Many times I don`t have the Software handy or I simply don`t have the time/space/willpower to install and configure the toolsets required.
In comes the Microsoft TechNet Virtual Labs.
On this page you will find a gallery with dozens of virtual environments that you can fire up use for 90 Minutes. These are basically sets of virtual machines with all the tools required to get your first hands-on experience with the newest functionality in SQL Server (or a range of other Microsoft products for that matter) , they also include lab guides with steps to complete.
These Labs do have their faults though, I have found the inability to copy from the clipboard in and out of the virtual machines particularly frustrating, the performance is not mind-blowing and some browser configurations seem buggy.
But it is a great starting point if you want to get some hands-on playtime.