Mobility

MailDroid: A more versatile, user-friendly Android email client

Find out what Jack Wallen thinks MailDroid is one of the best suited mail apps for business users.

I like the built-in Android mail client, but there are times when more is simply necessary. Fortunately, with Android, you have options. One such option (one that offers plenty of power for business users) is MailDroid.

As a powerful, flexible email client, MailDroid offers the following features:

  • A powerful search filter
  • Threaded view
  • Bookmarks (for quick access to folders)
  • Rule-based connection management
  • IMAP idle push
  • Save/download attachments from email to SD
  • Settings support for signature, font size, ring tone, led color etc
  • Custom mail rules (like Outlook and Thunderbird)
  • Spell check
  • Search mail online (for IMAP only) or offline
  • Password protection
  • Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010
  • Full WYSIWYG editor
  • Split screen (tablets only)
  • Cloud storage integration (dropbox)

NOTE: In both versions, calendar integration and ActiveSync are in the works

There are two flavors of MailDroid:

The Pro version adds the following features:

  • Up/down arrow in email to move to next or previous emails
  • Ability to set where to go after deleting an email (next/previous or back to inbox)
  • Two widgets

But is MailDroid the right app for you? Can it help you better communicate with your business and your clients? I believe so. Let's dig into this replacement mail client and find out just how it works.

Installation

As you might expect, the installation is quite simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "maildroid" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the free version
  4. Tap on the entry titled "Maildroid - Email Application"
  5. Tap Install
  6. Tap Accept & download
  7. Check the box for Automatic Updating (if you want to make use of that option)

After the app is installed, you'll find the launcher for the app in the app drawer.

First usage

When you first fire up MailDroid, you'll be prompted to accept the EULA. Tap the Accept button, and then tap Next. Once you've made it through the EULA and/or the feature listing, you'll be prompted to set up an account. You have three options (Figure A):
  • Auto Setup
  • Manual Setup
  • Import Settings
Figure A

MailDroid as seen on the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III.

Most likely, you'll want to walk the path of Manual Setup, as that's often the best chance for success. Tap the Manual Setup button, and then select between the following types of accounts:

  • IMAP
  • POP3
  • Office365
  • Exchange 2003/2007
  • Exchange 2007/2010

Tap the account type necessary to continue on. Depending on the type of account you need, the configuration options will vary. Most of the account types will require the following:

  • Email address
  • Username
  • Mail server

In some cases, you might need (again, depending upon the type):

  • SSL settings
  • Ports
  • Domain
  • Outgoing SMTP server
Once the account has been created, you'll see release notes. Tap on the home button (upper left corner) to go back to the account listing page (Figure B). Figure B

MailDroid as seen on the Verizon-branded Motorola Razr Maxx HD.

Obviously, you can have multiple accounts on MailDroid. Tap the account you want to view, and you're ready to start managing your email.

Cool features

There are a couple of nifty features I want to highlight for MailDroid. The first is the Connection Management. With this feature, you can dictate exactly how MailDroid connects to your mail server. You can use the Connection Manager to remain connected (Push) to your server, close connection upon exit, check email on intervals, never check email, and more.

Let's walk through how to use the Connection Manager.

  1. From within MailDroid, tap the menu button, and then tap Account Preferences
  2. Scroll down and tap Connection Management
  3. Tap New Rule
  4. Give the new rule a name, and tap OK
  5. If you need to define the rule by time or day, tap those options and configure
  6. Tap Connection Management
  7. Select the options you want to associate with this rule (Figure C)
  8. Tap the back button to return to the rule
Figure C

Here you see some of the options for the Connection Manager.

If you do not want to create multiple rules, you can always re-configure the default rule by simply tapping on Default (within the Rules List) and configuring that rule to meet your needs.

Another cool feature is Bookmarks. With Bookmarks, you can set up quick access to folders within your mail account. This will help make an account with numerous folders and sub-folders more efficient. To bookmark a folder, follow these steps:

  1. From within the account, tap the folder icon (Figure D).
  2. Figure D

    The icon in question is highlighted here.
  3. Once you're within the folder listings, scroll to the folder you want to bookmark, long-press the folder, and select Bookmark (Figure E).
Figure E

Creating bookmarks for folders will give you more efficient access to specific folders.

MailDroid is probably one of the best suited mail apps for business users. Its flexibility and ease of use can make on-the-go email management much less of a hassle, which means you get more work done.

Which email app do you prefer? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

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 getjackd.net.

14 comments
ali.kaya
ali.kaya

I tried to use it for a week and see no better usage than standart andriod application.Why do you promote an application without any better use? Doing so will damage your reputation.

aztecsec
aztecsec

Hi. I've been using MD for a few months (since my K9 stopped pushing consistently). I have to keep K9 around though, since the MD search function does not work consistently. Is there a fix for that? I'd also like the ability to expand the "preview," that portion of the message appearing on the message list screen. Otherwise loving MD. Thanks.

