Outlook.com is an email service that provides users with a free account that can send and receive messages online. The web based version makes it possible to check email from any computer with internet access. Users can do everything they can do with other email services, such as sorting messages into custom made folders and searching archives to locate previous missives. The Quick Views links lets users quickly access messages that match a common theme, such as shipping updates, flagged notes or photographs. Facebook and Google users can now chat with their contacts on both networks from the Outlook.com inbox. Available and invisible status options are included so users can avoid unwanted or unexpected chat messages.Show more screenshots »
Outlook.com is a popular email service that encompasses Hotmail, Live and Outlook email accounts. The application is a product of Microsoft, which awards it instant notoriety. That being said, the service is practical yet very simple. The tools included work well, but the service is very simple overall. The recent addition of Facebook and Google chat capabilities is appealing and may help convince some users to give Outlook.com a try. The application has been mentioned all over the web, including reviews on PC Magazine and other websites.
For the most part, Outlook.com is just like most other online email services. The application can handle all common email-related tasks, such as sending, receiving and organizing messages. There are two features that make Outlook.com a little different. The first is the ability to chat with Facebook and Google contacts. The other is the Quick Views links which lets users instantly access themed messages, such as shipping updates, documents, photos and flagged messages.
Outlook.com looks modern but keeps everything low key. The interface is extremely simple with no clutter. Neat sidebar menus let users access various functions while a bright blue header highlights chat options, the new message editor and other basic features. Most of the interface is open space, which is generally a good thing however users who are not accustomed to online email and chatting may need to take a few minutes to find everything they want to use. Some items are only visible as basic icons and may not be noticed or identified right away.
New users can create an Outlook.com account by clicking the blue “Sign Up Now” link in the lower, right hand corner of the homepage. The form on the following page asks for a first and last name, date of birth, gender, account name, phone number and alternate email address (for password resets). The user is also asked for a country/region and zip code. The user’s account name will be their email address. A drop down box is also available to choose from a @Outlook.com, @Hotmail.com or @Live.com. The user is automatically logged in after submitting the form.
Outlook.com offers its email services to all internet users for free. There are no subscription fees and the user isn’t required to purchase any Microsoft products. Everyone who signs up receives access to all current features. This is a good thing because there is tons of competition in the email realm. Outlook.com would be hard pressed to convince users to pay for its services. The extra features are minimal, which might be refreshing to anyone who wants a very straightforward email account for free.
Outlook.com is appealing to anyone who needs a free email account. Features and customization options are minimal, making the application ideal for casual email use. Those who chat on Google and Facebook frequently will really appreciate the built in live chat function. The user is treated to a simple interface that is generally easy to learn, although not always well explained.