Postbox: A Powerful Cross-Platform Email Client [Review]

It turns out that when I decided to search for a new e-mail app of choice, that Postbox won out. But I neglected to go into deeper details as to why this was the app I went with. So, to give you a better idea why Postbox isn’t just right for me but also might be right for you, here’s something a little more in-depth.

One of the things I really wanted with my new e-mail app of choice was one with familiar surroundings. Well, Postbox definitely gave me that – and a lot more. Sure, it isn’t nearly as minimal-looking as Sparrow was, but I wanted something that was a little bit more robust and also had a little bit more functionality to it in my search for its replacement.

And Postbox is more than just a little robust. It is perhaps the most powerful email app out there – for any platform.

The ability to have multiple e-mail accounts shift so easily from your existing mail application, whether it be Sparrow or Apple’s own, allows you to get right into Postbox very quickly. It looks a lot like the native Apple, but has a whole lot more under the hood.

If you’re a big Gmail user, then Postbox has you covered. In the Advanced/General preferences panel, you can set Postbox to use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts and you can also create events within Google Calendar for detected dates. Further support for Gmail Labels includes the ability to tag your messages simply by typing the “L” key, and messages marked by Gmail as “Important” are now recognized within the Postbox thread pane and dedicated folder view. Since I’ve gone back to Gmail, having all of these abilities at my fingertips without having to resort to using Gmail on the web (or Mailplane, for that matter) is incredibly handy. You can also use a dedicated Important view within Postbox, which is great if you’re shifting from the Gmail web interface to a native app – the barrier to entry is that much lower.

As many of you may know, I’m not a fan of using your e-mail app to manage your tasks. But Postbox can do that if you need. You can “tag” to-dos within Postbox by simply selecting a message and pressing the “S” key. And these to-dos are automatically background colored to be easier to find.

Postbox also sports a variety of viewing options called “Smart Views”, one of which is called the To-Do View. This option lets you work on important tasks without distraction, which is great if you either use your email as a task manager (again, I don’t recommend this) or if you want to focus on dealing with particular aspects of your inbox by using this view in conjunction with the Unified Inboxes/Folders and the Focus Pane features. Postbox does integrate with several other apps, including Dropbox (allowing you to send links to your Dropbox files rather than the files themselves) and Evernote (you can send message content to Evernote - Mac only). TextExpander works just fine with Postbox and so do popular Mac task management apps Things and OmniFocus.

Speaking of the Focus Pane…I’m a huge fan of this feature. I can now “time chunk” my inbox using attributes such as favourite topics, contacts, by date, and more. I use Perspectives in OmniFocus a lot, and I also like the idea of Workspaces in Asana. Having a similar type of feature in my email app of choice is simply more than I could have hoped for when I embarked on this quest.

There are other aspects of Postbox that can serve to enhance your overall productivity, including canned responses (although I tend to use TextExpander for those – but this is a boon for Windows users who want to use Postbox), fast access to your email accounts and favourite folders from the Favourites Bar, and the ability to “Send and Archive” no matter which way you reply to a message (using the Quick Reply or Compose windows).

There are so many other things I absolutely love about Postbox (signature insertion support right from the toolbar, an incredibly fast and accurate search function on multiple levels, add-on support for services like SpamSieve, etc.) that it’s hard to highlight all of them. Instead, I’ve focused on the features that are of most importance to me: email efficiency and productivity enhancement. Postbox has both of those areas covered…in spades. And while I did some difficulty with some lag time in my early use of the app, Postbox came to the rescue with some recommendations for a fix right within the comments section of my blog.

Now that’s support!

As for the cost? For $9.95 USD, you are getting a stellar email app – and my email app of choice – at a great price. But if you’re not ready to buy quite yet, they offer a free 30-day trial to get you started. After purchase, you also get a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, meaning you’ll be getting a full 90 days to evaluate Postbox without any real risk. That’s how much they stand behind the app.

As well they should. It’s that damn good.

Postbox is my new email app of choice – and I highly recommend you head over to the company’s website to grab yourself a copy today. Your inbox will thank you.