Now that I’ve installed the recently leaked Windows 10 build 10051 on my Surface Pro 3, I’ve been able to check out the new universal Mail and Calendar apps. As expected, they work much like their Windows Phone counterparts, offering some useful features that are not available in the Windows 10 versions of these apps.
I quickly wrote about the leak in New Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 Leak Contains New Mail and Calendar Apps. But since then I was able to install the build, and while there doesn’t appear to be much else new beyond these two apps, that’s absolutely fine. I’ve been very curious to see how they work.
Here are some of the changes I’ve noticed so far.
Background image. I’m not sure why anyone would want this, but Mail displays a background image in the setup windows and in the reading pane when no message is chosen. You can choose your own image, of course, but I don’t see a way to turn this off. This image doesn’t appear to display in Calendar anywhere.
No People. While Mail and Calendar are updated in this build, People is nowhere to be seen. Even the old version in unavailable.
Google accounts supported. Finally, you can connect to your Gmail-based email and Google Calendar-based schedule, just as you can with Windows Phone. (But not, curiously, with Mail or Calendar in Windows 8.x.) The account options appear to be very similar to those on Windows Phone.
Microsoft account is automatic. If you sign in with a Microsoft account and that account has associated Outlook.com email and calendars, they will be configured in Mail and Calendar automatically.
Accounts are shared between the two apps. If you configure an account in Mail, it will be available in Calendar as well, and vice versa.
Mail offers a familiar three-pane view. If you’ve ever used any Microsoft email application recently, you will understand how Mail works immediately. And as with most other universal apps, you can collapse the left-side menu to give more room to the Messages and Reading View panes.
Settings. Also as with other universal apps, Settings for both Mail and Calendar appear as a pane on the right side of the app window.
Swipe actions. Mail supports swipe actions in the Messages pane: Swipe left to set/clear a flag or swipe right to delete. You can configure these actions (Mark as read/Mark as unread and Move are also available) or just disable the feature too. (In a smart move, Mail actually advertises this feature via a pop-up window too.)
Calendar is pretty. While most universal apps are, frankly, kind of stark, Calendar is actually pretty colorful, especially if you have multiple connected calendars and events.
Multiple calendar views. Calendar sports Day, Work Week, Week, and Month views, as you’d expect, but you can also choose from 2 to 6 day views using a dropdown off of Day in the meu.