While the previous version of Outlook.com for Android may have been a drab and dreary mess, the newest update to the app marks a significant turnaround. Now more in line with its Web-based big brother, the Outlook.com app is brighter and offers a more enjoyable e-mail experience overall.
The Outlook app's interface is made up of sharp angles, straight lines, and a wealth of white space, giving it an altogether minimalist appearance. In fact, with the gray toolbar and distinctively styled buttons at the bottom of the screen, this Outlook Android app looks very much like it belongs on a Windows Phone device. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it could make the app's controls seem foreign to those who are used to Android staples like the dotted menu button up top. Plus, it will probably disappoint purists who love Android's typical Holo style of app.
The gray toolbar is useful, as it offers quick access to Compose, Refresh, and Search buttons when you're looking at your Inbox. And there's a sliding panel on the left, from which you can access your drafts, sent messages, and other e-mail folders.
Outlook's search function, thank goodness, has been fixed and now works the way it should. While previously it would only search for contacts, it can now scrub through the text contained in your messages as well.
When it comes to e-mail basics, the Outlook app works like a charm. It can sync to your device's contacts and calendar, and you can set its refresh frequency. There's a Push notification option, which is great, or you can have the app sync as infrequently as every hour, or manually, if you want to conserve battery life. And as is pretty standard with mail clients, you can even choose to sync only specific folders.