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Windows 10 review: It's familiar, it's powerful, but the Edge browser falls short

Mark Hachman | July 27, 2015
We may as well refer to Windows 10 as a date, or an hour, as much as an operating system. It's a moment in time. A month from now, it will have changed, evolved, improved. But right now? Microsoft has shipped an operating system that was meticulously planned and executed with panache, but whose coat of fresh paint hides some sticks and baling wire.

The lone bright spot is Microsoft's actual Movies & TV store--once you get there. Microsoft visually mumbles that, you know, there's a video store where you could shop for movies, and sure, if you'd like a link, it might be able to provide one. There's a wealth of content to buy and rent, at reasonable prices. Just enter your password (or your PIN) and, provided you have a credit card on file, it's yours. There are a number of caveats, though, which are worth reviewing. 

Mail and Calendar: a very capable free app

Until recently, accessing your Exchange-hosted email and calendar on a smartphone was a bit of a trick. On Windows, where you can either browse via a website or a native app like Outlook, reading email is rather basic. And so is the Mail app, as it turns out.

Mail follows Microsoft's free productivity app strategy--it does nearly everything you want: reading email, browsing attachments, even modern conveniences like Microsoft's Clutter, which filters out the less-important email that doesn't quite qualify as spam. About the only real deficiency I noted was Microsoft Edge's inability to open a PDF file that had been emailed to me, as well as the lack of out-of-office notifications.

Mail has definitely improved. When I tried to hunt down an old email a week or so back, Mail couldn't find it. Now it can, across Exchange and Outlook and more.

As you might expect, Mail doesn't maintain the tabs that Gmail does (Promotions, Social, Updates, and the like), instead dumping them all out into one giant stream. The related Calendar app can also a bit crowded once you let in all the stuff you sort of have to tolerate: the inevitable birthdays of Facebook friends, U.S. holidays, plus your personal and work calendars. There aren't any quick to-do lists, though--in Microsoft's world, that's OneNote's domain.

Next: Even more Windows 10 apps: Xbox, People, Calculate, Solitaire

The Xbox app: Where you'll go to relax

Windows 10's Xbox app is made for gamers, and it's the portal to Microsoft's entertainment offerings--or most of them, anyway.

Surprisingly, the Xbox app supports both Windows 8 and Windows 10 PC games that were connected to Microsoft's Live services, as well as games you might have owned and played on either the Xbox 360 or Microsoft's latest console, the Xbox One. If you own or have played games on any of these platforms, chances are you'll see a list of those games when you first log in, as well as any achievements you may have completed.

Unlike the similar home screen under your account on, the Xbox app is more like a traditional social network, with a social timeline that dominates the app. Here you can chat with your friends, share game clips, and track your achievements--both what you've already accomplished and what you hope to achieve. You can also "follow" games and gamers.


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