I’ve not been happy with Microsoft Outlook for some time now and have been looking for a potential replacement but don’t want to spend beyond what I’m already paying out. This is what an ideal candidate would look like:
- Simple to use
- Pleasant interface
- In-software local folders to pull messages off the server
- Links with Apple Contacts
- Categories (or Tags)
- In-software calendar
Microsoft has been working on a “New Outlook” for 3+ years now, that and the “legacy” versions are available. The New version is clearly a long way off from being finished…still. I was forced to reboot into New, found out that it was rubbish, and then went back to Legacy losing emails, rules and other functionality. I was less than impressed. Legacy was useable before that happened. Rather than lose more data I’m sticking on New.
Current observances re New
- HTML emails didn’t load the graphics properly in Legacy but in New, this is improved.
- You cannot add or subtract column headings in email.
- “All Accounts” is not an accurate summary of what appears in other accounts, still need to scroll down all email addresses or set them as favourite.
- Categories for non-Outlook dot com accounts do not show in the email view as they did in Legacy.
- No rules for non-outlook dot com accounts
- Contacts you had on the desktop rather than Outlook dot com don’t show categories properly. I’m getting the feeling Microsoft want you to upload your contacts into the online version of Outlook but I don’t want to do that.
- You are “locked out” of viewing emails with digital signatures after you’ve opened them once, no such issue in Legacy, Thunderbird or Apple Mail.
- “My Day” doesn’t show items entered in Microsoft To-Do (they said it’s supposed to, but maybe its coming later).
- Doesn’t work well with an iCloud account.
- For every email attachment, an empty text file is received as well.
- There is some wording in the program that refers to Windows rather than Mac infrastructure.
- UX/UI is improved but that is useless if so many features don’t work.
I’ve tried funnelling this feedback through to Microsoft but nothing ever improves, I guess it might take them another 3 years to fix this stuff.
Apple (Mac) Mail
This is a very decent program. Nice UX/UI. Local (On My Mac) folders. Links with Apple Contacts well.
- Painfully slow connectivity to IMAP servers. I notice many others have this issue. Makes the program unusable.
- Doesn’t integrate well with Apple Calendars or Reminders, Outlook does this better. Sharing a calendar with other Apple family members works ok but meeting invites to others don’t work, branding especially sucks. Calendar invites go through the Apple server and arrive from no-reply @ email dot apple dot com. There is little room for branding or customisation of these invites.
- They don’t have categories.
- Rules under settings work well
- The iPhone/iPad version of Mail is much better.
They have just released version 115 and it is much improved. It still has a clunky interface but that may be part of its charm, not for me. It has local folders, an in-built calendar, and access to Apple Contacts. IMAP server connectivity is the fastest out of both Outlook and Apple.
- No folder displaying all emails from every account. However, it does have favourite folders which is helpful.
- I love how you can assign a custom sound when an email arrives.
- Can’t really get email and calendar to work well together and the recipient receives an ugly meeting invite. I can’t include an attachment, only a web link. I sent 2 calendar invites to my Yahoo account, the second one took about 30 minutes to arrive, it did include [yes – maybe – no] and that updated the calendar but there are two ics files attached which is a little confusing – the text I sent with the invite never arrived. The layout of the calendar invite workflow is better than Apple Calendar, the only downside is the UX/UI. Since I send quite a few meeting invites this solution doesn’t work for me.
- The program uses Mac Contacts which is helpful.
- UX/UI is improved but could be much better, much better. The calendar is still pretty bad.
- I like my emails displayed in a list and you can turn on/off column heading, which is great compared with New Outlook.
- When I last tried out Thunderbird newsgroups they don’t work very well but I can’t find these in version 115.
None of the above programs really do what I want them to do. The one I will have to stick with is New Outlook because it acts as a more business program with an integrated Calendar, and the UI/UX is easier to work with than the other programs. Unfortunately, I don’t see any of the important features I need on their In Development List so I expect I am screwed.