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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 Xbox app could eventually morph into something like Twitch, the existing game streaming service owned by Amazon.  But the real selling point of the Xbox app is its ability to stream games from the Xbox One to the Windows 10 PC.

Microsoft's thinking is that if a teen's parents are downstairs watching Dancing with the Stars, that's fine. The teen can log in to the Xbox One from upstairs and play anyway.

Streaming a game requires both the Xbox One and the Windows 10 PC to be set up to allow game streaming. Within the app, you simply navigate down the lefthand nav bar until you reach the Connect button, then find the Xbox One on the network. You can then either hand-select a game that you already own to play from the app itself, or stream the Xbox One interface itself. Note that you'll also need to own an Xbox One or Xbox 360 controller to play; neither mouse nor keyboard are allowed.

Setting up game streaming for the first time is a bit tricky. I found I had the best results when the Windows 10 PC was connected wirelessly, and the Xbox One was powered on. Once connected, though, I found I could power up the Xbox One remotely and play from a PC connected via ethernet.

"Your mileage may vary" is a good rule of thumb for the Xbox game streaming experience. Latency determines whether your trigger will fire the game's blaster at the right time. The farther you're away from the router, the more chance the game video will start smearing. (You can also use a wired ethernet connection.) The app therefore requires you to be on the same network as the Xbox. In general, though, I found the video quality to be pretty close to the One's native 1080p resolution, with little latency, even when streaming Forza Horizon 2, a racing game. It definitely works.

Eventually I suspect Microsoft may tuck the TV & Video app inside the Xbox app. Yes, I'm aware that gamers want the Xbox One to focus on games first. But if you're going to watch video, you may as well watch it on the TV, which an Xbox is typically connected to.

Other apps: Some old favorites remain 

Some of the best apps in Windows 10 remain essentially unchanged from Windows 8, including Sports, Weather, News, and Money. They're excellent sources of information. Sure, your broker may have more concrete insights than the Money app, and ESPN might deliver a more comprehensive view of the July baseball trade market. But for the casual fan (are there casual fans of weather?), the topical Windows 10 apps fit the bill. (Microsoft has decided that some of its other apps, such as the Travel app, will eventually be relegated to Web sites.)

 

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