Hands-on with the official OneDrive app for Windows 10 (video)

Posted by:Staff Writer

The long-awaited universal OneDrive app for the Windows 10 platform is finally here.

Now, I’m going to be frank. If you were hoping for functional replacement of the lauded Windows 8 placeholders, you’re going to be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for a sleek, robust way to manage your OneDrive files through a fast, lean, well-thought out and modern universal app, you’re still probably going to be disappointed.

The UI of the new OneDrive app is sort of like a combination between the OneDrive web app, and the phone versions, only a bit less functional. There are the Windows 10 Mobile app bar buttons on the top right, and the content layout just like the web app.

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OneDrive UI

Missing is the ability to upload folders directly. You also can’t right-click any of the files for context menus or even for selection, which is shocking considering that the web app has that ability, and, more strikingly, this omission goes completely against the concept of a “universal” app, which should automatically adapt to any UI, not just the latest touch UI. Even things that you’d think a Windows 10 app would obviously take advantage of, such as notifications for when your files are done transferring, aren’t there.

The sad reality is, even with its basic feature set, many things still don’t work correctly. Thumbnails don’t work. Files get lost in translation. Uploads that have errors are never really adequately explained to you. I suspect many of you may not encounter these issues, which is great, but the unfortunate reality is I can only report on what I see.

Now that’s not to say the app doesn’t have a few tricks up its sleeve. Drag and drop functionality works brilliantly.

If you open an office document through OneDrive, it’ll actually open it through the corresponding app directly. Any changes you save to the document get saved directly onto OneDrive itself, rather than through an intermediary file like with the placeholders.

To be honest though, I suspect that’s not entirely true. For instance, if you open a non-Microsoft document, such as an art file from an image editing program, it’ll open it up in the app directly, which is great, but if you try to save it, you end up in some kind of alternate dimension with a directory you’ve never heard of. When I saw this, I thought this was great, because I could just overwrite the parallel universe file, and the new file would magically find its way into OneDrive. Sadly it just doesn’t work like that. Basically, what I might’ve been seeing is a glimpse of how the app handles its own sandboxed local storage.

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OneDrive UI

There are also some other neat polishes, like opening photos or videos that stream inside the app directly. The UIs of these interfaces are strikingly similar to their equivalents in the Movies & TV and Photos apps, so maybe this can be taken as a sign that there are plans for greater integration with the Windows OS in the future.

Or, maybe this is just a first of what will eventually be decent and full-featured OneDrive app experience.