Windows 11 Review
Well kind of the update brings a fresh new design, beginning with a new start menu and visual changes throughout the rest of the interface. There are several widgets that show you glanceable news, weather and other handy information, and the new settings app is easier to navigate and the snap assist tool has grown up. As far as gaming is concerned, microsoft took another pass at the microsoft store and xbox apps. There are also some under the hood features to windows 11, that the company promises will improve the gaming experience and boost performance. For the last few weeks, ive been using windows 11 on a pre built nzxt streaming plus pc with any major software update such as this. Its completely natural to question whether or not you should upgrade as tempting as it may be to mash that update button. The moment windows 11 was released, its probably a good idea to wait a bit longer after testing both before and after installing windows. 11 ive discovered that theres a lot to like here, but theres, also not much in the way of new noteworthy performance improvements. The first thing youre going to notice on windows 11, is that the start button and all of the items pinned to your taskbar are now centered along the bottom of your screen. Theres, a few extra icons there too. Next to the start. Button is a shortcut to reveal all of your virtual desktops, on which you can arrange open, apps and windows to your liking.
Then theres the widget button that will prompt a widget menu to slide out from the left side of your screen. Finally, theres the chat app, which you can use to message: friends, family and co workers, click on the start, menu and youll be greeted by its completely new look. The search bar has moved to the top of the pop over with pinned apps just below that and theres a button to view all of your installed apps as well, and then theres a recommended section where youll find shortcuts to recent files and apps. It took me a few days to get acclimated to the new start menu. Not only is it in the middle of the screen now, but it defaults to lacking any sort of shortcuts to things like file explorer or the settings app next to the power button. You can manually add those shortcuts among others. You can also move the start button back to the bottom left corner of the screen. Thus far, ive fought off temptation to move it back, but i cant tell you how many times ive absent mindedly moved the mouse pointer to the bottom left corner of the screen and clicked expecting to see the start. Menu pop up muscle memory is hard to break. If the taskbar icons were larger, itd be all too easy to say. This particular update in windows 11 feels very mac os like, and i can see why some would even say that right now in its current form, but the first time you click and the start menu shoots up from the start button, its very clear youre, still using Windows, live tiles are no longer present on the start menu instead, youll have to get accustomed to using the new widgets panel that slides out from the left edge of the screen.
If you have a two in one or a laptop with a touch screen, you could swipe from the left edge towards the middle of your screen to view the widgets. The top of the panel is where you can add one of the 11 different widgets currently available, ranging from weather and stocks to traffic and sports scores, theres, even a family safety widget. So you can keep tabs on your kids screen time and approve any requests. Unfortunately, you cant add any third party widgets to the panel, so youre stuck with what microsoft includes. I never really used live titles in windows. 10. I was not a big fan. I actually found them more annoying and more work to manage than they were worth, but the change to widgets is something i found myself using if for no other reason than to skim the never ending news feed thats below the widgets ive already customized. I do wish, however, that there were more options for widgets. One of my favorite changes in windows 11. Is the new settings app instead of the main screen showing buttons that take you to each category and subcategory of a particular setting? The left side of the app has every top level setting such as apps or system. When you select a category, the list remains visible. While you adjust any settings to your liking, for instance, selecting personalization from the list of settings which also has new themes for light and dark modes, allows me to quickly change the desktop background, accent, colors and the like, without reloading the entire settings window, as was the Case in windows, 10.
, the new snap assist tool is another update, im learning to appreciate when arranging windows. On your desktop, for example, you can still drag the windows to the edge of the screen to snap them into a specific position, but in windows 11 you can now hover your mouse pointer over the enlarge button to see various layouts for you to pick from. There are several options, such as a 50 50 split, a 75 20 split and a grid layout which lets you view up to four different apps each taking a quarter of the screen, whats more. If you move away from the snap group and start doing something else, you can return to the same layout by hovering your mouse cursor over the apps icon in the taskbar and selecting the previous layout docking and undocking. Your laptop from an external monitor will now remember your desktops and window placement. Instead of forcing you to rearrange your apps every time you connect or disconnect one more feature that i think is worth calling out is the new chat app its part of the microsoft teams, but it also allows you to send and receive text messages with your contacts. Even if they arent using microsoft teams, i was able to exchange messages with my wife directly to her phone number, who can then reply directly from the messages thread on her iphone? No app required Music for as much as microsoft has talked about gaming at press events.
