Microsoft's latest operating system represents a gargantuan departure for the company, reflecting the sweeping changes that have hit the industry at large.
Simply put, Windows 8 is the company's attempt to bridge the gap between their traditional computer audience and the touch-computing world. So just how successful was the company in meeting this goal?
We took delivery of a Samsung Series 7 slate, loaded with Windows 8, to play with the operating system on a touch interface.
We also gave Windows 8 Consumer Preview a go on a laptop earlier this year, so check it out here.
Getting things up and running is a simple matter, with users being able to use a local account or Microsoft account. If you don't have an email address or Microsoft account, you can register for one seamlessly too.
Once you've entered your details, that's it, you're good to go. However, for the more security conscious, you have a few options at your disposal.
For one, there's the ability to set your standard password on the device, much like any other Windows computer. If you're even more security conscious, there's also the option to create a four-digit PIN.
But the most innovative solution is the picture password, which lets you draw three gestures to unlock the device. And it's pretty easy to make use of this feature.
For example, you can choose a photo of a sunset, tap a cloud, draw a circle around the setting sun and draw a line for the horizon. So when you need to unlock your device you do those gestures in that order, and your tablet is ready to use.
I thought the feature would be a nightmare to use when I first heard about it, but it's a relief as you don't need to be 100 percent accurate. In saying that, it's possible to switch to the standard password option if you can't remember what your gestures are.
Much like Windows Phone, Windows 8 features some great social integration, with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all baked in. All you need to do is add the credentials to the device.
What this means is that you get notifications from networks, news feeds and the ability to write posts.
All of this is accessible from the People Hub, a beefed up contacts menu which pools all of your social network friends together. Clicking on one of your contacts will bring up some cool information, such as their latest updates, a map to their work or home (if they've entered their address), their email address and the ability to shoot off a Facebook message or tweet.
It's a really fantastic way of handling contacts and one that still seems to be ahead of the curve when compared to iOS and Android.
There are a few areas where the social integration could do with some work however, with private/direct messages still not supported. Some features, such as groups, also require users to log into Facebook on the browser. But in a great touch, it'll open up in your default browser, no matter if it's Firefox, Chrome or IE10. Windows RT users will be stuck with IE10 only for now.
Along with your social network contacts, Windows 8 will also pull your Facebook calendar - so that means birthdays and events are all featured.
Page two: A touch-enabled experience