To begin with, MailMate is not the most beautiful email app, aesthetically speaking. It doesn't have any pretty icons or colorful interface elements, but instead carries a basic chrome interface and nearly all text-based buttons. There's good reason for this: MailMate is a keyboard centric email management system, which means it saves you time if you take a few minutes to review it's extensive keyboard command set. If you are super busy and like to get through your email quickly, or if you have to process metric tonnes of email every day, the quite beautiful icon for Mailmate gives us a hint as to its strength: carting in all your mail, sorting it in its virtual mail room, prioritizing it for your viewing or just stacking it up and setting it aside for later, and then getting all your outgoing messages on their way, on your schedule (with a built-in send-later features).
Also, unlike most every other email app, MailMate offers full offline support, even for creating or deleting IMAP mailboxes. Users of web-based clients cannot work through their email inbox whilst in flight, for example, whereas true offline support lets you do everything except send and receive messages, which obviously requires an internet connection.
In my decade plus of tech training and consulting, I have met many people who have a hard time taming their inbox, partly due to the number of subscriptions they have, such as to Listservs, which--whilst offering access to lots of useful information and conversation--can often be the source of getting so far behind on reading through one's inbox. MailMate offers the ability to selectively "mute" conversations. Don't need to read everything on a Listserv but don't want to unsubscribe? Take a quick glance at the subject or the first message in the thread, and mute it if you don't want to follow it. You'll still get all the subsequent messages, which can be automatically tagged and filed into smart mailboxes, but you won't see them show up in the unread count in your inbox. If a large numeral glaring through the email count badge has ever caused you stress, you are not alone. This seemingly simple answer to taming mailing list subscriptions will add a new level of calm to your email life. On a side note, when I first added my accounts to MailMate, it created some smart mailboxes for some of my subscriptions automatically. That was a pleasant surprise.
The smart mailboxes feature in MailMate far surpasses any I have seen, with its deep filtering and searching ability into such header fields as unquoted text or quoted body text. If there's a header field in an email, I'm pretty sure MailMate supports filtering by it. Combine that with the power of true Boolean logic and your smart mailboxes can do more than you might have imagined. MailMate comes pre-populated with a dozen or so smart mailboxes, which whilst useful on their own, more or less serve as guides on how to create others customized to your uses. Which leads me to mention the manual. Unlike a lot of modern software, MailMate has an extensive manual available online and through the Help menu, with tips also built into the app which can be set to show up every day, in an unobtrusive little bar at the bottom of the main window. For those who want to go the extra mile in their email management, MailMate supports custom keybindings, though I have not yet done much in that area.
MailMate may not be for everyone, though for those who rely on email to get a lot of things done, MailMate could be exactly what you are looking for. It is lean, super fast, and incredibly powerful, and at a cost of only $50, a solid software investment in your own productivity. A 30-day trial period is available at no charge.
* Shortly after I published this review with a screenshot I blurred for privacy, Benny, MailMate's programmer, emailed to tell me of the Distortion Mode available under the View Menu. If you need to do screenshots in your email, they will look nice, as below!
Get it here: http://freron.com
-Ronald C. Schoedel III
Perhaps my favorite feature, however, is the very attractive Summarize view when replying to emails. How I tire of trying to decipher who said what in a dozens-long email chain, with the text squeezed into a tiny column by all of the preceding forwarding marks. Postbox replaces this:
Not hard to see which makes better sense of messages.
If you’ve ever lost an attachment, you’ll appreciate Postbox’s icon view, which takes an email folder and shows all of the images attached to messages within that folder, giving you access to save or forward those attachments. Never lose another emailed photo again!
And, posting to Facebook or Linkedin, as well as Tweeting, has never been easier, if you tend to “live” in your email program (as many do):
Perhaps the most automated feature is Postbox’s tight integration with Evernote. I love Evernote and use it to track pretty much everything in my personal and work lives, so when Postbox — with the click of a single icon — can take an email, turn it into an Evernote note, turn the subject of the email into the title of the note, and turn the email’s topics into Evernote tags, I think that’s pretty dang spiffy.
Postbox adds all of these innovations all whilst keeping the interface lean, attractive, and uncluttered. The Focus pane helps you squeeze more useful information into your widescreen view of your mailbox, adding quick sorting by topic, sender, and filters such as attachments or unread. Keyboard shortcuts to add Topics or Labels to your messages make it a breeze to sort messages as you read them. Read a message, apply a Topic, and then onward to the next message, and so forth. If you deal with large volumes of email on a daily basis, or need to whip your inbox into shape, this is a fast and efficient way to get a handle on what your emails are all about, and then narrow your focus and tackle one topic or concern at a time.
Sending Dropbox links is also a breeze. Instead of cluttering up your recipient’s inbox with huge attachments, and risking returned mail because of too-large attachments, dragging and dropping files from your Dropbox folder results in links within your message, by which your recipient can easily click and download the file, with the added advantage of always having the latest revisions to the file easily available.
I should also mention how easy it is to make a nice signature in Postbox. Using basic HTML (instead of sending an image file embedded in my mail), all of my messages bear this signature:
I have been using Postbox for a few weeks now and am only truly beginning to understand just how much power its got under it’s mailbox-shaped hood. I love finding new ways to use my Mac to make me more productive and efficient, and Postbox has allowed me to shave a lot of time off the time I generally spend handling email. Even if you save just a few minutes a day, it’s $9.95 price tag is so worth it. If you feel like OS X Mail is close, but not quite, what you’re looking for, the upgrade to Postbox 3 will get you what you want, and much more. I highly recommend Postbox for anyone who uses email.
Get Postbox 3 here: http://www.postbox-inc.com
- Ronald C. Schoedel III
Ronald C. Schoedel III is an attorney, former broadcaster, student of Welsh, and Sinophile. He has lived in Alaska, Wales, and China (Hong Kong specifically), and presently calls Utah home. He has been teaching and training Mac users for nearly a decade, and started blogging as a software reviewer in 2004.