5 Stellar Features of the New Microsoft Outlook App

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Microsoft recently updated the Outlook app for iOS and Android. Can the major revamp entice you to switch from your stock email client?

Slate Magazine asked, “The Best App for Gmail Is Made by… Microsoft?” So, is it? It appears that the software giant has spoiled its mobile users with these stellar features, and of course, it’s free.

As of press time, Outlook has more than 30 reviews in 4.5 stars rating in App Store, meanwhile the Android version is a pre-release version, but has 3.2 stars in Play Store and users aren’t really quite happy with it (e.g. widget and push notifications issues). Below is iOS’ version with screenshots.

Streamlined inbox – Focused and Other

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Microsoft Outlook intuitively filters your mailbox to keep you focused on the important messages while the less relevant emails (promotions and newsletters) are thrown in the “Other” box. The “Focused” box shows you emails from all the registered accounts; it supports Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo! Mail. The other messages are shown above in this format: “Other: [20 (e.g.)] new conversations.”

Attachments made easy – Google Drive, Dropbox and One Drive support

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Collaboration and productivity are now made easy because the app allows you to view and attach files from third-party cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google and its very own One Drive. Access to any of these platforms allows you to send even large files without downloading them to your mobile devices. To activate this, you can log in to your Dropbox and One Drive accounts to invoke authorisation. If you’re using Gmail, it’ll be included as attachments in the File tab.

Quick Access to Calendar – Full view

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The calendar option resembles the stock iOS calendar; with this feature, schedules and meetings are accessible via email. Users are notified if there are appointments, which you can’t miss. Switching from mailbox to calendar is smooth and its UI unifies these options.

Customise Swipe Options – Archive, Schedule and more

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Inspired by the default swipe options of the Mail app, Outlook also features archive, schedule or delete. The schedule option allows you to schedule the message in four ways: in a few hours, this evening, tomorrow morning, or choose a time. You can find this under “Settings” then “Swipe Options.” You can customise the gesture for quick management of emails.

Quick Search – Find Anything and Everything

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It has its own “Spotlight search” version where you can search anything, whether it’s a name, a file, a meeting. The magnifying glass on the top scouts the keyword or phrase in all the registered accounts. The Quick Filter segregates the attachments and messages you’ve flagged.

Is it time to switch?

Personally, I’ve been using Outlook as my email client since its debut, and so far I haven’t experienced any lags or crashes. The convergence of Mail, Calendar, Files, and People tabs under one roof improved my email experience for days. Writing an email is very efficient, providing you three quick access modes of Calendar option (to send availability or create an invite), Location, and Attachment option that itself has three options: “Choose from Files,” “Photo Library” and “Take a Photo”.

However, after reading Silicon Angle’s article, saying that it has big security warning for iOS users, I had to think twice and ditch the app. Why? IBM developer René Winkelmeyer discovered that his email account was being scanned by an AWS IP address which provides access to Microsoft to acquire personal credentials and server data. His advice? “Block them – now!”

What do you think of the new Outlook app? Do you think Microsoft’s strategy will reward them a significant share in the mobile app market?

3 comments

  1. I personally like the app but I think many companies will be like mine. We immediately broke it company-wide by dropping any traffic with “Outlook-iOS-Android” in the user agent string. Aside from the issues raised by Winkelmeyer, this app gets around our ActiveSync policies and allows a user to configure Outlook on a device without a passcode enabled. An exec could configure it on his personal iPad and then leave it sitting in an airport.

    We also checked the Exchange logs and all the source IPs came from Amazon. I assume the company MS bought was using Amazon cloud.

  2. Samsung Galaxy S3: I can’t even get it to install on my phone. Hate it!

  3. This is how Google should has made Gmail look like, instead of providing one more app and bringing confusion in the house…

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