First Look: Postbox


Postbox is a new email client for Windows and OSX that claims to be “better, faster, and more organized”. I have to admit I stopped using desktop email clients a long time ago, but nevertheless I wanted to give Postbox a try, especially since it shares a few features with Google Mail, like conversation views and a powerful search function. Postbox is currently in beta and available for free. You can also buy a full license already which sets you back $39.95, but currently it’s available for a reduced prize of just $29.95. There’s also a family option which allows you to share your license with up to 5 people living in the same household for an additional $9.95.

Postbox running under Windows Vista

Postbox running under Windows Vista

So I downloaded the free beta version and started it. I was greeted by the Account Wizard. I set up my Gmail (IMAP) account and as soon as I closed the wizard, Postbox started downloading the emails. One word of warning: If you have a couple thousand emails in your Gmail inbox, this may take a while.

Account Wizard

Aside from Gmail Postbox supports various other email services like AOL, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo and of course every other IMAP or POP3 account. You can also use Postbox as a RSS feed reader or newsgroup client, which is pretty nice, if you want to have it all in one program. I also discovered that Postbox allows you to post to Facebook and Twitter. It seems that today every program needs Twitter and Facebook support.

After a few minutes Postbox was finished downloading and I could check out Postbox features. On the first look Postbox looks like every other email client out there. The first difference you’ll notice will probably be, that a double-click opens emails in a new tab. Having tab support in a email client is pretty cool. Having conversation views sounds good in theory but alas it doesn’t work like I was used from Gmail.

The search function is actually pretty fast (even faster than in Gmail), the search index is generated when your PC is idle. Overall the programmers did a pretty good job. Everything responds pretty fast and I haven’t encountered any major problems so far.

Alas Postbox will not convince me to return to desktop email clients. Although it has a few nice features like an integrated to-do list, the ability to assign topics to emails (they work much like labels in Gmail), tab support and the account wizard, it’s nothing special. But if you like desktop email clients, you should give Postbox a try.

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3 thoughts on “First Look: Postbox

  1. Unfortunately, $29.95 is approximately $28 more than I’d be willing to spend on desktop email software, no matter how good it is. I’ve got nothing against programmers trying to earn some dough by providing people with software, but they have to grasp that it’s not about whether the cost feels “fair” in proportion to how much effort they put into it, it’s whether the cost is worth it to the consumer compared to the next-best option. Since the next best option is free, they need to pack $29.95 of value in the incremental different between using their software and using something like Thunderbird or an online email client. That’s something I can’t picture being true unless they came up with a fundamentally new way of organizing and interacting with email…

    • I agree with you. But other people may be willing to pay that price. As I said in the post, I am perfectly happy with the Gmail web client and I haven’t found an offline client that is as good. Postbox is a pretty nice piece of software, but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t buy it either.

  2. The full price is actually $39.95. Now, I’d likely pay $10 or $20 with a program this pretty with the tabs and other interesting features. I’d really love a built-in calendar, but eh…

    There’s no way I’ll pay $40 for this program, that’s guaranteed. I loved the beta, loved the program, but I’m going back to Mail.

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