I am currently using Outlook 2016 as a client to my free GMAIL account.
Until recently I used the POP interface to GMAIL, meaning that Outlook managed message storage and retrieval but also meaning that data storage and backup was dependent on local hard drive and backup software. I am therefore very familiar with Outlook look-and-feel and used folders, rules and autoarchive to manage message storage. Having reviewed IMAP options, I recently changed both Outlook and GMAIL settings to use IMAP. The rationale here is that all data would be stored on GMAIL servers and therefore could be easily accessed from both (Windows) laptop (primary device) and (Android) phone (read-only device but can be used to send urgent responses if needed), and there was reduced dependence on local (laptop) storage.
However Outlook is getting repeated synchronisation errors - though this does not appear to result in lost messages. Google searches reveal that Outlook has lots of issues with synchronising with IMAP servers. In fact the whole concept of receiving messages is specifically a POP-only function - that to see new messages simply requires synchronisation from time to time with the IMAP GMAIL server. Rather than try to sift through all these synchronisation errors I would prefer to consider replacing Outlook because it now adds so little value.
In terms of Outlook vs GMAIL functionality, Outlook rules can be replaced with GMAIL filters and Outlook folders map to GMAIL labels. The only value-add of Outlook is the autoarchive/archive function, which serves to remove messages from view (but not actually delete them). There is no equivalent GMAIL functionality, because GMAIL filters are applied only to incoming messages. GMAIL has better spam detection in my experience and the IMAP interface removes the need for email scanning by AV software. I have yet to research the issue of moving Outlook contact data to Google.
I could simply stop using Outlook - but on the laptop this means using a browser-based client (very clunky) and manually dealing with message management in respect of the volume of elderly messages in each LABEL.
So the key issues for me are replacing Outlook as a Windows client, retaining Outlook contacts data in GMAIL while also retaining the Android phonebook data on my phone (merging both if possible) and finding a way to archive messages in GMAIL as a means of keeping the numbers of messages in any one LABEL manageable but also being able to find and read old messages as needed.
Thanks in anticipation.