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After two months of waiting, the new Windows 10 Preview disappoints

Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview version 2
  • On April 13, 2015

Good and Bad things about the new Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview

Microsoft released the second version of Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview on Friday. Unlike the first build available to just a few smartphones, the new version can be installed on almost all of the current models. Only Lumia 930 and Lumia Icon can’t get the update because of an ongoing bug that is still to be resolved.

Like any pre-production software, you can expect many bugs and glitches, so it is not a good idea to run this on a primary device. Microsoft detailed most of the problems, but you could expect some other small issues after installing Windows 10 which are not included in the list.

I’ve been running the new build on a Lumia 920 for three days now, and it leaves me mixed feelings – good and bad. After two months of waiting for a new release, Windows 10 is very, very raw and unstable, even more than the first release. It is obvious that this is a work in progress, but there are some disturbing things I notice:

Inconsistent UI: While it is obvious that Microsoft is trying to add new functionalities and make the platform friendlier, this is at the expense of the sleek and consistent interface of Windows 8.0 and 8.1. The Phone app, for example, has lost the ability to swipe, which is key navigation method for Windows Phone. Instead, you need to press the pivot icons at the top, and they are so small and unresponsive, that can drive you crazy.

These so-called new universal apps look and behave differently, while we are supposed to get consistent experience. Menus are located at different places. Some apps have hamburger menus (Outlook Mail), sometimes we can see the traditional Windows bar at the bottom (Project Spartan), and sometimes both are implemented (Maps, OneDrive).

People app windows 10 preview

The new People App is very weak even for an alpha. The profile images are round and small. Individual contact pages have a new background in the theme’s accent color instead of black.

The Settings Menu shows signs of life, but for now it looks very raw, unpolished and unresponsive. I don like the new round toggles in individual settings.

What I like:

Outlook Mail and Calendar are in a good shape for such an early release. They have the new hamburger button to access settings, but do not have swipe. Both apps look modern and clean. You can send mails and apply many basic built-in Word formatting options to your texts. Mails are read or deleted by swiping which is great. You can switch between Mail and Calendar from the app menus.

Outlook Mail client for Windows 10

The new Maps app has improved a lot. New functionalities and tools have been added and Microsoft have used Bing and Nokia HERE expertise to provide the best possible user experience. The start is OK, but some polishing is needed. Maps and Outlook should match the phone theme – dark or white. For now, we have only white screens.

Project Spartan: We can use the new rendering engine and features like Reading view and Lists. This early version of the mobile browser is good. It loads pages quickly, and doesn’t crash as often as expected. The address bar is at the top, but Microsoft is considering re-positioning at the bottom (as IE) which would be great.

Spartan browser

Overall, Microsoft has a lot of work to do to finish Windows 10 Mobile in late summer as promised. This build released on Friday cannot be used as a daily driver and I do not recommend installing it on a primary phone. Hopefully, many things should be improved in upcoming builds, so more people can start testing the OS and send feedback.