Thursday, June 1, 2017

Outlook versus Gmail app on Android.

For me the built-in email client on the Android 5.1 mobile phone at first appeared to be quite good. However, there was a major problem. It kept crashing. Simply failing for no apparent reason and returning me to the home screen. I decided enough was enough. I went looking for a replacement.

The two obvious email client apps are Google's Gmail app and Microsoft's Outlook app. Both have a much better user interface than the built-in email app. Large, easy to read text and they look quite good. Both however have issues.

For the Gmail app the main issue is after you delete all that spam, the emails appear to stay in the inbox. If you delete emails on another device such as a notebook and open the Gmail app the emails are still there. You have to wait for some time for the list of emails to refresh. You can pull the list down to cause a recheck of emails, but again there's quite a delay.

Microsoft's Outlook app also has some issues. The main ones for me is that if I add a URL (website link) a link isn't automatically created and the receiving person only gets a URL as text. No ability to click on the URL as you'd expect. The second issue is Outlook has no ability to let you know emails have arrived. OK. It does, but the notifications didn't work for me. That meant I had no idea if new emails had arrived.

The Gmail app also isn't great with notifications, but at least in the status area at the top you see a small Gmail icon to indicate email has arrived. That's OK. With Outlook I had to add the Outlook widget to a home screen which showed the latest emails that hadn't been read. I didn't like this approach.

Overall I'm actually not happy with either the Gmail app or the Outlook app. Given I'm also not happy with the built-in email app, it means I have to accept the email client with the least annoying short comings. In this case it is the Gmail app. The reasons are I like to see some visual indicator email has arrive without opening the email. Also I want a visual indicator and not an audible one. Gmail also makes URLs I insert into links when others receive the email.

I'm not a fan of Gmail products as I don't like the idea they've scanning everything I do for marketing purposes. I would prefer Outlook because Microsoft isn't as focused on advertising for revenue. I can't understand why Microsoft couldn't fix these two issues. In the end, until Microsoft fixes the issues, I've gone with the Gmail app.

Kelvin Eldridge

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