Is there a lightweight desktop application to connect to an Exchange server to just get mail? Ideally, the app would be free.
I am looking to replace Outlook for something that loads quicker and takes up less memory, etc.
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You can connect to Exchange using POP and IMAP, so therefore you can use any mail client. I use Apple Mail on my Mac personally and still use Outlook on Windows, but I also use Thunderbird on occasion.
If you want something completely free and have access to Exchange from the outside you can also use Outlook Web Access.
Evolution (for GNOME) works very well with Exchange.
This looks promising: http://www.emclient.com/, according to the website, it has calendar and contacts support.
There is a port of Evolution for Windows.