Just a few days ago, Microsoft unveiled a shiny new look for Windows 8. With its brand new, phone-inspired interface, the signal from Seattle was clear… Don't worry about Windows 7 not being any good on tablets. See what we've got for you next year.
That must be quite disheartening for manufacturers of Windows 7 tablets who are still trying to make the current OS work. Like bModo, whose Windows-powered 12G we find in front of us here.
Soft to touch
It's not that the bModo 12G has nothing going for it. There’s a rubber-clad magnesium alloy shell, and handheld computers that bounce rather than shatter win points regardless their looks. The 12G isn't exactly ugly either.
Because it has the processing innards of a netbook rather than a modern Android tablet or iPad, it's slightly heavier than other tablets and runs noticeably hotter, but that's a small price to pay for being able to run 'real' Photoshop on it.
What's more, however good iPads and Androids have got with playing back video, they're still not a patch on the 1080p playback quality of Intel's Atom processor and Windows. There's even a half decent 'Bossa Nova' interface that includes large icons, a borderless browser and a bespoke Twitter app. But this will only do so much, and if you want to exploit the potential of Windows 7, at some point you’ll have to use Windows 7.
That’s where it all goes wrong. Not even Bossa Nova can make up for the terrible Microsoft on-screen keyboard, or the fact that if you increase the size of desktop icons and text, warning screens bleed off the edge of the screen and can't be closed. And Windows is so power hungry that the battery lasts less than three hours. While this is actually quite responsive to touch compared to other Windows 7 tablets, it’s still held back by the operating system’s innate inability to make things happen as quickly as it should.
Then there’s Windows 7’s shocking and confounding refusal to react to input like any other modern touchscreen device. Think of your finger as a mouse and you’ll be OK. But your finger is not a mouse, is it?
Sure, you could add a keyboard and mouse, but then you’ve got a netbook, and you could buy one with similar specs to this for half the price. The 12G may go down in history as the best Windows 7 tablet there was. But that won't be an accolade to be proud of.
Wait for the next generation of Microsoft-powered tablets. This is as good as Windows 7 will get, and it's not enough.