App of the day: Outlook.com review (Android)

Android gets email right, as long as you're loyal to Gmail. You will have a frustrating time if you're a Hotmail or Yahoo user, and want to enjoy the same rich experience as you'd get within Google's own apps. And that's not much of a surprise.

And with Microsoft being a bit "one track minded" sometimes, it's hardly a surprise that its Outlook app looks so entirely like the version of email you get on Windows Phone. But that's not actually a bad thing. It does jar somewhat, when you compare it to other email apps, but the Windows Phone UI is still one of the cleanest and usable of modern phone interfaces.

Outlook.com

Format
Android
Price
Free
Where
Google Play

Aside from the visual look though, there's not much difference in terms of operation here from any other app. You can choose how much email you sync to the phone, from a week up to longer periods back. Selecting longer will slow the initial sync, but shouldn't affect you again from then on. You can also choose how often you want to check for new messages. If you use your Outlook or Hotmail a lot, then you'll quite likely want to set this to "push". If your MS email account is used less frequently, save some power by setting it to check only every few hours or so.

You can also opt to have the app sync your Hotmail/Live/Outlook contacts and calendar with your Android phone. This is all well and good, but beware it will quite likely fill up your calendar with birthdays and alerts for things you don't care about. And the same can be true for contacts, you can end up with a lot of people in your phone who you really don't care about.

What we love about the app is the clarity with which it is presented. The font is easy to read and well designed. The app feels quick and responsive, even perhaps as light on its toes as the Gmail app for Android. Most of all though, it's simple. There's no messing around configuring loads of stuff, just give it your MS account details, and you're in.

The only real problem we have with the app is that it means you'll have yet another decentralised way to access your email. Really, we'd like to see Google make the Gmail app more universal, and accept other accounts. Certainly, email is much better on iOS, where you can have a unified inbox. Something Android has always struggled with slightly, with its own "universal" app being far less pleasant to use than the Gmail app. Although, third-party clients do offer a solution to this problem too, should you want a more stylish and functional solution. 



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