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My Venture Back to Microsoft – a Review of Windows 10

With the release of Windows 10 in late July this year I decided to wade back into the Microsoft waters. It had been six years since I last bought a Windows computer. I had grown to love the Mac OS and it’s simple beauty. I have lived with iMacs, MacBooks and iPads all these past years, but with the new Windows 10 release, I was intrigued.
But I was wary about taking the plunge. Two years ago I was forced to use a Windows desktop at a Sheraton while on vacation. I had to print boarding passes but I sat paralyzed in front of a bewildering Windows 8 screen. Where was the Start button? After clicking around For 1/2 hr, I managed to print the boarding pass.

The problem is that I work in a Windows environment. The electronic medical record I use is Windows based. Though I can connect to this Windows system through my MacBook Air laptop, the experience is clunky as it employs software called a Windows emulator.

So I began my research of Windows computers. I wanted portability so I decide to get a laptop. I liked the “2 in 1” machine which would allow me to use it either as a laptop or a tablet. I bought a Dell Inspiron 13 7000 with a 13.3 inch 1920 x 1080 touch screen, Intel i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB hard drive for $649 at Best Buy. Despite the large screen, it weighed 3.6 lbs. Today Joanna Stern at the Wall Street Journal gave this laptop a thumbs up http://www.wsj.com/articles/windows-10-laptops-in-search-of-great-hardware-to-match-great-software-1439316432?mod=djemonwine_t

As expected I was able to connect to my Windows work environment without a hitch.

I began to play around with the Windows 10 operating system. The first thing I noticed was the annoying several second delay when waking the laptop from sleep. I would enter the numeric password, then have to wait and re-enter it, something I never saw with my Mac laptop.

Often programs such as Outlook 2013 would lock and display the “Not Responding” message, forcing me to close the program and start it up again. Again, this was unheard of on my Macs.

I played with the Siri-like assistant called Cortana and was at first frustrated – I recorded my encounter. Often Cortana would complain “the Internet and I are not talking right now” which hardly is a help.

After a few tries I got it to respond to the vocal command “Hey Cortana” but unfortunately she sent me to the Windows default search engine Bing. You see I had already made my preference browser Google Chrome instead of the new Microsoft Edge and I made the default search engine, Google within Chrome but nonetheless, Cortana would shoot my verbal inquiries into Bing. Cortana still has a long way to go before it can match Siri on my iPad and iPhone.

I bought the Microsoft Office 365 Family product ($80) at Best Buy a discount to the regular price only because I had bought my laptop there. Setting up my email with Outlook was tedious and certainly not as easily as I could do with my Apple products where I effortless can see my Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo and Exchange accounts. So far I have half those accounts working on the Windows laptop with Outlook. Whereas Apple allows for seamless integration across my machines, I can’t say I can do the same within Windows.

Flipping the screen around coverts the laptop into a tablet with a huge screen. The display is sharp and crisp. The touch screen is responsive but I found some of the regular Windows programs like Outlook were difficult to maneuver with my finger compared with a mouse or touchpad. I tried Flipboard but compared to the same app on my iPad, I found the Dell experience a little slow. I tried to play an embedded video in Flipboard on the Dell but the cursor just kept spinning. I opened the same article on Flipboard on my iPad and the video loaded immediately. 

 I am satisfied using the Dell Windows 10 laptop for work but I couldn’t live with the Dell as my tablet for my off work life because it doesn’t meet the bar set by Apple for integration of information across my devices. Cortana is an immature version of Siri. Finally the tablet experience on the Dell was slower despite this new Windows 10 operating system but there is room to grow.

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