10 Ways Windows 8 Beats the iPad

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Windows 8 is now available for anyone to download, and it already shows a ton of potential. In fact, Microsoft’s bold new OS, which reminds us a lot of Windows Phone, outshines the iPad in some key areas. Granted, there were things we didn’t like in our Windows 8 Consumer Preview-- — and the iPad 3 or iPad HD is just around the corner-- — but there's no question that Apple will soon have a real fight on its hands. Here are the top 10 ways Windows 8 is better than the iPad right now.

1. Windows 8 is More Personal Than iOS
While iOS represents photos with a flower icon, Windows 8 lets you choose any photo you want to populate the live tile that lives on the Start screen. And that's just one of many ways you can customize the screen you'll see most. You can move items around, name groups of apps around and name them using the Semantic zoom feature, and pin everything from your favorite people and websites to the Start screen.
2. Faster Multitasking on Windows 8

No double- tapping a button to see your stuff here. Windows 8 lets you thumb through the applications you recently opened fast and fluidly just by swiping from the left edge of the screen. If you want to see all of your open apps at once, swipe from the left edge and then pull your finger back towards the edge to reveal a thumbnail view.

3. People App: Beyond the Address Book
One of our favorite features in Windows 8 is the People app. Why? Because it automatically links duplicate contacts so that there’s only one person for a given name. So, for example, if your friend is on Windows Live, Exchange, and Facebook, you’ll see all of those accounts listed. Plus, you can see your contacts’ latest updates on Facebook and Twitter.
4. Windows 8 Gives Swifter Access to Settings
Want to connect to a different Wi-Fi network or the settings for your app? On iOS you need to exit the app you’re using and open the Settings app. On Windows 8 you just swipe left from the right side of the screen and tap settings. There you’ll see network settings, shortcuts for adjusting everything from volume to brightness, and those settings related to the app you’re using. It’s just faster.
5. You Can Access and Attach Files in Windows 8
Yes, Android does this already, but Windows 8 does it better. Using the Mail, for example, you can easily attach photos or documents to outgoing emails using Windows 8's well-designed file picker. It's a cinch to select more than one file, whether it's stored on your PC or in the cloud on SkyDrive. The file picker is also open to third-party apps. With iOS, you can't attach anything to outgoing messages within the email app and the file system is hidden.
6. Windows 8 Lets You Snap Apps Next to Each Other
Say you want to work on a spreadsheet while rocking out to Slacker. Or you want to watch some videos while cleaning out your inbox. Windows 8 makes it easy with its Snap feature. Building on Windows 7, you can easily resize the window so it takes up one- third or two- thirds of the screen when you place it next to another open program, whether it's with your finger or a mouse. Plus, Microsoft is working with developers to enhance their apps so that you get all the functionality you need even in a smaller window.
7. IE10 Is a Superfast Browser
Internet Explorer 10 is one of the fastest browsers we've tested. Period. On our home network connection sites loaded almost as soon as we were done entering the URL in the address bar. In a side-by-side test with the iPad 2, our Samsung Ttablet loaded with Windows 8 narrowly beat Apple’s slate, loading seven popular sites in an average of 4.3 seconds, versus 4.8 seconds for the iPad. While we wish the tabs were always visible, we like how Windows 8 makes it easy to close all of the tabs you're not using with a single tap.
8. Windows 8 is Optimized for Keyboard Use
While you can add a keyboard case to an iPad, Windows 8 is optimized for mouse and keyboard use. Our favorite feature: the ability to search for an app just by tying on the Start screen. Windows 8 also has a ton of keyboard shortcuts, such as Win C for opening the Charm menu, Win D for showing the desktop, and Win Z for opening the app bar. We’re excited to see more designs like the IdeaPad Yoga that combine both touch and keyboard input.
9. Xbox is Built In
If you have an Xbox you’ll be glad to know that the Xbox Live Games app (currently in preview mode) presents your 3D Avatar and lets you keep track of your game activity. You can also download games from the app, since it has a built-in marketplace. For now the selection is very skimpy, but we anticipate the number of Xbox Live games to explode by the time Windows 8 launches. The separate Xbox Companion app lets you stream videos you’ve purchased from your Windows 8 PC or tablet to the console. It works, but right now the quality is only so-so.
10. Windows 8 Supports More Devices
Out of the box, Windows 8 will support lots more peripherals than the iPad or iOS because it’s built on Windows 7. If you have a USB drive, keyboard, printer, or camera, it should just work. Microsoft’s new OS makes it simple to access these add-ons via the Devices charm. Just swipe from the right side of the screen. And you can add devices from the PC settings menu.

