• Posted on July 20, 2013

Postbox 3.0 Review

Desktop EMail clients are slowly dying, along with a lot of other desktop programs such as music players, chat software, videos and more. The reason being, all of this is available online, and mostly for free. Although this is great and all, there are issues with having all your software online. If any of those sites close, have database issues, get hacked, are unavailable for a few days due to maintenance you are out of luck. The data you so badly need is unavailable. Or if you are without internet for a few hours and want to listen to your music, organize your mailbox, or even watch TV, you can’t.

That rambling on of a mad person leads us to this, should I use the email client PostBox? There are hundreds of email clients out there (if not thousands). Out of all of those, a select few didn’t send me running back to Gmail instantly. Postbox, is one of those few that you will want to look into.

The Appearance

People often think including appearance in reviews is pointless. If the software works, who cares what it looks like? If you are one of those people, you are wrong. Appearance plays a large part since you are going to be staring on this program for a long while. And it being for email, probably have it always opened on a second monitor or smaller window.

Classic Postbox View

Postbox has a very minimalist design to it, in a good way. You can quickly view all e-mail accounts you have on the left panel, that can be collapsed. Unlike a lot of other e-mail clients, the folders don’t appear in a tree view with the e-mail accounts. In Postbox, the folders appear in another box under all of the e-mail accounts. I personally like this a lot more, since when do I need to see all the folders I have for different e-mail accounts… just inbox, sent, trash, inbox sent, trash, over and over again.

The e-mail listing view comes in two layouts. Vertical and Classical. Classical view is for smaller monitors as I can tell, since using it on my larger screen requires a lot of head movements. I can see the Vertical view being used for large and smaller monitors though. It works really well with the “Message” style e-mails.

When reading e-mails, all the messages of that conversation appear in a message view. Showing the message, to and from, and being able to collapse that message to hide it away. You can have the messages appear from new to oldest or the other way around to best fit your preference. At the bottom you have a quick reply, and when clicked to enter a reply, the full message to be send appears. Other email clients that have a quick reply, won’t show you the full message being sent, which should warrant you being worried.

Three Column Postbox View

The top actions bar is fairly basic. The icons do seem a little out-dated, by that isn’t too much to worry about. I do find most of the icons not even required. You can customize what icons do appear along with spacing, but the toolbar is so large for such a small amount of icons you really do need.

Account Setup

Setting up e-mail accounts is just as easy or hard as the other clients out there. You can have either a POP or IMAP account connected. In the account manager, when adding a new account you do have options to customize all the server settings that were detected. Such as changing the MX Address, the port numbers, security method and more. Having these settings during account adding is great for someone who knows what they are doing. I can quickly add accounts and modify all of the ports. For newer users, all of this information and inputs may be confusing. The “advanced” settings should be hidden in account creation, and have a button show all of these additional settings. But not have the settings in different window, just hidden and shown when instructed to.

The Not So Good

For all the things that is good about Postbox, there are some things I don’t like. First, the title of the program always shows how many messages you have in yoru inbox, read and unread. Having that changed to only unread messages would be ideal. I’ve looked through all the settings and don’t see anything to change it.

While talking about settings, the “Options” window in Postbox is messy. Hopefully you will only need to go through the settings once and never have to look at them again. But while doing research on this program and trying to find out what it has to offer, I found myself getting lost and having a hard time finding the setting’s I have previously seen but couldn’t figure out what category or tab. For the amount of settings they do offer, I know it can be hard to organize properly, but I bet if they dedicated more time to it, something better could be the outcome.

I am unsure why all email clients feel like they have to include a web browser, and Postbox is no different. Personally, I find it lacking in security to include a web browser in an e-mail client. I am unsure how they are setup, but clicking a link in an e-mail is at times risky, so I will want a polished browser to handle it, that has phishing reporting and sandbox javascript. The built in browser may not have all of those security features.

Does Postbox Work

The most important thing, does Postbox email client work? Yes, and much better than most clients out there. The quoted replied messages and signatures are handled near perfect. I’ve never had an issue with a message showing the previous quoted text, and all the signatures properly get styled to the Postbox “light gray” signature color.

The e-mails received also get received almost immediately (on a 10 minute loop by default). This may sound like something I wouldn’t talk about, but some email clients just won’t grab my e-mails from the server. Seems odd since that’s what the main purpose of the program is for. But Postbox does a great job at this, and also deleting the messages right away (a setting to delete messages on server after receiving them, you can have them remain on the server).

Replying to messages has to be, by far, the best I’ve used yet. The amount of options available, such as signature before or after quoted text, reply above or below quote, plain or HTML reply, and much more. The parsing of the previous emails perfectly, and just being able to reply to messages without reformatting the e-mail to appear correctly is just wonderful.

Additional Features

Postbox does come with some additional features. You can download and install Addons. The library / selection of addons is lacking. I looked through the 10-15 of them that were created for Postbox 3 (current version) and they didn’t add much. If you need an e-mail client with all the addons, thunderbird is where you would want to look. But thunderbird is kinda “bloated” in my opinion.

Social integration is built into Postbox, including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Dropbox. I know dropbox isn’t social, but you can easily include your Dropbox files into e-mails you send. For the social sites, you can post to your wall and get the avatars / profile pictures of users when they send you an e-mail.

Gravatar is also built into Postbox, giving faces to those email addresses. I like that they use gravatar instead of “set your contacts photos” option. Gravatar is extremely popular and nearly every site uses it when they don’t have extensive profile pages. This site currently uses gravatar even.

When clicking on dates and times, Postbox will open up Google Calendar to create an event. This is much better than having a built in calendar that is half-assed. Postbox made a good decision on using an external calendar instead of building their own.

Should You Buy It

Postbox is not free, it costs a whole $10.00 USD. If you need e-mail, and don’t like all the junk the other e-mail clients have such as calendars and random stuff that external programs can do better, Postbox is your program. You can try Postbox for 30 days, and have all the features available to you.

Right now, my go-to email client is Postbox. I use it for all my sites e-mails, but I still have my Gmail account (personal) running inside of Gmail. The reason I did pick Postbox for managing my sites e-mails, is simple. Postbox organizes the mail nicely, I can clearly see the full conversation, and it isn’t bloated.

You can check out Postbox at http://www.postbox-inc.com and get your Free Trial today.