A very pleasant retail experience with my family, back on Saturday July 7th, just weeks since the Grand Opening in Danbury, CT.
In all honesty, I wasn't expecting too much, and it's an hour away from home, so I won't be going often, not until they build more locations anyway. I've seen Apple stores in local malls, and in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City. I've also seen the Sony and Samsung stores in New York City. So I was pleasantly suprised to see the size of this store, and really enjoyed the visit.
Amongst the bunch, I feel that the Microsoft store may actually become more fun than all of them. The layout and diversity of products make for a nice experience. The numerous laptops on display are impressive. One can only imagine the place filled with Microsoft Surface tablets and Windows 8, just a few months from now.
This particular store was refreshingly larger and brighter than the cramped and crowded Apple store just down the hall, seen here:
One nitpicking thing about the Microsoft Store. I was also at the very first Microsoft store in Scottsdale AZ, on the Monday after its grand opening on Saturday, October 22, 2009. And I do recall lots of Lenovo gear there. So this time around, my wife wasn't too impressed with any laptop in the Danbury CT store, given Microsoft doesn't seem to carry Lenovo at all. Yep, there was not a red TrackPoint to be found nestled between any G and H keys, boo!
Also a little disappointing that no laptop on display had a touchpad that lived up the the Apple Trackpad experience, but that's certainly not the store's fault. And the Vizio laptops were actually pretty impressive, first time I've seen those anywhere.
All in all, it's great to see that these retailers all are starting to get it: the shopper doesn't want to see unplugged smartphones that you can't actually use, or computers and tablets you can't actually try out. The competition benefits all.
And it's always nice to see a lot of folks having fun on a Saturday.
For a much more thoughtful analysis of the visit, and some great pix, see also:
Sep. 11, 2012 Update:
a whole lot more temporary "pop-up" Microsoft stores coming this fall, including nearby-to-me Westfarms Mall in Farmington Connecticut, read more here:
Sep. 21, 2012 Update:
Had the chance to visit the Microsoft Store in Boston that opened 3 weeks ago, where the new logo was first revealed. Using the new iOS 6, found it easy to share the Photo Stream publicly, in a slick way: