I've tested a lot of email clients for Android. Each one of them offers features that may or may not pull me from the default Android email tool. Usually, however, I go right back to tried-and-true default.
That is, until I tried Boxer. This full-featured email client offers just enough additional goodness, without a distractingly oblique design shift, to make it a worthy contender to take over as my favorite mobile email client.
Some of Boxer features include:
- Quick replies
- Swipe to delete
- Cloud attachments
- Evernote integration
- Gmail labels
- To-do lists
- Email "likes"
Boxer is all about being fast and efficient. Let's install it and take a closer look.
There are four different versions of Boxer:
- Free: Limits you to one account
- Boxer Pro: Unlimited accounts, Custom Quick Replies and signatures — $9.99 (or free if you're willing to text five friends about Boxer)
- Boxer for Exchange: Adds support for Exchange — $9.99
- Boxer Pro + Exchange: All of the Pro features plus Exchange support — $14.00
You'll only find one version in the Google Play Store. The upgrade is an in-app process (more in a bit).
To install Boxer, do the following:
- Open the Google Play Store on your device
- Search for Boxer
- Locate and tap the entry by Boxer
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to finish
Once it's installed, you should find a launcher for the app on your home screen or in your app drawer (or both). Tap that, and you'll be prompted to begin the process of setting up your email account.
Initial account setup
The process of setting up your email account is simple. Enter your email address and tap the GET STARTED button (Figure A).
Setting up Boxer on a Verizon-branded LG G3.
Depending on the type of email account you're setting up, you'll be asked for the account credentials. If this is a Gmail account, you'll be prompted for the standard Google authentication (Figure B). You'll also be asked to give Boxer permission to access your Gmail account.
Setting up a Gmail account on Boxer.
For any other account, it will prompt you for the password and then ask you to select from the listing of account types (Figure C).
Selecting the account type for Boxer.
If you choose an IMAP or POP account, you'll have to enter the usual information (username, password, server address, port, security type, and IMAP path prefix).
Once it's set up, you're ready to rock.
Using Boxer is similar to using other email clients. You have a unified inbox (you can also select individual inboxes if you prefer) where you can handle all the standard tasks (reply, forward, delete, etc). If, however, you tap the tiny dot in the bottom far left of an email listing (it's selected when the label changes to a grey box with a check mark), you can then tap the dotted square button (top right corner) and act on that email using one of the quick actions (Figure D).
Boxer quick actions.
The quick actions feature is the highlight of Boxer. Using this, you can then:
- Like the email: Automatically reply to the original sender, indicating that you "liked" the email
- To-do: Create a to-do entry for the email (you can add assignees, due dates, etc.)
- Quick: Send a quick reply
- Label: Label the email
- Archive: Archive the email
- Delete: Delete the email
- Spam: Mark the email as spam
- Evernote: Add the email to Evernote (must be installed)
- Unread: Mark the email as unread
- Star: Star the email
It's those quick actions that really set Boxer apart from all other Android email clients.
You can also customize the left and right swipe actions. You have four different swipes that can be customized:
- Right short swipe
- Right long swipe
- Left short swipe
- Left long swipe
When you configure an action, you can choose from any of the available quick actions. For example, you can set up a long right swipe to automatically Like an email or save it to Evernote. To configure the swipe actions, do the following:
- Make sure no emails are checked in the inbox
- Tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner)
- Tap Settings
- Tap General settings
- Tap Swipe actions
- Select a swipe action to configure
- Select the action to associate with the swipe (Figure E)
Associating an action to a swipe.
If you've upgraded to the Pro version, you'll be able to customize the Quick responses. This is, in my opinion, a must have (as the canned Quick responses are limited and you can't create new Quick responses with the free version). To create a new Quick response, do the following:
- Go into Boxer settings
- Tap the account you want to configure
- Tap Quick responses
- Tap CREATE NEW (Figure F)
- Enter the text for the Quick response
- Tap Save
Creating a new Quick response.
You can create as many Quick responses as you need. You can also edit one of the canned responses by tapping it, editing the text, and selecting Save.
The addition of the quick actions makes Boxer one of the more efficient Android email clients. And if you upgrade to the Pro version, you'll have even more power at your fingertips.
Boxer is an email client that should find its way onto your Android device. If it does, don't be surprised when it becomes your default client.
What about you? What features does your mobile email client lack — or have you found mobile email Nirvana? If so, what app are you using? Share your experience 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 jackwallen.com.