Moris Kahan
Moris Kahan

I didn't see any mention about security which is very strange for an app that pretends to provide email for business usage. what about remote wipe ,sd encryption and anty-theft features? I've done benchmarks with the stock ICS email client and with several third party clients like Touchdown, Moxier, K9 and I find that Emoze has the advantage in almost every aspect. Emoze has many Security features. Push notification is stable and fast ,less than 60 sec. Battery consumption is low ,I’m able to work in push mode without charging for at least 22 hours.

jhardegree
jhardegree

I believe the correct term for the free app is "Ad" based, as in advertising, and not "Add" based, as in addition. It's okay, Jack. Sometimes it takes twenty-five or more years before you stop making these mistakes.

CharlesG1970
CharlesG1970

I have tried a number of Mail apps and for the moment have setteled on Moxier (trial). I have found many of the free apps to be lacking in features, and to have trouble conecting to my corporate servers. One big feature for me is having a seperate password for the mail app, rather than having my phone password have to meet my BYOD restrictions. I will give MD a try. I know some of the other "high end" mail clients are in the $20 range, but it still feels expensive. Moxier Pro and Touchdown are over priced. Consider a more intermediate price to get batter pro take up. It does developers diservice to loose potential customers and good word of mouth because you are trying to get $18 from 5%, rather than $10 from 20% of a much larger pool of users. Good Luck, Charles

MichelliL
MichelliL

I have been using MailDroid for most of the last year (since I purchased my first Android last year-Droid Razr). It is fantastic. My only issue is that I refuse to upgrade because I don't want to lose my old icon. The icon changed to a paper airplane months ago, but I still have the last version that had a really cool looking robotic spider standing on top of a letter. My wife wants MailDroid on her phone too, but won't do it since she can't have the old spider icon either. I know it probably sounds silly, but that icon sits in my Quick Launch bar, so I see it at all times (not to mention the icon also appears in the Notifications bar). We both want it to be the spider rather than a plain old paper airplane. The developer was nice enough to respond to me asking to keep the icon, but the answer was to install a custom launcher over my OS, which I won't do. Fortunately, the app works good enough, but I'd still love to update it (and give him more sales).

bramwell
bramwell

I've been using MailDroid for almost two years now and have no complaints. I tried many of the other apps mentioned above but they never worked correctly with our Exchange server. MailDroid worked right from the get go! It's the only mail app allowed on our work phone's now.

harry.deeley@hoerbiger.com
harry.deeley@hoerbiger.com

I tried K9, Maildroid for connecting to IMAP at work and they were OK. I found the new app called Aquamail and I think this is the best I have found for the Android phones. It is VERY configurable and FAST. And for a limited time you can get the PRO version for $4.95

jmbaynes
jmbaynes

Often getting Apps like k9 and other free email apps to get connect properly to exchange can be difficult. This worked like a charm. I did purchase Touchdown already and I like it slightly more, however this is a great app for anyone who doesn't want to spend $20 for touchdown.

maildroiddev
maildroiddev

First, thank you Jack for the glowing review, it is much appreciated. @Jim, if you like K9 and it works for you, you should stick with it. When I started development on MD 4 years ago, I wanted something different than K9. Ads support me as I am fully dedicated to this full time now, as for the pro version, if people really don't want ads they can go for it. K9 is a great email app and for some people it does work better than MD. It has some features I don't have and I have may features that it does not have. Consider MailDroid as an alternative to K9 and something that is very actively worked on.

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

Jack lists a couple features that K-9 doesn't have, but K-9 is both free and ad-free. Is someone willing to do a comparison and convince me that I REALLY need to spend $17.99? FWIW, I have two POP and two IMAP accounts, and on purpose, I only check for incoming mail manually.

maildroiddev
maildroiddev

Another very good app, the developer often speaks of the things done in MailDroid. For each user, it depends on what works best for them. You did the right thing by trying all 3 and finding one that worked best for you. I know users who have tried the mail app you like and liked MD better. It's always a matter of personal preference, feature-set (MD has a fairly sophisticated set of features not found in other clients) , and look and feel.

david.dibiase
david.dibiase

@maildroiddev - I have tried many clients. After my razr max was upgraded to ICS I have remained with the default mail client. If as stated, MD gives me more controll, I would certainly try it. But, with the exception of my passwords, why do I have to re-enter all my mail account connection info??

maildroiddev
maildroiddev

Because MD can't read info from the stock mail client database. If it could, that would be a major security breach. If you are talking about reading from gmail and using a token, that is doable, but I opted out of doing that.