Email Clients: Which one’s right for you?

Between work and play, everyone has more than one email account these days. We set out to discover what the current free email clients had to offer, and here are the surprising results…

Thunderbird
Easy to download and install, the walk through set up prompts to be the main client to handle all your email needs.  POP/IMAP configurations are automatic and let you decide which to use. It’s especially easy of you use GMail as the POP settings are configured for you. Touted as “Reclaim your Inbox” it does a good job of doing just that. Easy to use. Clean interface. You can add a few bells and whistles, like the calendar feature, so it can be somewhat tailored to the user. Warning, they stopped developing the client but it’s oderate on resources with a neat uninstall, we give this standard, decent client a good review. RATING: C+

Koma-Mail
Superfast install but pay attention; the first pop up for info can be confusing if you’re distracted (create account or not?) but you’ll muddle through it easily enough. Prompts to add email accounts, however you must know your POP/SMTP settings to make this baby work and that’s going to be hassle for most people who don’t know this information when other free clients don’t require it. The tasteful and simple interface is easy to navigate and use. It offers pop up windows for contacts, calendar, tasks and news feed, which was quite nice. It allows import/export and has a low footprint. This is great for people with limited resources or who like to run light. Unfortuantely, the settings issue will keep many users away and that detracts points here. Otherwise a contender. RATING C+

Windows Live Mail
Very Microsoft, which is as good as it is bad, it comes bundled in a download of other Microsoft “essentials” options. Pick and choose the ones you want. Download takes forever and install takes several minutes but it loads easily enough and walks you through adding email accounts. It has a clean interface that’s easy to understand and use. On the plus side for many Windows fans, it integrates with Messenger and other Microsoft Windows features beautifully. While slower than some of the other clients reviewed here, it’s a good choice for anyone using Live or Hotmail. RATING: C+

Postbox Express
This is the limited, no support version of Postbox. It’s easy to install with a simple walk though with the option to import from Thunderbird. Upon loading, prompts to be the main client. Sweet interface, easy to use and understand, and great little program icon of (you guessed it) a lovely blue postbox. Has options to post on social media sites. Easy on resources. Very low footprint. Thunderbird influenced with add ons to choose from but has its own look and feel. Neat uninstall. RATING: B+

Eudora
Typical download but fast install with a lightning set up as it grabbed my Thunderbird settings without even asking. I was impressed but I wish it would have asked me first. A full-featured e-mail client for Windows and Macintosh users, it’s fast on send and retrieval. I’d think it was Thunderbird but the icons are different and it’s more attractive. A good option for a client that will please users with its no-nonsense approach to email. Possibly the cleanest uninstall ever. RATING B +

Sylpheed
Neat, quick install. This is a very basic email client that uses few resources. All basic functions are marked clearly and perform well. Interface uses the native skin and it’s easy to use and understand. Easy to add GMail and no problems sending or receiving mail. This is good for anyone who just wants an email client without all the jazz that comes with so many of them. Great for people with limited space or resources on their computers or laptops and it has cute icons, too. Clean, fast uninstall. RATING: B

ClawsMail
Quick install only when using the alternate Windows installer by Gpg4win available at download page. Immediately launches into set up. Great “about you” page that prompts for auto pops for your email name and address. Go through auto pops but be warned: you’ll need SMTP info for popping email into the client. Not preconfigured, without that information you won’t be able to send or receive mail. Attractive, easy to navigate and use. Low footprint. Cheeky little icons. Simple and minus add-ons. Clean uninstall. RATING: C

Spicebird
It used to be the default choice until they stopped support on it last month. The email is configured. Easy to download, install, set up, import, naviaget and use all features. The immediate load page has widgets, including world clocks and RSS feeds. Handsome and handy, it has everything an email client should but it tends to dip into resources from time to time. eM client’s easier on resources. Uninstalls well. If you don’t mind lack of support, you may find a good choice in this client. RATING: C

eM Client
Fast download and install. Quick load. Option to skip or import from Thunderbird with quick migration of data. The interface is super attractive. While all clients may possess similar features, this one’s dressed differently and its full-service menu, complete with tasks and calendar. It even has widgets. With so much to offer, it still maintains a low footprint. The mail lay out is divided by days, which is good for busy people who glance at email and decide in a glance what to read that day. No crashes. Fast delivery. Easy to add other accounts. Clean uninstall. RATING: B

Pegasus Mail
Fast download and easy set up includes asking my permisson create start menu entry, enable “mailto” link, place an icon on my desktop and import settings, as well as “roaming mode”. Fast install, with desktop links for regular access and as administrator. It even came with its on manual. Which is good but caused concern. (Do I need a manual to operate this thing?) Double-clicking the unicorn icon begins set up wiht a prompt for your email information. You have to know your email’s POP/SMTP settings for this one, folks, something generally easy enough to look up but most people probably won’t. And why should they? POP settings for most email clients are often built right in. This is an otherwise straightforward client (attractive and easy to use) and once I had it set up, I liked it and its low footprint. But it’s not competition for the masses. RATING: C+

IncrediMail
I am not happy already. Instead of setting up when I double clicked the executable it’s prompting me to choose MyStart by IncredibiMail as a default search engine and it wants to install the toolbar and make it my homepage, too. I have the options to uncheck them easily enough, so I do and hoep for the best. (No ticks, ya hear me?) But then it tells me this (see screen shot) and, well, I’m just not gonna do it. But it doesn’t stop there. It gives me the same message over and over again during the install process and there’s no getting around it. Never got this one up and running.and I’m probably better off for it. RATED F for bundling conditions like this into “free” software.

Winners: eM Client and Eudora for full clients and Sylpheed (support) or PostBox (no support) for simple email.

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