For windows 11 and the new surface devices there really arent a whole lot of new features related to gaming. In this update, there are a few though first up is auto hdr a carryover feature from the xbox series x and s consoles, and if you have an hdr monitor, you should notice an immediate difference in how games. Look thanks to windows 11, automatically converting sdr images to hdr images for a brighter more vivid picture. Next up is direct storage. Once games are updated or released with support for direct storage, your pc will use the gpu to load images and assets directly from an nvme ssd, something that is usually done by the cpu. The end result faster load times. Unfortunately, no games currently support it. Thus far, microsoft says the tech will come to games in the future, but theres no word on exactly when. Hopefully soon, though. Finally, microsoft has combined the xbox and xbox game pass apps. That means you no longer need to rely on two different apps for all your xbox gaming needs. I enjoyed the merged interface and frankly, there was never a need for two apps, the three of those features arent exactly the most exciting updates for windows. 11.. That said, theres potential for direct storage to be an impressive update and welcome addition to the new operating system once games are updated or gained support. But there are some caveats you need to know, namely that youll need an nvme ssd with one terabyte of storage and a gpu that supports directx 12.
. I do like how theres a single xbox app now, instead of an xbox app and an xbox game pass app. I can now easily find the games. I want to install and play or start a cloud gaming session with just a few clicks. Of course, youll need an xbox game, pass ultimate subscription to use xbox cloud gaming and remember xbox cloud gaming is still in beta and there are surely some geeks and quirks that microsoft is still ironing out. For example, during my time testing, i was frequently disconnected from the game and kicked back to my desktop due to connection issues that happened even though im using a 1.2 gigabit per second hardwired connection. Thankfully, i could immediately jump back into the same game and pick up where i left off it wasnt too much of a hassle for a slow paced game like mlbs. The show 21, but itd be a different story. If i was playing a fast paced game like say gears 5., what about performance in regular non cloud games to test for differences between the operating system? I went through igns, typical benchmark process with windows 10 and then again after updating to windows 11.. I didnt see any drastic improvements in gaming performance. The only outlier was the metro exodus benchmark going from 59 frames per second to 82 frames per second, i triple checked the settings and results on all of the benchmarks before installing windows 11 and everything was correct.
I am at a loss as to why there was a huge leap in performance here, while the rest of the tests all showed numbers that were within a few points of each other. Beyond our standard benchmarks, i spent a lot of time playing gears 5 and mobs. The show 21 via xbox cloud gaming, as well as dropping in on warzone warzone, would average between 110 and 120 frames per second with all of its graphics settings, maxed out on both windows, 10 and after updating to windows. 11.. Not everything that microsoft announced. That was coming to windows 11, actually shipped android apps are the most noteworthy example. Windows 11 has native support for android apps, meaning you can install and run android apps directly on your pc without any extra software, but the functionality isnt live yet a forthcoming update will add, amazons app store, which has its own collection of android apps that you can Install and use its the same app store that amazon uses on its fire tablets. So, while the selection of android apps isnt as robust as it is for the google play store, there are plenty of options. Another feature thats missing is cortana and its going to stay missing its a conscious decision that microsoft made – and you know what im perfectly fine with that Music windows. 11 looks fantastic but thats, where the excitement stops. There arent any immediate, apparent gaming improvements and its not clear exactly when well see them combine the nearly identical performance and the fact that some features like the refreshed microsoft store, are making their way to windows 10, soon and theres very little incentive to rush out and Upgrade right now for more windows.