Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Windows 10 System Apps Review: People

Note: This page is a review which forms part of the post Windows 10 System Apps Review

What’s this app for?

This is your Windows 10 address book or contacts list. An app that allows you pull in all your contacts (family, business, and friends) from different accounts (Microsoft, Gmail etc.) and access and edit them all from the same place on your PC.

Does it do the job it was primarily designed for?

Yes, I believe so. It’s not the greatest contact management system in the world, but for most consumers who may not have ever bothered with such an electronic filing system before, they will at least have the ability to organise their contacts in Windows 10. Besides, even if they didn’t want to, they’ll find that there’s a number of apps that integrate into the people app which means you can’t get away from this app. Any sniff of a contact reference in any Microsoft Universal app, and you’ll be whizzed to the People app to access further information on that contact; the Mail and Messaging apps are a couple of the obvious links into the People App.

So, what’s in this app? Well, all your contacts from whatever accounts you’ve probably already set up via the Mail app that support such a facility are in here. So, Gmail, Outlook.com, exchange etc, contacts will likely already be pulled into your People App. For sanity’s sake, contacts are in alphabetical order and there is a search facility right at the top and front of the app to help you narrow in on who you are looking for quicker.

Once you’ve found and clicked on a contact, up pops their details screen with a plain colour background. From here the world is your oyster, or maybe it’s more likely that many things are now possible. Click on a contact’s email address and it’ll launch your default email client and have a new email ready to compose to that contact. Click on an address and up pops the Maps app to show you where that location is and how to get to it, amongst other related information. Certainly this is highly useful and better than copy pasting things between apps. You can also, should you have a contact who you simply can’t get enough of, pin that contact to your start menu as a tile.

You can also link the contact between accounts (i.e. if you have the same person in Gmail and Outlook.com), share the contact (generally this is as a .vcf file) or delete them. Mu-ha-ha. More importantly you can edit their details by adding a photo and all the usual name, number and address details as well as multiple other items from a drop-down box, such as siblings, birthday or just notes. All the usual fields of information you’d expect are all there, allowing quite an extensive amount of detail to be saved. Naturally of course, contacts from the likes of Gmail or outlook will be saved to the cloud, although exactly how quickly they sync I’m not sure, but I believe it’s almost instantaneous.

Settings wise things have improved since Windows 10’s inception thankfully, but not a lot. You can’t remove any accounts you may not actually want to see the contacts from (accounts previously added via the Mail app) but you can at least now filter the lists so you can don’t have certain account’s contacts show up all together and massively confuse you. Other than that, the only other alterations are very basic, in terms of the automatic sort order of the contact list and whether first name or surname is first in the display order. Hmmm.

What’s the alternative?

Well, you could try to ignore the People App, but chances are if you are a heavy user of Microsoft’s system apps you’ll not be able to ever get away with it. So going for an alternative isn’t always an option. However, if you are syncing your contacts from the likes of Gmail or outlook.com they have online versions of their specific contacts tools, although you will of course only be able to edit contacts from that specific account.

Hit, Miss, or Maybe?

Hit; I feel a little loathed to praise the People App but there’s no doubting that it ticks the box for an electronic address book that does the job and provides a few nice features. 

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