Review – Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Metro Apps

The Finance app does not pull the stock symbols from your MSN Money account; or if it does, it didn’t for me.  The background that I got when viewing the standard Finance start screen was quite stunning. After this displayed, it auto quit. I couldn’t get it to display any other symbols or other detailed information about any specific symbol.

Windows 8’s new Mail app replaces Windows Live Mail. You can use it to send and receive not only Hotmail; but just about any other POP3 compatible web mail account, including GMail and Yahoo! Mail, as well as Exchange Mail. The first thing you’ll need to do is retype the password for your Windows Live account.

The Mail app has messages down the left side with the message body on the right. It’s very similar to Apple’s Mail iPad app, in structure, but still very much a 1.0 Windows app. As you can see, it doesn’t make very good use of screen real estate and the design is a bit flat.

Right clicking the mouse button anywhere in the screen will bring up the context menu, visible along the bottom. Here you can view Folders, change accounts, as well as perform other mail actions, like move, mark mail read/unread or sync your accounts.

Windows 8 includes a mapping application. Its implementation of Bing Maps is actually very good. With it, and Windows 8’s build in Location Services, you can get directions from your current location to just about any location in the country.

Windows 8’s address book is maintained in its People application. Like Mail, it supports multiple accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Hotmail, Google and Exchange.  A unified address book is new to Windows, as it previously only supported contacts from its own services and/or applications.

Clicking on any individual contact card will display the details you have maintained on that individual, as well as a larger version of the picture you have for that contact.  You can interact with that contact – send mail, call, etc. – directly from their contact card.

Managing photos is a lot easier in Windows 8 than it used to be with earlier versions of Windows. The Photos app is much nicer than Windows Live Photo Gallery.  You can pull in photos from a local library, SkyDrive, Facebook and Flickr; and it’s easy to connect your different accounts.

To hook in a new photo library from the web, first you need to enter in your Windows Live credentials.  After your email address and password have been entered, click the Sign In button.

Once your credentials are validated, you’ll be given the opportunity to connect your chosen account to your Windows Live Account.  Once connected, your PC acts as a hub, continuously pulling all content together, with your PC at the center.

I had trouble getting Windows 8’s Flickr connector to log into my account. For some reason, the Sign In button didn’t seem to do anything.

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