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Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
Add a comment
  • Alberto Perez Says:

    What a bunch of C#$%^&*
    I am sick hearing comparisons of windows to apple products.

    I have an Ipad. looking for a windows based tablet for my wife this weekend (she wants a windows table/laptop) I experienced the windows 8 product.

    What a crap!

    All the things that it does the Ipad does better.

    Common that's what you got, move the apps around.



  • Eric Says:

    I have been using the Windows Phone 7 OS for close to 2 years and I feel it to be a much more stable phone OS than either the Iphone or the Android. The obvious "catch" is for those people who buy a "Smart phone" to have a game station/toy and phone all in one. I did have an Iphone in the past and several versions of the Android OS. Both of those had issues with hanging and freezing. I think it ultimately comes down to what you want out of the device, whether it is a phone or tablet or even a desktop. For those that say that Microsoft is dying... yeah right. Ok they still own a heavy dose of the Public market share and an even larger share of the business market. As I tell everyone that asks me (been in the Technology Industry over 25 years). Buy what you need..if you are comfortable with a product and it does what you need so be it. All the haters on both sides... well go home. All of these devices and technologies have been designed to capture certain niches' of the customer base. Little petty feature picking is akin to this wonderful election cycle we are in. Nuff said.

  • Raj Says:

    Microsoft playing catch up game in the name of Windows 8 which Android and iOS have done many years ago. Windows smartphone experience is aweful and pathetic; we are yet to see how Windows 8 tablet experience looks like. Again the tablet experience they try to emulate is none other than Android tablet and iPad.

  • Kelly Says:

    Numbers 5 and 6 are completely valid. I have no experience with the new IE, so I can't say whether or not it's accurate. However 1-4 make it blatantly obvious that the author doesn't know how to use iOS. You can do all those things just as well on an iPhone, to say nothing of an iPad. 9 is irrelevant to a lot of people; it really doesn't belong in this article, and 8 & 10 are simply because iOS isn't designed for desktops. If you want a desktop OS, don't get an f-ing iPad!

    Listen, I'm sure Windows 8 is a great OS, but don't try to compare it to iOS when you've got only two or three good points, and one of them is about the web browser which, while developed in concert with it, is not actually part of the OS and should be left out of the article. Man, I though Apple fanboys were bad, but this article makes me want to develop time travel just to go back and stop myself from wasting my time reading it.

  • FrankInKY Says:

    I've used DOS/Windows since the 80s and hate MS products, I've used Nexus 7 for a couple of weeks and love it. I fight with windows but feel enabled by Android. Many PC users will not try Win 8 or upgrade to it because MS is dying and they are no longer tethered to a difficult product. People don't want to upgrade a product they anticpate throwing away soon.
    The perception is that Windows is a dying product and people have no excitement about trying the newest 'dead' product. So fewer people use MS and it loses popularity and so fewer people use MS and ... This downward spiral is not going to be easy for MS to stop.
    You might as well tell me how wonderfull the Edsel is, I still wont buy one.

  • Sam Says:

    My iPad 3 will be on the market as soon as the Surface Pro starts shipping.
    I can't wait to be able to do REAL work on a tablet.

