I have never been a fan of Hotmail (or of most Microsoft products, for that matter). But they are the industry standard and as such, have most of us in a position of dependence. But I have adapted. I use Yahoo mail for my personal use and the Outlook client at work.
Tonight an elderly friend asked me to look at her computer. She had always used Hotmail. Now it was Outlook, and she couldn't figure out why. After some research, I found that Microsoft had 'changed' from Hotmail to the 'new' (almost typed 'ew') Outlook. We could not figure out a way she could forward an e-mail. Like her spiritual chain letters... you know the type: 'Please send this message that Jesus loves them to ten of you close friends and know that all of you are loved.' That sort of thing.
Well, if there is a way to do that, or even forward other kinds of e-mail (like a meeting agenda) to specific people, we couldn't find it. I am going to get her set up with Yahoo, as it is much easier, but she wants to import her contacts. Outlook is also not cooperating with that... Overall, I would say it's a bust, unless there is something I am just not seeing.
The best thing about the Outlook.com page is the button that lets you switch back to the old Hotmail.com Web pages. Even if the Outlook.com pages worked well, which (as you noted) they don't, they're still flat-out ugly, hard to use and waste enormous amounts of screen space. I paid good money for the pixels on my display, I don't want 90 percent of them white all the time.
Fortunately, I use Office Outlook on my desktop and laptop so I rarely need to use the Web pages.
You are dead on target and describe my feelings about Outlook.com.
I will be wise in future NOT to believe those so-called independent reviews (the basis on which I switched to Outlook) and will continue my love-hate relationship with Microsoft.