Gmail vs. Outlook.com: Which Is Best?

Featured Img Gmail Vs Outlook

Gmail and Outlook.com are two of the most popular web mail services, and each brings its own benefits to the table. Most people use both email providers either as a primary or secondary account.

Since there is obviously a lot to like about both Gmail and Outlook, it would be useful to compare them based on their individual features and performance.

To answer which is best: Outlook.com or Gmail, we have looked into the following criteria.

1. Ease of Use

Although Gmail has occasional page-loading issues on non-Chrome web browsers, once you’re logged in, it’s smooth sailing from thereon. There are various inbox categories and tabs which help you organize your emails properly.

Gmail Tabbed Inbox

Gmail allows you to take action on any email directly from the shortcut icons on top. Whether you want to set a label, mute/block a contact, or delete emails in bulk, it only takes one or two clicks. The search bar brings accurate date results based on keywords. It’s very easy to trace older emails, received or sent.

Gmail Short Cut Keys

Using Gmail “smart compose” you can save a lot of time thanks to a machine-learning feature which offers suggestions while you type.

Gmail Smart Compose

Outlook.com, on the other hand, has a slightly retro feel, which does work for me, as I have had an account since the Hotmail days. The compose box is uncluttered, which is a huge plus, but the font styles and effects haven’t kept pace with time.

You can encrypt your emails right from this window, but apart from this, there are no new exciting features.

Compared to Gmail, the Outlook interface is seriously behind the times. You have to manually resize the windows, and it takes longer to mark multiple emails for deletion.

I have thousands of unread emails in the Outlook webmail. With Gmail, it is far easier to get rid of unwanted emails cluttering the inbox.

Outlook Interface

Result: Gmail is easier to use thanks to its more advanced features and quick responsiveness.

2. Integrations

Both Gmail and Outlook have mobile apps that readily sync with Android, iOS and Chrome OS. While Outlook has its own desktop email client, it fails to integrate a personal Hotmail account with Thunderbird.

Hotmail Integration Failure Thunderbird

Gmail, on the other hand, supports Thunderbird properly. In fact, it might be more pleasant to use Gmail on Thunderbird, as the emails are always accessible from a proper desktop client.

Gmail Thunderbird Integration

Gmail also supports other email clients including Mailbird, Apple Mail and even Windows mail. What’s more, you can also use Alexa speakers to check Gmail. Outlook.com also supports many of these clients, but the lack of convenient access with Thunderbird is a major disadvantage.

Result: Gmail wins this round but by a slight margin only.

3. Desktop Experience

One of the best features of Outlook.com is its desktop client on Windows 10. It is far easier to use than the corresponding webmail or mobile app versions. Many people have been using the Outlook client in their workplace for years.

Outlook Desktop Client

What’s more, using an Office 365 account, you can connect your Outlook emails to the entire Microsoft suite.

Whether it is editing Word files directly, connecting to your Skype contacts via email, moving the emails to OneDrive, or managing your Office 365 subscription, you get a single window service.

Managing Office 365 From Outlook

Gmail, on the other hand, does not offer a comparable desktop experience.

Result: Outlook.com has a superior desktop experience.

4. Basic Features

One of the most useful features that is mandatory in a good email service is the calendar. Outlook calendar is far more sophisticated and easy to use with its desktop client. You can set meetings directly and have reminders based on a chosen automatic schedule.

Outlook Calendar

Gmail does have a nice calendar, but accessing it is not very straightforward. Also, it does not support the advanced scheduling capabilities of Outlook.

Gmail Calendar

Outlook has a very useful signature feature which allows you to use colorful templates with watermarks and digital imprints. Creating a professional Gmail signature usually requires an external app such as “Wisestamp” or “Hubspot.” Gmail has sidestepped many such basic features to move directly to an advanced stage.

Outlook Read Aloud

Result: Outlook.com has better coverage of basic email features.

5. Accessibility

On a desktop browser, Gmail can be a bit inaccessible at times which can be annoying. Even at the moment of writing, I encountered a “temporary error” while trying to access my regular Gmail account from Mozilla Firefox.

For many Gmail users, this is becoming a regular problem. While they can always access Gmail from their phone apps, it can sometimes be non-responsive inside a desktop browser, especially if you are not using Chrome.

Gmail Account Temporarily Unavailable

Gmail also denies VPN use and always classifies it as a suspicious activity. Once this happens, you can only log in after you receive a text to your phone, even though you may have removed your phone number from your Google account.

Gmail Device Not Recognized

Outlook hardly ever denies you access to your own email account. VPN or no VPN, your Outlook email account is accessible on any desktop device at all times.

Accessing Outlook With Vpn On

Result: Outlook is always more accessible than Gmail and will never leave you locked out of your own account.

6. Design and Appearance

The design of an email window affects your desire to compose emails. Gmail text editor looks a bit unprofessional because it jumps out of nowhere on the screen, which can be distracting. Also, it only covers three-quarters of the window in full-screen mode. If you had to type multiple emails, this arrangement can consume more effort.

Gmail Fullscreen Mode

Outlook.com, on the other hand, has a simple rich text editor accessible from a side panel which works best for composing emails.

Outlook Email Compose

Result: Outlook has a more useful design.

7. Security and Privacy

Both Gmail and Microsoft offer powerful security features. From a privacy standpoint, Microsoft’s policies on data sharing are slightly more transparent and conducive.

What I like about Microsoft is that you can access all the latest statistics about information they have shared with law enforcement. Very little data (5 to 6 percent) is related to the actual contents of emails.

Gmail offers no such statistical overview.

Microsoft Law Enforcement Requests

Result: If you value your privacy, you will probably be safer with Outlook than Gmail.

