I know that there have been quite a few people who have already visited the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale since it opened on October 22, 2009. However, I was out of town on the grand opening and have been either sick or out of town since then and have not had a chance to go visit until today. I took the family with me for the visit today and thought I would share my thoughts and impressions.
Upon walking into the store, I was welcomed by a friendly employee with a smile on his face. I walked around to all the different stations that were setup in the store to see what was being displayed. There were Zunes, Dell Laptops, XBox 360 consoles, Surface consoles and more. One of the more impressive items in the store was along the walls as you can see in the following three photos.
What you see along the walls are essentially TV monitors / computer screens that are driven by multiple Windows 7 computers. The entire wall is essentially a nice big computer screen with lots of changing items and fluid backgrounds. My son thought that was one of the coolest things in the entire store.
As I was walking through the store, I ran into a former team mate by the name of Talon Morris who is now the Store Trainer. Talon was kind enough to give me (and the kids) a quick tour of the store – including the “back office”. What I realized I didn’t take a picture of was the huge touch screen flat screen TV at the back of the store. I definitely want that in my house!!!!!
I of course asked the question that my friends have been asking me - “What is special about the computer systems sold at the Microsoft store??” Talon informed me that the systems here are pretty much a “plain” install. What this means is that the systems don’t have all the wonderful “extras” that you would normally find on an OEM system. It just has Windows 7 installed with all the drivers, Security Essentials (http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/), Adobe Acrobat Reader and perhaps just a few more utility type programs. The store also offers the customer the ability to apply a skin to their systems. You can bring your own photo in and within a few minutes a skin will be printed which can be applied to the computer (nice sticker essentially). This is a great way to really personalize the outside of your machine. I will have to revisit the store in the future to see if I can get a skin created for my existing laptop. I know this is not free, but even if I had to pay $20 - $30, I still think it would be totally worth it.
I was very happy with my experience at the store and found every employee that I spoke with to be very friendly and helpful. If you live in the Valley or near the Mission Viejo location, I would highly encourage you to visit and let me know what your experience was like.