- Ever since we got the news that Microsoft is releasing a new OS, the tech world has been very interested in the new features it would introduce.
- And for a good reason, because the new design that Windows 11 brings to the table is previously unseen at Microsoft.
- Users will be able to enjoy productivity enhancements like never before, which will optimize their processes and streamline their work.
- The American giant hasn't ignored gamers either, and is giving them features for faster loading, and an impressive gaming experience.
It’s official. Microsoft has just announced Windows 11 as their next big bet for the upcoming age. In a world where consumers are driven by a pandemic, the new version comes with elements that help users work efficiently, play easily, and consume content on the go. All of that while feeling at home.
In an online event, Panos Panay, the chief product officer at Microsoft, has orchestrated the proper unveiling of Windows 11.
We have witnessed firsthand the presentation of a wide range of new or upgraded features in Windows, at a much higher scale than the ones available in the SE leak weeks ago.
While many users complained about the lack of innovation in Windows 11, mostly based on information present in an unfinished copy, we personally get a different view after witnessing the launch event and using Windows 11 day by day.
The new OS comes with features that will change the game for many personal users, gamers, and all those working from a PC.
What are the best features of Windows 11?
New UI design
In terms of overall appearance, the new interface certainly manages to impress at first glance. We’ve also observed transparency features that make the windows seem glass-like (pun intended). We’ve witnessed applications that move in and out of the user focus while preserving the colors of background apps.
Vertical tabs – The Edge browser now has a way to stack tabs vertically, instead of horizontally. It should make windows look less cluttered.
Support for tablets – you will have voice commands, floating keyboards with swipe support, haptics when using a stylus, and much more.
Widgets make a comeback with their own specific panel and various options to configure them. You can swipe this menu from the right side of the screen, on tablets.
In the new OS, you’ll notice that Windows Tiles are gone from the Start Menu, but have been replaced by Widgets with a toggle screen that pops up and disappears.
New Start Menu and Taskbar
I haven’t seen a visual make-over this significant since Windows 8, but that proved to be not that good. Microsoft is pushing the envelope again with important changes to the user interface and visuals.
The new design has a taskbar with a centered Start Menu and a smarter way to find results. When looking for an item, Windows 11 will search for it on the PC, OneDrive, and the Web.
A redesigned light mode and dark mode are also present, including rounded corners that are basically everywhere. New themes have also been showcased and new ways to tile windows have been introduced.
Users may notice that they now have a choice of three desktop customization themes, Light, Dark, and Custom.
Snap Layouts and Snap Groups
As I’ve mentioned in the intro, the pandemic has changed how people work. Windows 10 usage has grown exponentially in this scenario.
Windows 11 will help all those working from home, and from this angle, we’re seeing some impressive productivity enhancements being added.
Snap Layouts is a new multitasking feature that allows users with bigger monitors to split it in various ways. You can then save it in Snap Groups, which will be accessible on the taskbar.
Desktops – users will be able to create separate desktops, in a way Linux has allowed for years, with each desktop having its own icons, background, and taskbar. Thus, you can switch easily from your work to your home scenario.
Dark mode and rounded corners
Microsoft Teams is now integrated
Built-in Microsoft Teams – a simple and efficient move for Microsoft, as Teams is now present in Windows 11 out of the box. There were no changes on the licensing front announced.
This great communication platform comes integrated directly into this system, as opposed to Skype, which will only become accessible in the Microsoft Store.
Docking and Undocking
Plugging external monitors – removing the plug out of an external monitor will move the windows opened there in a minimized state, on the primal monitor.
Once the secondary screen is plugged back in, Windows revert to their initial state without any user intervention.
Built in Game and Xbox Pass
The best way to game is on a PC, but Microsoft hasn’t really been a big part of that. In a try to make the Store a place for gaming as well and properly compete with Steam, several enhancements have been added.
Xbox Game Pass will be built directly into Windows 11 via the Xbox app, and gamers will have access to 100+ games for a monthly fee. Games can be bought directly from the PC.
DirectStorage for a faster loading
One Xbox feature expected or desired by users and especially gamers is DirectStorage, which allows games to be loaded directly from the graphics card, as they are faster.
The new OS comes with this feature and allows users to load content directly from SSD to GPU memory without using so much CPU, meaning less time spent waiting and faster loading time.
Auto HDR for an impressive gaming experience
Auto HDR is also brought to Windows 11 in a matter similar to the Xbox. Games played on PCs will now benefit from an HDR stream without any intervention from the game developer or activation from the player.
As stated by Microsoft’s officials, over a thousand games will be enhanced for gaming fans and new operating system enthusiasts.
Android Apps are coming to Windows, and they are going to be integrated in the Start Menu & taskbar. The new Intel Bridge Technology will allow Android apps to run natively on Windows.
You will be able to launch Android apps directly from Windows, finding them in the Microsoft store through the Amazon app store.
The Microsoft Store has been refreshed and now comes with a sidebar that allows quick access between different categories and generally a redesigned app component.
Even though the functionality remains the same, and it’s very user-friendly, the redesign still adds to the constellation of changes.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the new Windows 11 operating system, check out our comprehensive guide and discover our impression after the first build.
Also, if you have any other suggestions or questions about the new operating system due to launch in the autumn, feel free to check out the comments section below.