Smartphones

Review: TouchDown mail client for Android

If you have an Android-based phone and you need to connect to an Exchange server, Jack Wallen says you cannot beat TouchDown for a simple to use, single point of entry application.

If your company uses an Exchange server and you need to be able to stay in sync with your work calendar and email, you have choices, especially if you use an Android-based phone. You can use the built-in Exchange support and use the Android mail client and calendar widget; or, you could give NitroDesk's TouchDown Exchange client a try.

This Android client for Exchange is an outstanding tool for staying in sync with your Exchange data. Instead of having to check more than one application (or widget), you can go to one simple to use application to stay up to date. If you are a big fan of the home screen widget, TouchDown has you covered as well with a widget for email and calendar. But is this client the right Android-based Exchange client for you? Let's take a look and see.

Requirements

  • Android-based phone.
  • Microsoft Exchange account.
  • Account for purchasing apps on the Android Market.

Who is the target audience?

The TouchDown Exchange client is a great tool for anyone who is used to (and fond of) the one stop shop that is Outlook. Although the interface isn't the same (how could you recreate such an interface on a phone?), it does give the user a similar experience with Email, Calendar, Clients, and Todos.

Outstanding features

  • Simple to use interface.
  • Notifications work seamlessly with the Android notification system.
  • Send/receive email, add/edit appointments, use contacts -- just like you were in Outlook.
  • Inexpensive ($19.99 USD at the time of writing).
  • Widgets for email and calendar to place on home screen.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Works with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, and OWA.
  • In addition to Exchange, TouchDown supports these email servers: Zimbra, Kerio, Novell GroupWise *, Sun Java Communication Suite *, Oracle OCS & Beehive Suites *, Mirapoint Messaging Server *, Alt-N MDaemon *, People Cube's Meeting Maker *, OpenText First Class *, Google Premier Apps *, Mirapoint *. (* These servers are only supported through NotifyLink.)

What's wrong?

The biggest issue with TouchDown is the installation. Although the installation of the application itself isn't a problem, the order in which you install it is. There are actually two applications to install: the demo (a 30-day trial) and the license. You must install the demo first, followed by the license; you only have to purchase the license.

The only other issue I had is, upon first setup, if you are not connected to Wi-Fi, the sync can take forever!

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you have an Android-based phone and you need to connect to an Exchange server, you cannot beat TouchDown for a simple to use, single point of entry application; this is why I included it in my list of 10 must-have Android apps. TouchDown is as user-friendly as any other Android app and will keep you in sync with your work Exchange server from your phone at all times.

And as far as how it ranks with the "other" smartphone's Exchange support? If you're looking for features, configuration options, and ease of use, I don't think you'll find an iApp to beat TouchDown. Sorry, iPhone users need not apply.

User rating

Have you deployed TouchDown for Android? If so, how would you rate your experience? Rate this operating system below and compare your results to what other Techrepublic members think.

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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.

4 comments
trevor.branch
trevor.branch

The Calendar display of TouchDown is poor a bit out moded may be it is the colouring. Email side is fine.

JL9
JL9

The company is also very responsive to users and pushes out frequent beta updates. Of course, it helps that it can just post them without needing the permission of the Great and Powerful Oz. :)

Akais1
Akais1

Even though it reports to Exchange that it does.

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