by Shane O'Neill

Windows 8 Got You Down? Buy a Windows 7 Ultrabook

Jan 18, 20133 mins
Computers and PeripheralsLaptopsMobile

Don't let Microsoft force you to use its two-headed monster Windows 8. There's no shame in buying a Windows 7 ultrabook if it fulfills your needs and is easier on the wallet.

If you need a new Windows ultrabook but you feel alienated by Windows 8’s Frankenstein user interface, fear not, you can still buy a Windows 7 PC and kick it old school.

I had assumed that Windows 7 was off the market. At brick-and-mortar retail stores you are not likely to find many Windows 7 machines on the shelves. If there are any they are greatly outnumbered by Windows 8 hardware.  But there are more options online. Amazon, in particular, has many eye-catching deals to help keep the Windows 7 dream alive.

Windows 7

I’m rarely an advocate of using older technology when newer tech is available. But Windows 8 is proving to be a complicated beast. A recent animated review of Windows 8 drives that point home with humor and a sort of crazed passion.

In its own way, Microsoft is trying to drive people away from a slowly dying PC market and into the arms of the flourishing tablet market. Can’t say I blame them.

But the Windows 8 tile-based UI — formerly called “Metro” and now nameless – remains an uneasy experience if you are using anything but fingers on a screen. As a multi-touch tablet UI, Windows 8 is pretty good, even if the stacked and cluttered tiles will never win any design awards. However, using a trackpad in Windows 8 tile-based UI mode is still uncomfortable enough to frustrate users and using a mouse is an exercise in futility.

On the flip side, the “Desktop” mode in Windows 8 looks and feels like the Windows 7 UI (just without the Start button), but it’s treated as an afterthought. When using it, you will inevitably feel like you are missing out on something. What are all those tiles and apps on the other side? Did I pay for those? And what about the Windows app store? Why am I not using that?

But you shouldn’t feel guilty. Microsoft wants to move on from the PC business while still appearing to provide a traditional PC operating system. Hence the awkward mash-up that is Windows 8. I like to call it a “Tabtrabooklet.” Catchy, isn’t it?

But if you don’t want a tablet interface hanging over your head, there’s still good old reliable, likable, agreeable, traditional, user-friendly Windows 7. Maybe it’s OK to live in the past sometimes.

Here are three cool and affordable Windows 7 ultrabooks currently available on Amazon.

Dell Inspiron i14z-5000sLV 14-Inch Ultrabook

  • Intel Core i5 3317U Processor 1.7GHz
  • 500GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD and 32GB mSATA SSD
  • 14-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • $559.99

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 43752BU 13.3-Inch Ultrabook

  • Intel Core_i5_3317U Processor 1.7GHz (3MB Cache)
  • 500GB 5400rpm Hard Drive, 32 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen, Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • $625.98

Samsung Series 5 NP530U3B-A01US 13.3-Inch Ultrabook

  • Intel Core i5 2467M Processor 1.6GHz
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB Hard Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • $685.40