Living with Windows Live Domains (Hotmail)
I'm also going to include "Gmail comparison" for each as well since I formerly used Google Apps.
Pro: WLmail client is solid
This is a well-done, well-programmed client.
Gmail comparison: Google has no mail client.
Con: Web-based "full version" of Hotmail still too heavy
I seriously dig the right-clickability with the full version of Hotmail. Too bad it's just too slow on the draw (literally). I purposely use the "Classic" version because it's faster.
Gmail comparison: There is no option other than "old version" in the Gmail interface, and that's also heavy.
Pro: Filter-into-folders is awesome
You can set message rules in the web-based version of Hotmail that sync up with the WLmail client - and that's cool.
Gmail comparison: Gmail has no folders. Labels only. And they suck.
Con: Filter-into-folders can only be set in the web-based version
I could find no way to do this in the WLmail client. Or if it's there I couldn't find it.
Gmail comparison: Gmail has better filter options but the lack of folders is a serious drawback.
I'm seriously not used to Hotmail having this much space in it. Nice to have.
Gmail comparison: Gmail has more space (almost 7GB).
Con: Finding how much space is left in your Hotmail account requires a click
Yes, I know this is a nitpick (especially just for one click), but to see how much space is left in your Hotmail account, you have to click the "Today" button in the web-based version. On that page is a bar that shows your usage as a percentage.
Gmail comparison: Space used is listed at the bottom once logged into Gmail - but you have to scroll to see it.
Pro: Contacts sync perfectly between web and client
This was the primary reason I switched and it works exactly like it should. Absolutely no complaints.
Gmail comparison: Gmail has no mail client and no built-in contact sync option.
Con: Flags/Watches/Priorities do not show in web-based version
In the WLmail client you can easy set and/or sort by flagged message, watched message or priority. You can't do this in the web-based version and I could not find any way to enable the columns.
Gmail comparison: Gmail tells you even less than Hotmail does. All you have is name, subject and date. THAT'S IT. And there are no columns to click for sorting.
Pro: Size of e-mail easily seen - anywhere
Whether you're in Hotmail or WLmail, the size of any mail is easily seen and can be sorted by such.
Gmail comparison: Size is listed NOWHERE.
Con: "Low" spam filter option is essentially worthless.
"Standard" (or "High" in WLmail) is better. Use your Contacts heavily and the spam prevention works much better.
Gmail comparison: Spam prevention is on the same level - but is not any better or worse. And like Hotmail you must heavily use your Contact list for best effectiveness.
Pro: Interface is easy, icons easily recognizable.
It's little things like this that make Hotmail good:
Arrow to the left means you replied to the message. Arrow to the right means you forwarded that message prior.
Overall - Web
This is a simple easy interface, the way e-mail should be. It does not bother me to use it whereas in Gmail it did. Microsoft does not try to reinvent the way e-mail works. Instead they just give what's expected in a way that's familiar.
I only wish it was as good as Yahoo! Mail who to this day is still king of the hill in the web-based mail interface department. No one at present can touch them.
Overall - Client
Not as powerful as Thunderbird and missing a few features (such as the inability to set message rules on Hotmail), but much faster. It uses less memory, is easier to search/sort mail and performs outstanding.
Gmail way is the wrong way
I have to take a stab (as if I haven't enough in this post already) at Gmail here because only after you stop using Gmail do you realize how much it sucks donkey nuts.
Read up on the outright frustration people have when trying to sort Gmail. Yes, something as simple as sorting is a PAIN IN THE ASS when using Gmail.
Gmail sucks. Period.