Originally, I used Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client. It had all of the features I needed and more. In 2012, Mozilla announced they weren’t going to develop new features. I decided to move on from Thunderbird, knowing it’d eventually become a dinosaur.
At that time, I chose eM Client as a replacement. Several years passed, and I decided to evaluate email clients again.
My criteria for an email client are:
- The client should be free. If the client is excellent, I’m willing to pay a reasonable amount for a license as long as the license will allow running on multiple computers.
- The interface must look modern, not aged.
- The client must handle multiple email accounts.
- The client must handle HTML signatures.
- The client must handle email aliases for accounts.
- The client must mark an email read when opened, not open the next email when the current is closed or deleted, and not mark an email as read when it’s previewed.
- The client must render emails properly.
- The client must support IMAP.
- While not a must-have, I’d like the client to handle encrypted emails–a feature I may eventually use.
I immediately discounted Pegasus Mail, Incredimail, Mulberry, Foxmail, DreamMail, and Zimbra Desktop because their interfaces looked aged.
Claws Email can’t handle HTML emails and it’s interface is aged. At this point, an email client is useless if it can’t handle HTML emails.
Microsoft Outlook bounced itself from the running because of cost/licensing issues–$70/year for 1 PC, or $100/year for 5 PCs.
I tried Opera Mail and discounted it. Honestly, I don’t remember why. I think it was how it handled marking emails as read.
Mailbird looked pretty good except it only handles one account without paying. It’s payment options are $1/month billed annually ($12/year) or $22.50 for lifetime of Version 2.x. The price is okay (The license is for multiple computers.), but how good is a “lifetime” license for a specific version? Probably 1-2 years until Mailbird hits a next major version. That’s not so attractive. It also had problems with marking as read, though I tried it several months ago.
I tried Thunderbird again. Apparently, it’s being developed as a community project. Several features and add-ons have disappeared. The date received includes only the time for today and the date and time for previous days. An add-on, superDate, supposedly handles how this date displays, but it didn’t work properly for me, and I couldn’t find any help with it. Now, it also doesn’t handle read messages the way it used to, and there wasn’t any add-ons to address it.
Finally, it didn’t interface well with GMail Notifier Pro. I configured it to run my client when the Windows tray icon is clicked. I managed to get it to work by configuring GMail Notifier Pro to run a bat file containing a DOS start command to run Thunderbird.
I discounted Postbox because it’s based on Thunderbird and pricing issues.
I tried Windows 10 Mail. It worked better than I expected, but it lacked the ability to handle HTML signatures and account aliases. It worked well, otherwise.
Inky almost made the grade. The only issue I had with it was that it didn’t render an email from a subscription list (CalSky.com) properly. I reported it to them. If they can fix the issue, I may still move to them.
I’m back where I started–eM Client. It does everything I need it to do. I’d prefer a bit more ability to customize it, particularly it’s color scheme. It is fully featured, though, and worth checking out if you’re in the market for an email client.