Since its debut last October, many media and consumers have been looking forward to the official launch of Windows 10X. Although it’s still until the end of the year, the Windows 10X SDK and simulator, released today, can feel the changes brought about by the new system in advance. All you need is a Hyper-V-enabled Windows 10 system (non-home) and anyone can try Windows 10X.
After first-hand experiencing the new Windows 10X simulator, Tom Warren, editor of themedia TheVerge, first felt like a more modern version of Windows 10, ready for the rich device form of the future.
Windows 10X is designed for collapsible or dual-screen devices, so Microsoft has made a lot of optimizations in this area. The most notable change in the first simulator is the new Windows 10X Start menu. It no longer includes live tiles that are common on Windows 8/10 and windows Phones, and has a cleaner design.
The Windows 10X Start menu contains fixed applications and a list of recent documents. The entire look look looks more like the current task launcher, allowing users to search for applications, documents, and even web content, which also supports basic voice input. However, Cortana’s settings were not found in Windows 10X settings.
In addition to the new Start menu, the Experience of Windows 10X and the current Windows 10 are very much displayed. Visually, you can choose both Dark and Light modes, but the biggest change to UX in Windows 10X is the multitasking of your app.
Unlike Windows 10 systems, you can’t let applications float anywhere on your desktop. By default, apps open on a single screen, and you can drag them onto both displays with a mouse or touch to fully stretch and span dual-screen devices.
Microsoft also uses gestures for multitasking, some of which feel similar to gestures in Windows 10 and Windows 8. In addition to the minimal minimizes and close buttons, touch in Windows 10X can sometimes be a little less convenient.
When it comes to gestures, you can swipe up from the bottom of the display to access the Start menu or the list of running applications on the taskbar. You can also access the updated Action Center from the taskbar, which includes quick access to settings such as volume, brightness, Bluetooth, rotation lock, etc.
Task View, which allows you to view applications running on Windows 10X, is also updated, and you can use it to summon the app to a specific monitor. If you’re used to using the old Windows Desktop or File Explorer, it’s a shame to tell you that neither of them appears on Windows 10X. On the Windows 10X desktop you can right-click to change the screen wallpaper, and there are no application icons or documents stored here.
Similarly, traditional File Explorer has been replaced by modern File Explorer, which will guide Windows 10X users in using the content library and support external devices for file transfer.
Another new feature in Windows 10X is Wonder Bar. It can be placed above or below the hardware keyboard, or it can appear as part of the software keyboard in the operating system. It’s similar to Apple’s Touch Bar and offers a wealth of input options, such as GIFs or emojis, or even a software trackpad.
Overall, Windows 10X is still in its early days and feels like a better and modern version of Windows 10. Many of the features of Windows 10X need to be further tweaked and polished, but the overall experience is still close to Windows 10.