Top-Level Results

Based on our extensive testing and benchmarking, Outlook 2016 is noticeably, and significantly faster than Outlook 2011. If you are using Office for Mac, you should seriously consider moving to Outlook 2016. Assuming your mail is hosted on a server (e.g., not POP accounts) there’s no reason to not at least try it out, and see what you think yourself.

We’re going to dive into detail on each set of tests below, but let’s give you an overview of what Outlook 2016 looks like when compared to Outlook 2011.

  • Outlook 2016 used fewer resources at all times, often as much as 20-40% less CPU and memory compared to Outlook 2011.
  • When idle, Outlook 2016 consumes next to no energy extending the battery life for all types of Outlook users.
  • Outlook 2011 was a bit faster than Outlook 2016 in time to launch and quit, but Outlook 2016 did well enough. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff for getting the new application architecture version, and benefits now as well as those to come.
  • Outlook 2016 is fast in everyday operational tasks from opening folders, moving messages, marking messages as read, deleting messages, and even changing the status of flags or categorizing. How much faster? Often double or more when compared to Outlook 2011.
  • Outlook 2016’s new modern database architecture (SQLite) gives not only the ability for incredibly powerful, multi-faceted searches, but searches that are 2x-15x faster!
  • In looking very deeply at sync times — what many would consider the most important performance aspects of a mail client — Outlook 2016 was not just faster it got the job done in a 1/3 less time than Outlook 2011 on our “real world testing.” This suite included a large, multi-account sync that included local Exchange and IMAP accounts (on premise server) as well as Office 365 (hosted Exchange) and Gmail.
  • In the sync section below, you can see many more granular tests across each of these types of accounts, but as a preview:
    • Sync with attachments was much faster given Outlook 2016’s new “three pass” approach of getting headers, then message body, then attachments.
    • Local Exchange accounts synced faster. Generally some to as much as double the speed.
    • All Local IMAP tests were faster, but of particular interest was that messages with attachments synced 2x-2.5x faster.
    • Office 365 accounts synced faster across the board, from some faster to 2.5x faster.
    • Finally, Outlook 2016 was 2x or more faster than Outlook 2011 when using Gmail.

While beyond the scope of this benchmark, we also wanted to look at the strain that Outlook 2016 put on servers. It was clear that Outlook 2016 not only lives by the rules, but that it’s quite kind to servers in a way that given the above speed improvements, the servers seem to respond in kind with.

Outlook 2016 has completely rewritten internals, and the performance is clearly there. With something on the order of one update per month, Microsoft has already demonstrated a commitment to quickly responding to users with new features, and bug fixes. It’s a pace that one expects from a small developer, and impressive from a company that’s the size of Microsoft. And, we expect to see the integration of Outlook gets better and better as new features are added to the all-new underlying engine.