Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail

Windows Live Hotmail looks better, works faster and adds some neat features to Microsoft's web-based email service. Can it compete with Gmail?

Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Improved interface, social networking features, Office integration

Cons

  • Minor confusion with social-networking contacts

Bottom Line

How does the revamped Hotmail compare to Gmail? In some ways, it's superior. The new Windows Live Hotmail beats Gmail hands down for social network integration; Gmail also lacks the ability to view embedded media content from sites such as YouTube. For email handling, while Gmail does an excellent job of that, we prefer the new Hotmail - but that's strictly a personal preference. This new version of Hotmail focuses largely on productivity enhancements such as improved mail handling. It's also now easily the most elegant-looking of any web-based mail service. If you've never used Hotmail before, or swore off it in the past, now is the time to take a new look - you'll likely be exceedingly pleased at what you find.

Would you buy this?

According to Microsoft, Windows Live Hotmail is the world's largest web-based email service, with more than 360 million active accounts worldwide. But when it comes to buzz, Gmail has had it beat for the past several years. Now that may change. A revamped Hotmail was announced on May 18; it will be available sometime in July or August, with the exact date still to be determined.

We were able to work with the new version and found that it has the fast responsiveness and full feature set of a desktop application rather than a web-based one. It also offers some very nifty features that Gmail is lacking, including better mail management and more ways to eliminate email clutter.

Windows Live Hotmail: Better interface

To begin with, the new Hotmail simply looks better - it's more graphical and easier on the eyes. And it feels faster and more responsive. Like the old Hotmail, folders are on the left-hand side of the screen, and the in-box and reading pane on the right. But that basic layout has gotten a makeover, with a number of links added to the left side of the screen and a new set of links across the top of the right side of the screen to make it easier to find mail.

On the left-hand side, underneath a list of your folders, is a section called Quick View, which allows you to quickly view mail based on several preset criteria. These include mail that you've tagged, mail with photos in it, mail with Office documents as attachments and mail sent from shipping services such as FedEx. Click any category, and you'll see only the relevant mail.

Filters, located just above the main mail screen, allow you to view your email based on several other categories, including unread mail, mail from contacts, mail from Windows Live groups and others. Filtering is particularly powerful when combined with Quick Views. You could, for example, choose to see only mail with Office documents attached that were sent by your contacts. Or you could see all unread shipping updates.

Message threading is also improved by the addition of a Conversation View, much like you will find in Outlook 2010. It lets you easily see an entire email conversation at a glance, including all messages sent and received, rather than hunting for them individually in your in-box, out-box and other folders. This seemingly small feature may be the biggest productivity enhancer in the entire Windows Live Hotmail upgrade. It can easily save hours each month.

By default, the feature is turned off. To turn it on, you'll have to select Options --> More Options --> Conversation settings, select "Group messages by conversation" and click Save.

One of the niftier new features is the ability to view embedded media content directly within Hotmail, instead of having to go to an external site to view it. So if you're sent a link to a YouTube video, for example, you'll be able to view the video within Windows Live Hotmail.

Finally, the Sweep feature cleans up clutter by allowing you to delete or move all marked mail in a folder, or mark an entire folder as having been read.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Microsoft, email, hotmail, Windows Live
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?