Up­grade from Mail

Ap­ple’s email client isn’t al­ways the best choice. These six al­ter­na­tives each of­fer some­thing ex­tra…

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Nik Rawl­in­son

Six al­ter­na­tives to your builtin email client re­viewed

Why bother with any­thing other than Ap­ple Mail? It’s on ev­ery Mac, it looks good, and it has pow­er­ful fea­tures like Smart Mail­boxes, flags and a search tool that in­te­grates smoothly with Spot­light.

Why? Be­cause it’s not per­fect. The ver­sion that shipped with Mav­er­icks had a few quirks, and wasn’t en­tirely happy work­ing with Gmail or Google servers. Ap­ple Mail also main­tains a tra­di­tional ap­proach to email man­age­ment. Its three-pane lay­out has changed very lit­tle since its first in­car­na­tion, and the fo­cus is more on threaded con­ver­sa­tions than broader or­gan­i­sa­tion. Its leisurely evo­lu­tion has given its com­peti­tors a chance to jump in, and now the Mac is one of the best served plat­forms when it comes to pick­ing a ri­val.

Email ap­pli­ca­tions have long been used for more than just com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Lo­tus Notes and Mi­crosoft Out­look treat email as one ser­vice among many in what are, ef­fec­tively, end-to-end or­gan­i­sa­tional tools, bundling comms, cal­en­dars, to-do lists and more. Mail doesn't do that, but this doesn't stop us try­ing to force it. How many times have you

Ap­ple Mail isn’t per­fect, and the ver­sion that shipped with Mav­er­icks had a few quirks

grabbed your phone while lay­ing in bed and emailed your­self an aide mem­oire? At that point, you're ask­ing Mail to do some­thing for which it wasn’t de­signed – act as an or­gan­iser.

For a while it seemed that Ap­ple was in­deed go­ing to go down this route, with Mail briefly be­ing the repos­i­tory for any­thing synced from Notes and Re­minders in iOS. But not any more – each of those has been spun off into a sep­a­rate OS X ap­pli­ca­tion, which means that to re­main fully or­gan­ised while us­ing only Ap­ple-na­tive apps you need to run five tools: Mail, Cal­en­dar, Re­minders, Con­tacts and Notes.

Here we’re look­ing at six al­ter­na­tives, and while we’re most in­ter­ested in how well they help us to man­age email, we’ll also be test­ing them against a range of com­mon tasks to see which of them can best act as the cen­tral fo­cus of a work­ing day.

1 Air­mail £1.49 air­mailapp.com 2 Inky Free inky.com Post­box 3 £7 ($11.94) post­box-inc.com

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