I am among the legions of people who have come to wholly rely on Microsoft Outlook over the years for my day-to-day PIM actions (mail, calendaring, tasks, contacts). As a result, I (like many others) have cheered the improvements and lamented over the issues related to Outlook. Having first observed and now being a part of the netbook world (in my case, an Acer Aspire One), I thought that my long relationship with thee Outlook client might have to come to an end. “There is no way”, I thought, “that Outlook would ever perform reasonably well on a processor- and memory-constrained platform like a netbook. Folks, I am happy to report that this presumption was woefully wrong.
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview. When I first received the invitation, I had to decide where and how I would run the included applications. I couldn’t run it on a “production” computer; it is only a Technical Preview, you know I could create a Virtual Machine for it to run on a production computer, but I really didn’t think I would give the suite of applications much attention and use if I did that. This left the Aspire One. With just an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of RAM and the Windows 7 Release Candidate. I shuddered at the thought, but forged ahead.
The first thing you notice when working with the Office 2010 Professional Edition Suite (the default for the Technical Preview) is the size; more importantly, the reduction in size. Clearly a lot smaller install than in recent years. I took this as a hopeful sign, although the skeptic in me knew that executable size is one thing, but performance is another. I went ahead and completed the installation of the Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote).
Outside of a new splash screen, the initial setup process for Outlook is pretty much the same. I immediately set up my personal hosted Exchange account, planning on immediately following that up by trying out a new Outlook feature that is incredibly overdue – running more than one Exchange account within a single Outlook profile. To this this, you have to shut down Outlook and access the “Mail” Control Panel applet. Once completed, I held my breath and fired up Outlook 2010 once again. This is when the wonderment truly began.
When it comes to Outlook 2010 on my netbook, here is what I can safely say -
- Outlook 2010 loads as quickly as Outlook 2007 on my other computers. Mind you, I am saying this from an end-user experience perspective (please don’t email me with “I benchmarked and there was a 1.2 second difference; nice to know, but I was more concerned about the experience rather than the raw numbers). Keep in mind that my other computers are far more powerful and only loading 1 Exchange account.
- Outlook 2010 is as responsive if not more so than Outlook 2007. Again, when you consider the fact that I am saying this about Outlook running on a netbook…
- Outlook 2010’s memory requirements are on a par with Outlook 2007. Considering the fact that I am running 2 Exchange accounts AND all of the new features included in Outlook 2010, that astounds me.
I simply cannot believe I am saying this, but…
I am running Outlook on a netbook and loving it!
Before I wrap up, a few additional initial comments about Outlook 2010 (expect to see more in the coming days and weeks)…
- I love the ribbon bar. Of course, I’ll need to get used to where everything now is, but I went through the same learning curve with the other Office apps in 2007.
- Conversation View is great. But Conversation View with the ability to still track the thread even after moving emails to other locations is awesome!
- Quick Steps are long overdue. Most people use Rules in Outlook, but I always had a fundamental problem with them – the rules did things before you looked at the message. Quick Steps are more like macros; I can look at an email, then click on a Quick Step icon to do processing. Number 1 use – filing messages without have to drag and drop within the labyrinth of folders I have set up.
All in all, I am more than pleased with Outlook 2010 at this point. As a matter of fact, “pleased” is really an understatement.