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The best Gmail client is Outlook? Really?

I read about a new Outlook for iOS, and had to install it myself, because some were saying it is the best Gmail client. I am convinced. It is.

It is totally intuitive, and the ‘focused’ view is a distillation of Google’s multi-tab model, which aggregates different flavors of email into different tabs. However, Outlook has only two: ‘focused’ and ‘others’.

Here’s the ‘focused’ view, which brings in the most relevant emails, leaving everything else in ‘others’. Here’s the inbox with the ‘quick filter’ pulled down. Note that blue dots are unread emails, and the orange represents an email I have flagged.

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On my iPhone 6+, turning the app into landscape allows me to scroll through others, and at the same time, see the body of a selected email.

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The ‘people’ view brings up those that I email with most:

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The email editor is smart and simple, but has real power. Notice the three icons at the lower right, from left to right: send availability/create invite, send location, and attachments.

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The send availability allows me to select time slots in my calendar — my Google calendar integrated into Outlook — and mail those to the recipient. Note that the calendar is a full-up implementation, where I can create new events, invite others, and so on. I am working on my Google calendar, here:

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The recipient — if using Outlook — can simply click on a time to create an event in their calendar. It doesn’t work that way in Gmail. though.

Here’s a screenshot after I touched on the file insert icon, showing integration with Dropbox, Google Drive and the iPhone photo system. There is a hook for OneDrive, but I didn’t set that up.

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Archiving is done with a simple sweep to the left — too fast to capture in a screenshot. And sweeping to the right leads to scheduling the email to return later on, in various preset times — like ‘in a few hours’ or at a specific time. Really simple email triage.

The Bottom Line

I admit to being kind of shocked that the best iOS Gmail client I’ve ever used is from Microsoft. It’s really fast, the algorithm for what should be in ‘focused’ works very well, and the calendar integration is something Google should have done years ago. I am stunned.


Update 11:07am 1 February 2015 — I was so shocked about this app that I omitted to say that Outloook for iOS is based on Acompli, an app that Microsoft recently acquired. The founder of the company, Javier Soltero, is now the General Manager of Outlook for Microsoft. I hope that he spins his magic on the other Outlook clients, especially Mac OS X.