One of the tell-tale signs of a growing app ecosystem is when the store gets flooded with earnest Calendar apps. The latest comes in the form of a major update for Hope Calendar, bringing it to Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
The developers of Hope Calendar aim to make the most functional and intuitive calendar app on the Windows platform. To achieve this, they've made an app very similar to Microsoft's own Outlook Calendar app, but with a few added refinements, including simpler and more obvious controls. It's so similar in fact that it actually delegates appointment creation straight to the actual Outlook Calendar app, which, while not a bad thing, makes me question why we need the middle man.
The app in its current state is also missing certain key fundamentals for calendar apps, such as a week view, or an hourly view like the default Outlook Calendar.
What you get in return for those deficiencies are two signature features that may prove far more useful. One is a heat map, which color-codes your monthly view based on appointment density, and a search function which truly does work in a very intuitive fashion.
On top of those, you get thoroughly customizable live tile, the option to decorate your Calendar with themes based on the seasons, and compatibility with Google Calendar, Outlook, Yahoo, Exchange, Office 365, iCloud, and you've got yourself a decent, if rather sparse, Calendar app. This is just the first version, so expect more features and refinements to be added in time.
I do have some minor criticisms. While the heat map works well on the desktop version of Windows 10 Hope Calendar, on Windows 10 Mobile version, the monthly view is so small that appointments list of dense days completely obscure the visual cues of the heat map, thereby rendering it kind of pointless. The text sizing and alignment also seems like a bit of an after-thought, with strange offsets and obscured text. The tiny text in the monthly view, just doesn't look pleasant. I also don't really see the point in hiding the command bar in agenda.
Thankfully, there is plenty of surface coverage to address this, as Hope Calendar makes emailing feedback easy, and offers a voting system for new features in future updates. Finally, users can also volunteer to participate in early betas of the new app versions to ensure their voices are heard.
The app can be used for free, with premium features and ad-free experience accessible for reasonable prices. Sign of up for the beta preview at the developer's website.