Outlook is one of the most widely used email clients in the business world. But with more smaller-sized companies starting to migrate to other, cheaper, solutions a lot of users are finding email clients that handle the tasks, without the headaches (and cost) that often accompany Outlook.
Email clients offer a variety of features; some features map perfectly to Outlook, some may not. Some email clients offer calendars, some stick with just the basics. In the end, what's important is that you find a client not only offers you what you need, but does so reliably and within your budget. I've found five solid email clients to help you migrate away from Outlook. Give these a look and see which one(s) might work.
1 Opera Mail
Opera Mail is one of those clients that surprise a lot of people. Most have heard of the Opera browser, few know about the mail client. That is a shame as Opera Mail is quite solid, supports POP, IMAP (no Exchange support), newsgroups, RSS, and Atom feeds. Opera Mail has a nice list of features: Threaded views, spam protection, allows you to browse websites within tabs, and has a very simple (and lightning fast) user interface. Opera Mail is free and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Dreammail is another lesser-known client that plays well with POP3 (no support for IMAP or Exchange) and allows you to set up and use multiple accounts and multiple-users. Dreammail does offer some handy features like templates and signature management, anti-spam, message filtering, address book, search, a built-in webmail tool, RSS support, and ESMTP/Google/Yahoo support. Dreammail is free and available for Windows XP/Vista/7 (no support for Windows 8 yet).
i.Scribe doesn't have the most modern-looking interface. What it does have (more than most other email clients) is speed. If you're looking for the one email client that will work faster, and more efficiently, than nearly all others (except maybe Claws Mail), i.Scribe is the one you want. This mail client features: Support for most major protocols as well as international standards, can be used from portable drive, has a built-in baysian spam filter, enjoys frequent updates, and runs on both Windows and Linux. The i.Scribe email client is free.
Postbox is one of the best email clients for Gmail integration you will find. This application (available for both Window and Mac) is the only one on the list that isn't free (cost is only $9.95 per license), but does offer enough features to make the cost valid. Postbox includes: Social networking integration, native Gmail label support (even has a dedicated view for "Important" labels and support for Gmail keyboard shortcuts), fast access to your favorite accounts, integration with services like Dropbox, and much more.
Evolution is the Linux equivalent of Outlook. Evolution is also the only email client on the list with Exchange support. This client offers email, calendar, tasks, contacts, memos, LDAP compatibility, multiple account support, plugins, intelligent junk mail, powerful folder search, built-in encryption support, collaboration server support, and much more. Evolution is only available for Linux and is free (and open source). Evolution includes the Eplugin system. By default you can enjoy a number of plugins such as: Attachment reminder, Backup and Restore, Default Sources, Calendar publishing, Mailing list actions, and more.
Email is the single most important means of communication in the office. If your email client doesn't work well with your requirements, that communication is going to suffer. Though not every one of these clients offers a feature-for-feature replacement for Outlook, they will work splendidly with Gmail and POP (and IMAP, in some cases). Give these clients a try and see if they don't serve your email needs well.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.