The first thing you notice when using Mailbox for Mac is its striking simplicity.
The stark white layout uses colour sparingly to emphasise important features rather than for decoration, and the result is a cutting-edge email app that strips away the clutter and lets you focus on what’s important: chipping away at that inbox.
Mailbox for Mac is the natural evolution of the wildly popular Mailbox iPhone app. Besides featuring a similar design aesthetic, the desktop version meshes perfectly with its handhold counterpart, even offering some handy interconnectivity for those using both.
Minimalistic email apps are nothing new, however, so Mailbox for Mac has introduced a handful of intuitive features to convince you defect.
Most of these features help minimize the time spent dealing with your inbox, and they’re all carried out by swiping your mouse left or right over an email’s preview pane.
A short swipe to the right archives your messages, but if you drag out the motion just a bit further the message turns from green to red, and you can easily send it Trash. The same principle works with leftward swipes: a short swipe left and you’ll “Snooze” the message, saving it for later, and a longer swipe left lets you send it to a specific List or folder.
Here’s how it looks in practice.
If swiping isn’t for you, Mailbox has included the same action buttons in a small toolbar.
Snooze is by far the best feature of Mailbox. Instead of starring or leaving an important email unread so you’ll remember it later, snoozing it lets you deal with an email without truly taking action.
For example, you can choose to snooze an important non-work email for later in the evening, and Mailbox will momentarily hide it, only to place it at the top of your inbox later that night. There are options to snooze messages until the weekend, next week, later today, next month, or anything in between.
If you use the Mailbox app for iPhone, you can snooze an email that requires a detailed response and send it to your desktop so it’s waiting at the top of your inbox when you return to your work computer. If you need to address an email on the go, the reverse works too, so you can send it from desktop to mobile and it will be waiting for you the next time you open the app on your iPhone.
Mailbox also learns from your actions, and its Auto-swipe feature picks up on your habits. Say you find yourself in a never-ending email chain. If Mailbox notices that you always send a certain promotional email to Trash, Auto-swipe might pop up and suggest sending all future messages from that company directly to Trash. It’s a great way to cut down on annoying emails, and it all means less time spent in your inbox.
Mailbox’s simplistic layout also applies to sending emails.
Composing an email brings up a white paper-like window while Mailbox dims the background.
If you need to multitask, you can simply move the window around or off to the side.
It’s also important to note that Mailbox for Mac is also extremely fast. Messages pushed from mobile to desktop appear almost instantaneously. Mailbox technically only loads your email previews, giving it an edge over Gmail and other email clients that store cached versions of all your past messages.
So should you make the switch to Mailbox?
It all depends on the type of email experience you’re comfortable with. If you already use the Mailbox iPhone app, it’s a no-brainer, as the interconnectivity alone makes it worth it.
But if you prefer to click and see all the tiny details of an email client at one glance, Mailbox’s streamlined layout might not be for you. Sure, it’s simpler, but that can mean more poking around for less-used featured or settings. Also, Mailbox currently only supports Gmail and iCloud accounts, so Yahoo, Outlook, and Exchange users are out of luck. But the Mailbox team is thinking about adding support for Yahoo and Exchange in the future.
There’s no doubt, however, that Mailbox does fit in better with the overall look and feel of Apple’s ecosystem — it even gives the native Mail app a run for its money. But for those who have spent years learning and solidifying the ins and outs of Gmail into muscle memory, you might be better off sticking to the familiar. It really boils down to how willing you are to change your habits.
Mailbox for Mac is still in its beta, so if you’re looking to give it a try you’ll need to head on over to the official website and request a beta version.
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