Lately I’ve been beta testing Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta (what’s with Microsoft and long names ..? And DOS didn’t use to support long filenames .. 😛 ) .. It is an email client which is supposed to replace Outlook Express and shouldnt be confused with Windows Live Mail which is now Windows Live Hotmail (phew … ). Last week Microsoft released a new version of WLMD and renamed it Windows Live Mail . Its still in beta and still I am using it as my default email client. Here is a short review of my experience with WLM:
Some great things about Windows Live Mail:
Interface : First impression is the last(ing) impression .. And WLM scores huge here .. Right from its splash screen, the interface rocks. Outlook 2003 like interface combined with a Vista like look and feel makes it look very appealing. It seems like Microsoft have now understood the value of eye candy plus ease of use in their applications. Filters like Unread Mails, Unread Mails from my contacts makes life so easy.
Supports Hotmail: Now you can check Hotmail (ugh .. Windows Live Hotmail ) using Windows Live Mail. If you are like me who lost the email client support on your Hotmail account some years ago, here is a good news for you .. WLM lets you check your Hotmail account without any subscription involved. I think Microsoft has now changed the strategy and allowed httpmail access to WLH because every other email service is offering it. Before using WLM,I was logging into Hotmail account in three or four weeks .. Now I check it daily ..
Lightweight : Although it sports Outlook like looks and Thunderbird like spam catching capabilities, its very light weight on system. It boots in 2 3 seconds and doesnt put any load on memory.
Integrated Feed reader: This is another feature that hooked me onto this proggy .. I usually check my feeds after I check my email and my email client having RSS capabilities stopped me looking for another RSS clients. The feed reader fits seamlessly in the interface and have all the options that I look for : When I click on links, my default browser opens ( I hate those rss readers which show the link in their own integrated browser).
Security features: Microsoft have improved so much on this front. The spam filter works great and catches most of the spam that I receive. It also checks for phishing messages and alerts when a suspect phishing messages is received. WLM is better in catching phishing messages in comparison to Thunderbird which use to think every mail I receive is a phishing scam.
Integrated blogging and contacts : If you have Live Space account, you can directly post entries to your Live Space from inside WLM. The contacts are synchronized with your MSN / Live contacts and you can choose to receive contact updates (great feature) ..
No nagware : One thing I used to hate about Outlook express was it combined Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger with it . .. And whenever I check my mail, I am automatically signed in to messenger service. And you couldnt exit messenger when Outlook Express was running as it would say “Other programs are using it “. Windows Live Messenger is supported in WLM but it doesnt start by itself nor it is needed when you have to check your contacts. There are no advertisements in the client also .. and it wont add any signature in your outgoing mail like other free / adware email clients. It is reported that the final version will also be advertisement free ..
Some not so great things about Windows Live Mail :
Feed Management : Definitely needs improvement. When you click on Add a Feed, it doesnt automatically pastes the link from your clipboard to add link textbox. Another thing is I dont see any option to make this program my default rss reader.
Blogging : I cant change my blogging platform from Live Spaces to any other services .. So this blogging link is practically useless to me as I dont use Live Spaces…
Cant Import Export Contacts : Thats the worst of things I didnt like .. As contacts are stored on Live server, you cannot directly import or export them .. Too bad if you want to import your Outlook contacts to WLM ..
Cant Import Export Message rules : So if you are going to format your system, you are going to lose all your email filters as there is no option to import or export them .. Blah ..
Cant define my own Search Folders : There are some predefined Search Folders and you cannot edit them .. Either you create some filters and redirect your mails to a folder and then use Search Folders with them .. duh .. Improvement needed here too ..
Windows Live Mails looks like a very promising application to me .. If they take care of some quirks here and there, and include support for other blogging platforms, this is going to become the best free email client over there..