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First Look at the New Outlook

A few months back I heard that Hotmail was being replaced by Outlook. At first blush, I thought the Web mail system was being replaced with something that looked and acted a like an HTML version of the PC client. And who doesn't know how to use that?

Instead, to confuse us all, there are now two Outlooks: the PC client and a Web-based replacement for Hotmail.

Reviewers claimed this new Outlook was a big step up, doing a nice job of flagging messages with photos and attachments and putting these into "quick view" mode. This is handy for a couple reasons. These often carry viruses, spam or shams so they can quickly be deleted. In other cases, they are just what we've been looking for, and want to see right away.

Outlook (not sure what we should call the dang thing to distinguish it from the real Outlook) also integrates with social networking, combining Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Gmail and Yahoo contacts into one monster contact file.

It should also integrate well with your Windows Phones and existing Outlook contact lists.

For a Web client, there was one big problem: It was barely functional on a Mac. It couldn't even attach a file. And when you brought it up on the Mac, there was no option to revert back to the old Hotmail. Not cool.

With the beta I also couldn't forward e-mails with files -- it was hard to find options for  an active preview and it only half worked. And with conversation mode, when you forward on an e-mail, the original message is buried under the forwards. And now I have ads along the right-hand side that can't be moved.

Deleting is awkward and is a mistake waiting to happen. You see, when you highlight messages you delete from the top so you can't see all that you are deleting. Weird.

Am I just an Outlook dufus or is the new Outlook less than stellar? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/06/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 Dan Canada

I like the new Outlook. It's clean and easy to use at a time when GMail is becoming increasingly messy. If it's spam filters tum out to be as good (or better!!) than GMail's I'll probably move over to it for my serious communications. Too many spammers have my Gmail address. I know I could just create a new account but why not try something new at the same time?

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 Andre Vermont

I like the new Outlook.com. It has features that I find very useful. One person wrote that they couldn't find the Forward button. All they have to do is click the down arrow next to the Reply option at the top of the page and Forward is one of the options listed. Not real hard. I like that I can actually send email to different folders and not have to see all that email in my Inbox on my tablet or iPod. There are other nice features such as the ability to delete an email, Flag it, or mark it as read, or unread, by hovering over the email and clicking one of the icons that appear. Anti-spam seems decent too.

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 80s Rocker

For one, why is an article being written about the beta release of outlook.com, it has been officially released for quite some time. And to remove the ads, just open up the IM window, doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.Base don the past few article by Doug it seems he is looking for any little thing he can find wrong with a MS product and blog about it. I don't think I've seen a postiive blog from him in quite some time. This article is another example, especially since as another poster noted it is based on the beta release.

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 Cody

I like the new Outlook. It looks nice and once it's loaded it's responsive and intuitive. Key words: Once it's loaded. I don't know what it is, but opening Outlook, for me, bogs my browser down to the point where I'm at a standstill and have to wait for all the constituent parts of the webmail to load. I can see it going through my folders, loading messengers, etc. I don't have this problem with any other website and it's driving me nuts.

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 JC Seattle, WA

I "upgraded" to Outlook.com. A brief, and apparently hallucinatory, vision of OWA had flashed across my mind as I clicked the button. Boy, was I ever disappointed. It's better than Hotmail in my opinion, but then, most mail programs are.

Thu, Dec 6, 2012

To distinguish... Outlook.com is the web version and Outlook or Outlook[version] would be the installed software. Don't feel bad about getting it mixed up. The Microsoft home page still refers to it as Hotmail. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/hotmail/home If you go to the logon page... its branded as Hotmail. Once you log on, its branded as Outlook (but oddly, not Outlook.com). You can find the Outlook.com sign-on by searching on Bing. They must not have paid enough for 1st placement on Google to be as obvious there...

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 Joe

see next message after deleteing was fixed months ago - look in More Mail Settings/Reading Email

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 Doug

Huh? It automatically opens the next one when you delete the one you're reading? I don't see what you guys are seeing. Outlook.com is very easy and intuitive.

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 Doug

I actually like what they've done with it. It's clean an uncluttered. I really don't understand what you mean by deleting is awkward. Click on the message and click delete or hover your mouse over the message and click on the trash can icon. What's difficult about that? Also, it sounds like you did your review based entirely on beta software. You mean there is bugs in beta software? Tell me it ain't so!

Thu, Dec 6, 2012

my main gripe with it is i can't find a way to open the next message if you delete the one you are reading...I may be the dufus on that but it would sure be nice if it could

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