  • Lucas Says:


    No it isn't. It's a computer OS they slapped a touchscreen program over to put on a tablet.

  • daken Says:

    I can't wait to get myself win8! I seriously feel the whole apple & android craze has been a total waste of time. I too have had to get myself an android to "fill in" while microsoft got their act together. No, never an iphone. Thats like buying a shiny hot looking car with a poor engine. But yes, I still carry my old win phone in my pocket as an organiser & business utility while I use the android device to communicate. I have been using win ce ever since it came out, and can't believe that the gizmos of today haven't been able to come up with something similar to offer in terms of software. What a pity. Microsoft is going to kill android & apple and take its righful place at the top. Where it deserves to be. Android & Apple can keep selling their toys to the "wannabe" generation.. those that want what the next person has, or even worse, stand in the Q to buy the next shinier piece. As for the discerning ones, we all know what we NEED!

  • Phil Says:

    If you had bought a new car that behaves like Microsoft software, requires constant maintenance, and is the subject of repeated theft attempts despite endless security updates, would you buy a new one 'cos it looked pretty?

  • Gerardo Montiel Says:

    "#2: faster multitasking" You are aware of the multitasking gestures on iOs (specifically, on an iPad) right? They've been out for months....

  • Phonzie Says:

    @David Hagen: you can't get Microsoft products to do simple tasks? My 10 year old cousin can and she's, well 10. Or are you just simply bashing on Microsoft because not every application is a square?

  • mike Says:

    Microsoft is the king of productive computing for business and home - world wide. and not just fancy stuff that will not make you any money. And in the end that is where they beat google and apple.. seriously what can you do with an ipad apart from browse and reply mail? and the new surface tablet from Microsoft will be a big hit..! i love the chrome browser but OS? please - needless to without microsoft there would be no google - and apple is just a members club...

  • Omegaruin Says:

    No thanks, Google Chrome open source here I come.

  • AlwazNize Says:

    @Reid: Are you always such a pedantic twit?

  • mrhapiguy Says:

    Windows 8 will be an Android killer more than an iOS killer. Those of us who prefer PC over Mac have been forced to put up with this Android crap while Microsoft got their head back in the game. Thankfully that is all about to end. Google apps are not any better. Those guys should stick to search. Their software is almost painful to use.

  • Reid Says:

    #2 is bogus. I swipe up from the bottom to get a similar display. Sucks to be you if you haven't enabled multitouch gestures..

  • David Hagen Says:

    maybe but, it's still a Microsoft product which means it will not be intuative or easy to navigate. To this day I can't get Microsoft products to do simply tasks. My Ipad? picked it up, turned it on, got what I wanted done day 1 of use.

  • mike Says:

    Well, none of those seem like really big points except for two of them. ie10 really is great (I can't believe I just said that). But I only briefly uses the tablet version so I'm not so sure how it compares. Also, although I haven't used it, the new snap seems like it would honestly be a HUGE breakthrough on tablet OS's. How do you use it on a pc?

  • Bob Says:

    @Andy Mulhearn
    Windows 8 is a tablet OS also! Did that large fact fly over your head? Maybe read one of the 1200 news articles on Windows 8 next time.

  • Andy Mulhearn Says:

    Do you really expect to be taken seriously when you compare a desktop/laptop running a desktop OS against a tablet running a tablet OS?

  • xetaray Says:

    So it's basically ICS plus Xbox and the panel thing.

  • MarcXW Says:

    The consumer preview, despite still being a beta and suffering from a few bugs is already amazingly fast, responsive, and easy to use. A lot of people complain of the difference with Windows 7 and the new start menu, but I've found it to be much faster and easier to use than the start menu in Windows 7. All you have to do is type the name of the application you want to start, and you get results in a bold, engaging interface. It's really easy to connect to external devices too. I cannot wait to get a Windows 8 tablet, it is going to be amazing.

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