8. Managing Contacts

Opening, editing and deleting Gmail contacts is trickier. It should have been directly accessible from the gearbox in Settings. Instead, you have to first go to the nine-dot icon.

Gmail Gearbox

Outlook, on the other hand, has a dedicated “Contacts” icon that opens into a new window. You can easily delete contacts, add phone numbers, import business cards and a lot more.

Outlook Contacts

Result: It is easier to manage contacts on Outlook.

9. Premium Features

Gmail helps you access other Google features from its window including Google Maps, YouTube, Play Store, Google Drive, Translate, Photos and GSuite. While none of them are directly related to email, they provide more functionalities.

Gmail Premium Features

You can access multiple delegated Gmail accounts from the same login, add labels and new themes and sync everything on a mobile device. Outlook’s focus is only emails.

Result: Gmail has more advanced features along with basic email.

10. Account Space

While free Gmail accounts are restricted to 15 GB, you can increase the space three to four times by adding new Google accounts. In comparison, an Outlook account comes with 1 TB space thank to the OneDrive support.

Result: Outlook offers more account space.

11. Office 365 vs. GSuite

This is a highly subjective category. Some people are more comfortable in the Microsoft Office ecosystem, whereas others will prefer GSuite apps.

Results: We will consider this round a tie.

Final Verdict

While there may be personal reasons to prefer Gmail over Outlook or vice versa, this point-by-point comparison will help you review your choices with a fresh perspective.

Final Verdict Gmail Vs Outlook Com

Gmail is certainly easier to use, supports more integrations and comes with premium features that cover the entire Google system. However, if you prefer a traditional email setup that supports a better desktop experience while helping you easily manage contacts with stable features, Outlook offers a more robust deal.

Accordingly, based on all the above criteria, Outlook.com is a better email provider than Gmail.

8 comments

  1. I’ve been using Hotmail, aka as Outlook now, for decades, and i find it to be far superior than any other mail service i use or used. Wonderfull interface, easier than Gmail, especially when it comes to….delete, much better contacts organization and on security terms, i simply trust Google LESS than Microsoft, because MS might be making sloppy work on Windows the last 10 years, but they take security very seriously.

    Gmail is good for……youtube account and maybe for few letters of no importance.

  2. What I like about Outlook is when you click to add an attachment, Outlook automatically brings up the most recent files you’ve used making it so easy to attach a recent file instead of having to go search for the file like you do with Gmail.

  3. “Gmail has occasional page-loading issues on non-Chrome web browsers”
    Maybe for you. I have been using GMail on Firefox since shortly after it came out. Never had any page-loading issues.

    “Whether you want to set a label, mute/block a contact, or delete emails in bulk, it only takes one or two clicks.”
    There are two actions that GMail will not do: 1) sort emails on a particular column and 2) there is no ‘delete forever’ option when setting up a filter The best you can hope for is that an email is put into Trash. Then you have to delete them manually. It’s not like these two things are something new or impossible to implement. I had both actions available on AT&T’s WorldMail 20 years ago. And yes, I did send several requests for change to Google.

    “On a desktop browser, Gmail can be a bit inaccessible at times which can be annoying.”
    Again, I never had that problem with FF. But I’m using Linux.

    “7. Security and Privacy”
    Pox on both their houses. The big, big negative for both of them is that they are from Google and Microsoft respectively, two of the biggest data harvesters. So much for security and PRIVACY.

    “Opening, editing and deleting Gmail contacts is trickier.”
    I would say, byzantine.

    “Final Verdict”
    Since Outlook does not run on Linux, I have to use GMail although I definitely not happy about that. GMail, in spite of all its bells and whistles, is a mediocre performer that concentrates on glitz and eye candy rather than functionality. As I said, I used a better web mail service 20 years ago.

    1. “there is no ‘delete forever’ option when setting up a filter The best you can hope for is that an email is put into Trash. Then you have to delete them manually.”

      Tell me about it. There were this whole bunch of spammers with multiple aliases plaguing my Gmail. Even a filter wouldn’t set them straight. Outlook allows me to use SpamAssassin so I don’t have to hear them again. I am sure there must be a workaround with Gmail but just as you say, it’s byzantine. Too bad nowadays I’m not using much Outlook/Hotmail but it was my primary account for many years.

      “Again, I never had that problem with FF. But I’m using Linux.”
      It’s nothing to do with the operating system but your IP address. Gmail makes it more difficult to access your own account if you’re on a VPN. They classify it as a suspicious activity. I am not sure about the reason behind temporary errors because Google does sign you in but you can’t access your emails temporarily.

      “I had both actions available on AT&T’s WorldMail 20 years ago.”

      I had a USA.net email about that time. There was quite nothing like it – elegant fonts, a beautiful text editor and minimal interface. And that familiar “you’ve got mail” greeting.

  4. Outlook has one negative feature – the account and it’s content is deleted if not used for 90 days. It happened to me twice, once in 2000. Then I moved to Yahoo. And once in 2015, when I traveled around Asia with limited access to Internet. So all my emails vanished. Even if I contacted Microsoft, they could do nothing. So from this point of view, Gmail is much better.

    1. Strange it never happened to me although there were times I didn’t use my Hotmail for months. But maybe because I have an Office 365 subscription with the Hotmail account.

  5. I do not accept this as outlook contains a lot of emails deliverability issues. Emails from some mailservers rarely delivers to outlook and sometimes when it does, it takes some time before it delivers.

  6. I have both emails which I use on the web browsers. Gmail has far better filters to remove the sex based junk. If I get 10 emails in my Gmail per week it is unusual. With outlook I have 100 or more per day. Unfortunately outlook junk has emails that have been sent to me and are relevant whereas Gmail very rarely put similar emails into junk.

    In my opinion Gmail is better. I don’t need all the “features” that both offer and can be integrated with other software……

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