This review came about because I, like lots of other Mac users unloaded Mail when I set up my Mac, thought it did a great job, sat back…
And started to lose mail.
Not lots of it, I didn’t even know I was losing any until I lost a big piece of business because I failed to respond to an email in time. This sent me scuttling off to my webmail to find that the offending mail, plus two other messages, had been left by Mail sitting comfortably inside a warm server. It’s a good product without a doubt, but I lost faith in Mail overnight, (I’m that type of guy), and that sent me on a quest for a different email client. A free one, as I like to keep as much money aside as I can for food and beer.
I thought also that if I was looking for a new email client, others might be also. I hope this saves you some time and effort you could spend gainfully elsewhere. Here they be, in no particular order of importance of effectiveness.
Brand new and developed from the ground up for Mac OSX its pretty, and quick to retrieve email. It is fully featured to the nth degree offering POP/IMAP and SMTP support, message templates and lots more. Except junk mail filtering. It uses Spamsieve for this, and whilst this is probably the best spam filter out there, it comes free to try, but will cost you thirty bucks if you want the real deal. So for me, I’ll pass, which is a shame because otherwise it ticks all the boxes.
The free little sister of the awesome Postbox, this is a new kid on the block with real promise. Ultra fast search and retrieve, actionable search results, intuitive conversation views, tabbed email browsing, superfast archiving plus easy tagging for all your messages. It integrates Address book, ical and iphoto exchange. All in all a very worthy newcomer.
Not just an email client, but an ultrafast web browser too, all in one package. It’s email function is well supported with an elegant user interface, with a nice ‘quick reply’ feature that allows you to answer without opening up a full composer window. POP/IMAP and RSS are all supported but unfortunately secure message encryption isn’t. Still a mighty all round package though.
One of the bigger beasts in the jungle that majors in its ability to communicate across platforms. Fully featured, TB has without doubt the easiest setup assistant and account wizard out there. Developed by the Mozilla team and originally meant to be included within the Firefox browser (to rival Opera), it proved to be to feature rich to be a mere addon. Its Windows ancestry doesn’t help its user interface which isn’t that pretty.
Was a paid for app, but now its free. Quite basic in what it offers, and again it needs Spamsieve to ensure a spam free life. A nice interface and its quick, but it seems the developer is shying away from iIMAP support.
Like Opera, SM is both web browser and mail client combined, and whereas the browser is very good, the email client suffers because it doesn’t offer an index based search function, and believe me, the spam filter when it’s operating grabs your ram and holds on to it tightly. Otherwise it looks nice, and would be fine for a non power user.
If it was down to looks, this app would win hands down, definitely the best user interface out there by a country mile, and the functionality is fine if you only handle one or two accounts at home. It isn’t ram hungry and has all the security you need. Look elsewhere though if you run multiple accounts that bring in hundreds of emails every day. At its best sitting at home or laptop waiting to take the mail from the postman. Gmail Browser If you use Gmail, it’s a real ‘needit’. A standalone barebones browser that does nothing else but give you access to all your Gmail accounts in one area.Just open it and leave it. Very cool app.
Honorable Mention Goes To…
Growl and GrowlMail Plugins
If you haven’t yet downloaded Growl, you need to. With it installed you will be told when your browser download has finished, you’ve received new mail, a new IM message, iTunes has just started playing a tune and even if your laptop battery is getting low. Really comforting to know it’s working away quietly in the background.
You’ll love the way notifications appear and disappear silently. If you decide to stick with Apple Mail, these two are a must.
Okay, there you are then, they are all free to download and use, and the perfect way to while away some time whilst you make your decision. I hope this brief review helps you choose the right one for you.