App review: Outlook.com

I bet I'm not the only one out there that wishes they could go back in time and choose a less embarrassing user name for their first email account.

NameWebmail service: Outlook.com
Rating:3.5/5
Contact:outlook.com

I bet I’m not the only one out there that wishes they could go back in time and choose a less embarrassing user name for their first email account. If you’re like me your first email provider was Hotmail, which remains the dominant email platform to this day.

Hotmail is dead folks, and Microsoft has replaced it with Outlook.com, and now the landgrab is on for slightly more mature email accounts. But with stiff competition from Gmail, and poor public perception of its predecssor, does Outlook.com have what it takes to win your email back?

The Outlook.com experience is based on the Metro style design philosophy (oops, I mean “Windows 8-style UI”). Where Hotmail was full of bubbles and chrome, Outlook.com is unapologetically minimal. The design is refreshing and important because it makes getting to the folders and settings you want much easier than with Hotmail.

The screen is split into three panels. The left panel has your folders and inbox, the spacious middle section has email content, and the right panel has a contextually aware display bar which shows you information on the sender and allows you to search for them on Bing.

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A nice touch to this info bar is it scrapes Twitter and Facebook for public photos of the sender, which it assigns to the contact as a thumbnail - helping remove all those blank avatars. You can also directly post updates to either service directly from Outlook.com.

Following in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft has added an instant messaging function built directly into Outlook.com. The IM feature isn’t limited to chatting with other Outlook.com users though, you can get in touch with your Facebook friends from this console too.

It will be interesting to see if in the future Microsoft adds support for Skype, like it does with its unified communications tool Lync in Office 365.

It’s hard for me to imagine ever giving up Gmail because of how entrenched I am in the Google ecosystem.

Microsoft doesn’t have this pull for me, but for new users it has added its SkyDrive cloud storage product out of the box. Quick access can be made to SkyDrive directly from the toolbar, and the service can be used to create and send documents via your Outlook.com address.

I won’t be swapping my personal email to Outlook.com anytime soon, but if Microsoft continue to add features to its cloud products who knows what the future might bring.

Tags emailreviewoutlookMicrosoftoutlook.com

6 Comments

Anonymous

1

I think it's great.

It works well, it looks good, the ability to create rules and get rid of junk is improved, and I like the linking to your social media and SkyDrive.

It's nice to see the old free service upgraded.

Anonymous

2

I think it is really good, especially on a tablet as it must have been designed with touch in mind, its really easy. and the skydrive does work seamlessly too

all in all I think it is all good

Anonymous

3

Resurrected my old hotmail account a few weeks ago and transferred across - its still going strong steadily filling with an epic amount of junk mail after all these years - so spam filter - unimproved. First step after logging "you must install Silverlight to use this feature" which was the send message feature. Umm no thanks - and the machine I was on was not my own so couldn't install it anyway. So a mailbox where you cant send mail. Great stuff

Anonymous

4

The sky drive interface was updated before this article was published.

Anonymous

5

How many computer mag writers does google have on it's payroll? Entrenched in the google ecosystem! Get a life buddy.

Been using outlook since it came and have to say it beats gmail all to hell. You can configure your emails to do practically anything. The integration with Skydrive is seamless and the ability to send large attachments using Skydrive is very useful, to say the least.

If MS is keeping with it's current update schedule, calendar should be this week.

Anonymous

6

I agree with an earlier comment. 'Skydrive' was updated before this article was published so you got ur facts wrong mate :-) another nice upgrade was 'Contacts' as well. I have used it to send fb and twitter messages to friends directly from the new updated services. The new 'outlook' looks good too. Also if you send an email it suggests their facebook add/(twitter follow??)

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