The Mail client on Mac OS X has come under a lot of criticism lately. Users complained about its complicated interface and bumpy integration with other mail providers. After the update some users were mollified, but others are still not happy with the usability of the Mail client. We, at TheAppleGoogle, have done some research in alternative mail clients for Mac and present to you our five favourites.
Postbox 3 ($9.95)
Available for only $9.95 Postbox 3 boasts being faster than a “scalded monkey.” Postbox is a fantastic mail client which gave Apple Mail a run for its money, forcing it to be better in order to compete. Postbox looks very much like Apple’s mail client but with many intuitive features, like “Quick Reply” whereby you can reply to a mail without having to open a separate compose window or the ability to search for documents and images while composing a new message. However, the most powerful feature of Postbox 3 is its seamless integration with Gmail, Evernote, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Your contacts will appear with their photos and you can access their social profiles with just a click. You no longer need to attach large files, just send a link to the files in Dropbox. Postbox 3 is perfect for those who liked the Mail interface but want more. A 30-day free trial is available.
Unibox has taken a bold approach and differentiated itself from other mail clients by organising the e-mail by your contacts. So the usual left-hand side panel is sorted by the contact you have most recently been in touch with rather than the date and times of the e-mail. This layout may take a little time to get used to but is no different from SMS or chat Apps. Once you get the hang of it you realise how simple and refreshing it is to be able to see all the conversations you have had with someone in one place. Another great feature of Unibox is the second view where you can see all the attachments — files, images — exchanged with a particular contact. Unibox supports IMAP so you can easily integrate with you Gmail, Yahoo, and other such accounts.
At a steep price of $49.99 MailMate is not designed for people who just send occasional emails to friends and family with lots of smiley faces and cute photos. A no-frill, highly-optimised mail client, MailMate is designed for power users, people for whom communication via e-mail forms the bulk of their daily work and they don’t have time to be distracted with pretty icons and folders. MailMate packs a powerful punch with state of the art searching which goes way beyond basic e-mail address and subject search and searches through all the multiple accounts. It has an extensive library of keyboard shortcuts so you can navigate, read, tag and reply to emails all using just your keyboard. Although the e-mails are displayed in plain text, MailMate does support Markdown. MailMate is meant for people who like full control of their mail client and it doesn’t disappoint. A 30-day free trial is also available.
Ever since Google acquired Sparrow the popular mail client has lost a lot of its followers, mainly because there hasn’t been much progress in development. Most of those users have flocked to Airmail which is very similar to Sparrow. Significantly cheaper than the other mail clients mentioned above, Airmail is a very simple and nice-looking mail client. The integration with IMAP accounts is easy and smooth, including creating separate folders for all the labels in your Gmail account.
Outlook (Part of Microsoft Office 2011 suite: $219.99)
Some Mac users may scoff at the idea of Outlook being a good alternative to Apple’s own mail client. But the fact remains that corporate users who have to work with Microsoft Exchange do tend to lean towards Outlook and it seems to be there preferred mail client. Outlook 2011 comes with some great features, like condensing long e-mail threads under a single subject, viewing your calendar in your e-mail, and the ability to migrate your Windows Outlook to Mac via a .PST file.