Over the past few years, Hotmail has been sort of a running gag in internet circles. Along with Internet Explorer, it was the butt of countless jokes. Well not anymore, Hotmail is back with a completely new look and feel! Microsoft has reinvented the once popular e-mail service and jazzed it up with it’s new Metro interface. Ever since Windows Phone 7.5 introduced the Metro interface, Microsoft has changed everything in its portfolio and made the boring suddenly seem cool. Windows Phone, Windows, Office and now Hotmail are prime examples of this. Currently in preview stages, Outlook.com will eventually replace Hotmail and Windows Live mail. So what’s new? Pretty much everything. The drab, boring webmail probably popular only with senior citizens now has a host of new features along with a new look. Here’s the CoolPCTips Outlook.com Mail review!
Outlook.com Mail Review – New Look
Outlook.com is now pretty much the best looking and accessible webmail service. There’s no unnecessary colors, spaces or such and fonts are just about perfect. Mails can now be viewed in a separate pane just by hovering over it and it can be placed where you want. Mails are arranged well with enough space and everything is readable very easily. Even opening up the aforementioned reading pane doesn’t clutter up the UI and the mailbox still retains its usability. The top bar where it says “Outlook.com” can be pulled down to access more services like the integrated Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage service. The left pane houses the usual folders which are of course editable and the right side houses the new chat feature with we’ll come to later. We agree not everyone might like the Metro interface, but for those of you who like minimalism and functionality, Outlook.com mail is the bomb!
Outlook Mail Review – New Features
This isn’t just a face-lift either, Outlook.com mail now comes with several powerful features that set it apart from any other webmail service. Take for example, the Active View feature. You can now preview attachments and media in emails directly. If there’s a link to a YouTube video, you can play it right in the Outlook.com mailbox! Similarly, photos from Flickr or Word documents and such can be viewed without having to leave the Outlook.com mail page. Then there’s the smart sort feature, by default there’s some categories and you can even set custom parameters so you can directly view, say an office mail instead of going through social media updates which are categorized separately. Or quick view mails by sender, subject, attachments and many other filters.
Since Microsoft Office 2013 is going the cloud way, it’s no surprise Outlook.com has integrated Office web apps. Word, PowerPoint and Excel files are now viewable and editable right in the mailbox. Also, these files can be uploaded to your provided SkyDrive cloud storage space for sharing and group editing. Another welcome feature is conversation threading which can be turned on or off, mails can be categorized according to sender. Even cleaning is now much easier, certain types of mails, or mails from certain senders can be deleted in bulk and Outlook.com can remember to do the same every time such mails arrive.
Now, to the social interaction. Microsoft has made sure that Outlook.com becomes your online interaction HQ. Facebook chat and such is available once you sync your account with Outlook.com and you can chat with your Facebook friends without having to log into Facebook! All of your friends contact info and even profile picture is synced here so starting a conversation or mailing them becomes really easy. Once fully released, Microsoft will also provide video calling through Skype in Outlook.com that doesn’t require you to actually install the Skype client. Apart from these features, there’s all the usual features expected from a webmail service. There’s nothing you will miss from other services, basically. You can also add other mail accounts to your Outlook.com account so you can send and receive mails from there.
Outlook Mail – How To Get It?
Ready to try out a free Outlook.com mail account? Just follow these steps:
If you don’t have a Hotmail/Windows Live Mail Account:
- Click here to go to the Outlook.com website.
- Sign up for a new ID with “@outlook.com” at the end.
- Create your account and login to the new Outlook.com Mail.
If you have a Hotmail/Windows Live Mail Account:
- Login to Hotmail/Windows Live Mail.
- After logging in, type “www.outlook.com” in your browser’s address bar.
- Voila! Your old mailbox becomes the new Outlook.com mailbox.
To change your email address to @outlook.com:
- Follow the above steps “If you have a Hotmail/Windows Live Mail account”.
- Once at the new Outlook.com mailbox page, click the little gear icon on the top right corner.
- Click “More mail settings”.
- Go to “Rename your email address” and put in your desired @outlook.com email address!
Here’s the catch though, since it’s still a preview, the website might not work properly on all browsers. Your best bet is Internet Explorer, for now.
So there you have it, the brand new Outlook.com mail, born from the ashes of Hotmail. We think it could very well turn out to be the best webmail service, it certainly looks and performs the part. There’s been a curse of sorts on the Hotmail name and we’re sure people would be skeptical to switch over to a service lambasted endlessly over the past few years but Microsoft has made a smart move by renaming it to Outlook.com. That’s not to say the Outlook.com name is held in high regard, but this could change everything. We’re certainly impressed with Outlook.com mail, let us know what you think!