Software

Review: The revolutionary mail client PostBox

If you want your experience with email supercharged on your Windows PC, look no further than to Postbox.

So Outlook Express and Microsoft Mail are simply too pedestrian for you. You want something more integrated and feature rich for your email, as well as some additional support for external web services, such as file sharing sites and more. If you want your experience with email supercharged on your Windows PC, look no further than to Postbox.

Postbox

Postbox truly takes POP3 and IMAP4 mail to a new level, and my initial experience with the software is nothing but positive. The user interface is clean and organized much like you would expect in a desktop email program. However, any similarity with the likes of Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mail essentially stops there, once you get into the features.

For all the Gmail fans out there, Postbox supports that service right out of the box (no pun intended) including the ability to utilize custom Gmail labels, archive messages and a dedicated view for messages labeled as important. Social network integration is a nifty feature with Postbox, and it allows you to download contact information from all your connections, making it easy to send email to all of them. You can even update your status messages on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook through the interface as well.

A feature I take a particular liking to is what Postbox calls "Intuitive Conversation Views", which not unlike Gmail, keeps message threads organized in an easy to follow fashion, eliminating repetitive "Next Message" type button clicking exercise for messages within the same stream of conversation. The user interface is well thought out and I didn't have to hunt and peck in a help file to figure out all I wanted to know. If I want to send a file to someone, but would rather not attach to an email message, Postbox can create Dropbox links on your behalf, making file sharing child's play.

Bottom line

Now one question remains. Is the price right? At about $29.95 for a license, it's not too bad. However, when you are competing against the free options that exist out there, it can be a tough sell for most folks. Personally, I'd strongly recommend this application for anyone who has serious email needs, wishes to manage multiple accounts without breaking a sweat, and above all, wants a centralized communications hub from which to do anything and everything. Thankfully, Postbox is offered with a free 30-day trial, so you can take it for a spin and see whether or not the added features are worth the money.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

21 comments
chrisbedford
chrisbedford

I just downloaded version 16.something - looks like they have pulled the versioning in line with Firefox (what's with that, anyway? A new major version no every couple of months?) My problem is that the Mac version, like many other Mac mail clients, is buggy, and there doesn't appear to be *any* client that can handle a large database of email (e.g. 47,000 messages taking up 11 GB) - what do other people do? This can't be a unique requirement, I know any number of people who use their email as a filing system.

unfrostedpoptart
unfrostedpoptart

First off, your headline, "revolutionary," is factually wrong. Most of the base code is right from Thunderbird which is where some of the PB developers came from. They have added a lot of new features to it and have been good about support - until last month! I’m a long-time Postbox user, but I wouldn’t switch to them now! The same time they lowered the price, they cut off all tech support! http://support.postbox-inc.com/entries/21694767-how-to-get-help-with-postbox_forums So, they tell us all to help each other, but they don’t have the forum to do it in or allow us to post to their facebook page http://support.postbox-inc.com/entries/21702158-where-are-the-postbox-forums I’ve now got 2-year-old bugs in their system that they’ve closed and won’t allow updating or entering new bugs. And, they haven’t responded to this in the last few days.

swbrains
swbrains

I was about to pull the trigger on the $10 PostBox 3 purchase, but while I was looking for a support contact address, I found this statement on their web site: ""Please note that we do not offer one-on-one support offerings to new users at this time. All support efforts are currently dedicated towards providing better documentation and self-help solutions so that our users can more quickly find the answers they need." So, if I can't find an answer to my question in the provided "self-help" content or through Google, then what?

TechRepublic
TechRepublic

Does ANYONE actually PAY for an email client nowadays? Er, NO! With so many clients that WILL DO, we adjust our needs to what is available. Enough said!

awraynor
awraynor

I use Postbox and think it is a good product. The pricetag includes installation on ALL computers that you own which is outstanding. The Mac version has an Evernote plugin which the Windows version does not. Otherwise, a decent product at a great price. I guess aesthetically, almost any e-mail program will look similar to Outlook?

Sherman Dickman
Sherman Dickman

In response to Mozilla's recent announcement on Thunderbird, we've lowered the price of Postbox to just $9.95. We encourage everyone to give it a try, as it contains some really unique innovations that can really improve your workflow. For a quick overview, please see: http://www.postbox-inc.com/ http://www.postbox-inc.com/features Sherman Dickman Postbox, Inc.

conseil
conseil

A couple of year's ago I installed PostBox on my mother's PC as a cheap and easy alternative to Outlook. No problems to report and she loves it.

SKDTech
SKDTech

TB has always been my email client of choice. I may have to take a look at Postbox if Mozilla is dropping support for TB and no one picks it up.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you use an email client other than Gmail or Outlook on your Windows PCs? What do you use and why do you recommend it? Have you tried PostBox?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I expect to at least get documentation, written by someone who learned English as his or her native language. On the other hand, it's a one-time charge of $10; most people pay many times monthly for Internet access, or for a single movie ticket, or a couple of alcoholic drinks at a bar.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

I would be surprised if there isn't a massive uptake in Postbox community support after Mozilla's recent misstep. Sure, paying for a product should merit some form of complementary support from the company, but perhaps their approach to refine documentation might be a better move for something like an email client.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Actually, I paid for MS Office, which included Outlook. I probably would not have purchased the suite if I didn't get it at a substantial discount thanks to my workplace's enterprise licensing agreement. My personal e-mail needs are pretty simple. Outlook Express or Windows Mail may have handled them. I'll never know.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Thanks for your commentary. Although paying for an email client for most folks seems a bit out of line, Postbox is still cheaper than buying full on Outlook (not the crippled Express or Windows Mail variants).

Ocie3
Ocie3

Can we import mail from Thunderbird to Postbox? Import the address book?

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Thanks for dropping by! Appreciate the update. Yes with Mozilla's announcement about the impending sunset of Thunderbird, people are going to be looking around for a viable alternative that will fit their needs.

goldiesD
goldiesD

If you remember Eudora, then that's the ripoff.

swbrains
swbrains

As a software developer, I know there are frequently customer cases that simply can't be diagnosed by other customers. Many times, the only way to determine the cause of a problem (and hence its solution) is to review the code and see which conditions might cause specific logic to be executed (or not). Community support and knowledgebases are acceptable for the common "how to" questions, but a good percentage of software support is researching problems that are bugs or issues fairly unique to that customer's environment or usage. As a sole source of product support, a user community alone is acceptable for open-source projects, but not for a profitable company's flagship product. I just think the "we'll take your money -- just don't ask us any questions..." paradigm doesn't make a good statement.

awraynor
awraynor

I also use Outlook and sometimes you just want to check your e-mail and not start up that beast of a program. Postbox is lean, but why isn't there an Evernote extension for Outlook on Windows?

awraynor
awraynor

I can't think of the last time I actually contacted support. Forums, google are all I usually need.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

I agree with your assessment of this lack in direct customer support. Hopefully with the recent price drop, it makes that pill a bit easier to swallow in the end. Granted, I consider myself to be a hardware / software guru, so I never really needed to take advantage of any customer service, save for some defective hardware or a bad software product key for instance.

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