The Bulletin’s Guide to choosing an email client

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Andy Cormack takes a look at email client software.  Finding the right one can be tricky, especially if you’re new to accessing your emails on your PC, laptop, tablet or phone.  

Andy takes a look at your options and gives you the lowdown on three of the most popular.

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Introduction

Choosing an email client can be a very easy or a very difficult thing to do depending on your workflow, requirements, and personal taste. There are quite a few good options out there these days and we’ll go over some of the best.

EM Client

Not the most memorable of names, but probably one of the most full featured, customisable, and robust email clients out there, even going so far as to state on its own website that it’s the “Best e-mail client for Windows”.

Let’s take a look at the features and see just why it makes this bold claim front and centre at the top of its site.

Most notable are the new features in their latest version, 7 as of this writing. First up we have the new interface design, built from the ground up to be customisable, functional, and appealing, these are multiple themes to choose from including a dark theme that’s easier on the eyes than most of the lighter options.

There are a few layout options and handy features in there, such as the right sidebar which displays details about the contact(s) related to the email you’re currently reading and even previous correspondences with them. There are also some smart folders, which are generated automatically by eM Client for handy things like all unread and flagged emails for quick reference. The search bar also allows you to toggle between current email folder or all mail, allowing you to narrow search results.

Next up we have the conversation view, if you’ve used gmail before then this is probably quite familiar to you, if you haven’t, the basic principle is that emails to and from the same person(s) with the same subject are grouped together and sorted by date/time so you can quickly recall previous emails about the same topic and get an overview of the titular conversation as a whole.

Delayed sending is another great feature that, as the name suggests, allows you to compose an email now but send it at a future date and/or time, giving you more control over when a person receives something from you.

Another useful feature is one-click translate, if eM Client detects an email received in a language other than the one set you can press a button to automatically translate the text to the email client’s language.

You also have the typical expected features of a modern email client, support for Windows operating systems dating from XP all the way to Windows 10, built in support for all the popular email services including Gmail, Exchange, iCloud, Outlook.com and more, and importing of data from other email clients. Finally, eM Client also supports touch devices, so if you have a touch enabled device like a Windows tablet or a hybrid laptop with touchscreen capabilities then you can also use it that way. On top of all of this, it also includes contact management, tasks, calendars and chat integration.

Overall eM Client boasts a lot of features and fantastic support for a wide range of services. There are both paid and free options, the free option, for non-commercial use, is limited to two accounts but other than that is fully featured and unrestricted. The paid version will set you back £29.95 (excluding VAT) and is a one-time payment, lifetime license, with no annual fees. You can instead pay £59.95 to get lifetime upgrades, so any time there is a major revision of the software you can be sure that you’ll always be up to date with the latest features.

Mozilla Thunderbird

You’re probably already familiar with Thunderbird, but if you’re not, Mozilla initially launched the Thunderbird email client way back in 2003, and we’re currently sitting at version 45 at the time of writing.

The client has come a long way from its roots as a competitor to the email clients of old, constantly growing and expanding into a feature-rich program with lots of control and potential.

As of July 2012, Mozilla dropped official development for the client, but don’t let this dissuade you from using it. As an open-source project, the development was fully handed over to the community and it seems like they’re doing a wonderful job of keeping it relevant, secure, and up to date.

The interface is clean, functional and familiar to just about anyone who’s used an email client over the last 10-15 years, heavily influenced in design by the look of Firefox, the browser that Thunderbird used to come bundled with until Mozilla uncoupled itself from the project in December of 2015 when Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Executive Chair, announced it in a company-wide memo.

There are plenty of great features in Thunderbird, including, but not limited to, a mail account setup wizard which makes setting up email from any source really easy and straightforward, personalized email addresses that you can sign up for directly from the client, a “one-click” address book that allows you to add new contacts to your address book by simply clicking the star icon next to their email address in an email, attachment reminders that detect whether you’ve mentioned an attachment in your message and reminds you to include one before sending, chat support, tabs, search, filters, archiving and much more.

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Thunderbird is another fantastic, feature-rich client and a worthy option for any user. The project is open-source so there is no paid option at all, the client is completely free in perpetuity so even if you’re not sure about it, give it a try!

Windows Mail (and Calendar) App

And finally, if you’re running Windows 10 you’ve probably seen this already; it’s Microsoft’s own in-house email client that comes with the latest version of their operating system. Though sparse in customisation options and features, it has enough to deal with most of the day-to-day of email management so if you’re just looking for a simple to set up email client this might be the one for you.

It handles multiple accounts with ease and even adds accounts you’ve set up in Windows automatically (though you can easily remove them again if you want).

If you’re in the market for an email client, these are all solid choices that won’t steer you wrong, so go give them a go and see what suits you and your needs!

Internet News (24th October – 6th November 2016)

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