Email is one of the single most important means of business communication on the planet. In fact, having an efficient, reliable email client can mean the difference between working and not working. As you might expect, there are numerous email clients for the Android platform. Some of them are quite good, but others are worthless. I've gone through a large number of those applications to find the cream of the crop. Some of these clients are limited to a single account/service, whereas others are able to connect to multiple accounts/services. Regardless of what email you use, you'll find a solid client for your Android tablet in this list.
1. TouchDown HD
TouchDown HD is an Exchange-only email client that does a great job of connecting with different flavors of Exchange (though 2013 is problematic at the time of this writing). TouchDown can sync your Exchange email, calendar, contacts, and tasks (Figure A), plus it gives you access to each of these pieces from within a single interface.
TouchDown HD on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note.
For power users, TouchDown's interface is a real time saver (no more switching back and forth between apps to view email, calendar, contacts, or tasks). TouchDown is highly configurable (Figure B), offers SD card support, has plenty of widgets to add to your home screen, and supports Exchange ActiveSync policies such as PIN, remote wipe, data encryption, and storage card encryption.
The Settings window for TouchDown HD.
You can give TouchDown a try with their 30-day free trial, or you can dive right in and pay $19.99 (USD) for the Exchange by TouchDown Key.
2. K-9 Mail
K-9 Mail is an open source email application that supports IMAP, POP3, and Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV). K-9 Mail is one of the most highly customizable email clients for the Android platform, and it offers the following features: Search, IMAP push email, multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, bcc-self, PGP, mail on SD, unified inbox, and much more (Figure C).
The K-9 Settings window.
The user interface is easy to use and very efficient (Figure D).
The K-9 interface is clean and efficient.
You'll find little clutter or confusion here — it's simple email power. One aspect I really appreciate with K-9 is the ability to quickly add CC and BCC to outgoing email. The K-9 email client is free and works well on both tablets and phones.
Boomerang is a free email app for Gmail and Google Apps accounts only, but it offers so many outstanding features that you'll forgive its single-mindedness. Boomerang greatly expands upon the default Gmail Android app with features like support for "Send as," account specific themes, customizable multi-gesture support, snooze email messages, schedule messages to be sent at a later time, track responses to the emails you send, search through all messages across all Gmail folders (Figure E), access to all labels, multi-account support with easy account switching, and much more.
The Boomerang main interface.
Boomerang's unique take on email allows you to send out an email and keep tabs on whether or not you're waiting for a reply. You can set up actions based on elapsed time since the email was sent, and you can also configure the actions based on swipe direction (Figure F).
You can set up swipe actions in Boomerang.
Boomerang currently only works with Gmail, but future iterations will include Exchange, Yahoo, and other email account types.
Emoze is a free and friendly email client that focuses on push email and supports multiple accounts, including Exchange, OWA, Google, Y!, Hotmail, Outlook365, IMAP, and POP3 (Figure G).
Supported accounts for Emoze.
Emoze has a well-designed interface (Figure H) and offers rich text email composition, syncing of contacts and calendar, push folder selections, attachment previewing, an attachments folder, Global Address List (GAL) search, a personalize inbox with Facebook pics, in-app translation of messages (25 languages), and much more.
The Emoze main screen.
Security is also a plus with Emoze. One feature
businesses will appreciate is the SIM card replacement alert. Once you receive
the SIM card replacement alert, you can remotely wipe the tablet (or phone) to keep
sensitive company data from gracing the gaze of nefarious users.
5. Aqua Mail
Aqua Mail supports the likes of Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, plus IMAP, POP3, Exchange, Lotus Notes, and more (Exchange and Lotus require IMAP to be enabled). One of the best things about Aqua Mail is its ability to keep you organized. It has an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly navigate around the client (without removing your hands from either side of your tablet, I might add — Figure I), which makes managing email on a tablet incredibly efficient.
The Aqua Mail interface is very easy to navigate.
Another very handy feature of Aqua Mail is the built-in database compact. With an overly large inbox, that database can cause the email client to become slow or unresponsive. By compacting the database, you can improve performance and save space. In the Aqua Mail Settings window, you can also set up Smart Folders and configure numerous aspects of this email application (Figure J).
The Aqua Mail Settings window.
The lite version of Aqua Mail is free, but it limits you to two accounts. The Aqua Mail Pro Key, which costs $4.99 (USD), removes that restriction, allows you to use identities, and removes the "Lite version" signature on outgoing email.
If you're tired of scouring through the Google Play Store for stellar email clients, look no further than any one of the above applications. Some of them can only serve up a specific email service (such as Gmail or Exchange), but they do so with efficiency, power, and reliability. Give one — or two — of these a go, and see if they don't change your mind about the default email client on your Android tablet.Which email client do you prefer on your Android tablet? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
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.