If you missed the first two parts of my in-depth review of the new ExoPC Slate Windows 7 tablet you can find part 1 here and part 2 here. So far I’ve looked at the hardware, which is fantastic, and the custom ExoUI interface. Admittedly this interface is still in beta and it needs work but it’s already accomplished and polished and it will be very interesting to see the deeper integration that’s being promised in the next few months.
For now though I found myself dropping down to Windows 7 itself and I made reference yesterday to how this wasn’t actually as bad as I’d thought. Let me explain why as there are several reasons.
Now it’s true that the main venom people reserve for Windows 7′s interface on a tablet is down to things like the minimise, maximise and close buttons and for context menus and the like. I have to say all these really are as hateful as I’d expected. Some other parts of Windows 7 quite surprised me when used by touch. Windows have a nice bounce to them when you swipe up and down and reach either the top or bottom of the page, and almost all panels in windows are already touch sensitive to a degree, accepting simple swipe gestures to scroll up and down lists, and simple taps to highlight multiple files and documents. It’s already much more accomplished than I’d expected.
The biggest surprise came in the form of the ribbon UI. I’d installed Windows Live mail and the ribbon lends itself well to a touch interface with it’s large buttons. As this UI type finds its way into more Windows 7 programs, this will certainly help people who want to use the software with touch.
The real revelation though is one that many of us have already experienced before on our smartphones. While it might be difficult to use Windows 7 sometimes browsing the web is a truly awful experience. I wrote last week about the touch web, and the lack of touch support on websites which still insist on using small hyperlinks is something that needs urgent attention. I’m not just talking about small websites either, this applies to Amazon, eBay, Facebook and all the major websites.
This helps level the playing field for Windows 7 on a tablet somewhat as much of the time, no matter what tablet we’re using we’ll be browsing the web. This experience will be equally awful on an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab. Those tablets have a distinct advantage over Windows 7 of smoother zooming, but who really wants to have to zoom into and back out of a web page every time you want to click on a link.
So I found that using Windows 7 on a tablet isn’t anywhere near as bad as you might expect and it was surprising to me just how quickly I adapted to it.
So now all that’s out of the way what is the ExoPC like to live with on a day to day basis? I’ll be writing about this tomorrow.