When you seriously get into blogging you are gonna quickly realize that amount of emails you get just skyrockets. I simply HAVE TO check my email on daily basis otherwise I end up with hundreds emails to go through if I forget to clean my mailbox for few days. It is really annoying, especially when I am away from my computer. Nowadays smart phones can help solving this problem with mail apps but most of mobile mail clients are not very good. Don’t worry – if you use Gmail and iPhone I have a treat for you!
Mailbox for iPhone made lots of noise on the internet – I remember article titles saying Mailbox reinvents the email, that it is the best app on the iPhone etc etc. Does Mailbox stand up to these claims? Let’s find out.
What is Mailbox?
Mailbox is iPhone application that works ONLY with Gmail and turns it into TODO list. Mailbox needs to access your Gmail account so you have to give it permission to do it. Don’t worry – I am using it for some time and I have to admit it is pretty good email client. The best part – Mailbox is COMPLETELY FREE. The only downfall is that application uses queue to allocate new users, so you may have to wait a bit before you can use it. In my case it was 4 days (yes, you read it right – FOUR days).
Why is Mailbox an excellent email client?
There are few reasons. I really love the way you interact with your emails – you just swipe to do different actions. The application interface is very clean and intuitive, giving you quick access to all the functionality and options. Mailbox doesn’t try to imitate desktop email client – instead it gives you ability to put emails off until later – really, really helpful when you cannot deal with something right now (and you cannot do things like payments when you are on the go, can you?). It really saved my day few times. Due to Mailbox integration with Gmail itself you get emails scheduled for later on any client. All these features are not groundbreaking but altogether they make Mailbox very special email application.
How to use Mailbox?
After downloading application you need to setup new account on Mailbox servers which unfortunately may take a while – up to few days. This is the annoying part and I think Mailbox team should try to decrease waiting time.
Once you have your account setup and ready Mailbox will guide you through its features in short, easy to follow tutorial.
First button at the top of the screen brings the Main Menu:
From here you can access Email Archive, Trash, Sent and Inbox (Mailbox) components of Gmail. New items are Later and Lists (by default there are three: To Buy, To Watch and To Read but you can define more). In the browser based version of Gmail you can find all labels created by Mailbox under Mailbox label entry. There are also Settings (where you can setup your email accounts, turn off notifications, manage lists and snoozes, edit signature etc) and Help items.
Next three buttons at the top serve as quick access to Later list, Inbox and Archive. Last button is New Email – it gives you basic functionality for writing emails – you can also attach photos (from Photo Library or take one with camera).
Nothing fancy but everything works as it should. The only things annoys me a bit is that you cannot select multiple images to be attached to email.
To view any email just touch it on the list – you will see its content and you can do whatever people usually do with emails – reply, reply all, forward, star it or mark it as unread by touching email date (first touch shows email detail where you can touch dot next to date to mark email as unread).
Mailbox allows you to search your emails – all you have to do is swipe down on the list and Search box appears. Now we got to the core functionality of the application – managing emails with swipes.
All we have to do to archive email is short swipe right (green swipe). Application gives you good swipe indicator as you do it so it’s hard to make a mistake.
If you do long swipe right you move current email to trash (orange swipe).
Short swipe left marks an email to be put off until later – once you do it, new popup menu shows where you can select exact time when you want to get given email again.
By default options are Later Today, This Evening, Tomorrow, This Weekend, Next Week, In a Month, Someday and Pick a Date. Excellent feature as it works in standard browser based Gmail client.
Long swipe left moves email to one of predefined lists – you are presented with popup menu where you can select the list or define new one.
If you have only few messages in the Inbox, you can batch process them by dragging bar at the bottom of the list – same rules as for single emails apply.
That’s all functionality Mailbox has to offer – as I said before these are small things but together they make Mailbox excellent email client for iPhone. There are few thing that could be a bit better but I think it is just matter of time and few app updates.