is recommending consumers avoid Windows 8 and instead choose a PC with its predecessor, Windows 7.
The website consumerreports.org gives several reasons for its position, and why you might consider the latter choice:
If it ain’t broke. Windows 7 was popular when it was released in 2009. Unlike Vista, there have been few complaints, even after three years.
You’re not buying a touch screen. The entire Windows 8 experience is built on touch, which is great if you are buying a computer with a touchscreen. While it is true that you can use a keyboard and a mouse with it, it’s designed to have you physically interact with what’s on the display. Without that feature you probably won’t understand what all the fuss is about.
You don’t like change. By now you probably know that there’s no START button in Windows 8. Yes, there are workarounds and yes, there are apps that will bring back that START button–sort of–the bottom line is that Microsoft has taken it away, and you’re just not supposed to have it. Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but if you’ve been using that feature since Windows 95, you might have some trouble. If you don’t like fish, don’t order it from the menu. Stick with what you know in Windows 7.
Drivers still need updating. Ah yes, the bugaboo that helped bring down Vista. It seems that some of the new Windows 8 PCs are still having driver issues, and there could be some question as to which of your devices will work with 8.
You’re on the fence. Perhaps you just don’t see a need for all the newness promised by Windows 8. Maybe you’ve just purchased a Windows 7 PC a year or so ago, and you’ve finally gotten it set up the way you like (HINT: there’s no Aero interface with 8, just brightly colored sliding tiles. If you like Aero, that’s an easy choice to make)…or, you resent having all the Windows 8 advertising shoved in your face and down your throat. The good news is that the upgrade will be only about $40, so you can hold off until you feel better about it. And Microsoft will provide full support for Windows 7 until at least January 12, 2015.
Your best choice is probably to visit your local electronics retailer–such as Best Buy–and play around with the Windows 8 machines on display. You should know soon enough if you find the new OS appealing or a distraction.