Some of you may find this useful. This is my experience with email clients.
I was never a big fan of clients. I preferred to use the web-mail version, as there was less to get in the way, no configuration, no special software, just a web browser.
Most of my customers, however, prefer to use a client. Outlook is by far the most popular that I support. Of course Outlook is also quite expensive. Thunderbird is the undisputed king of the free clients, so I decided to give it a try. I immediately found it extremely useful to have my personal and business mail in one place. If you have only one email account, I would still recommend using the web version.
I quickly ran into trouble with Thunderbird though. The program is a memory hog, and it’s quite slow. Sure it provides just about everything Outlook has, and many features Outlook does not. It can be used in a corporate environment just as Outlook. But all those features come at the expense of performance. My primary laptop is a small, under-powered, Netbook running Windows 8.1. With a little care, this runs very well, but Thunderbird brought it to it’s knees. I’m also a big user of Google Apps. I use these for my business, and use their calendar to schedule all my appointments. I also share the calendar with my wife so she can see where I am, add appointments for me, and schedule personal appointments where I need to be available. Thunderbird supports the Google Calendar, but it’s nothing more than a new tab with the calendar web page. At first I liked that, but every time I would start Thunderbird and open the calendar, I would have to sign in again. That was a pain.
I was offered a deal from Microsoft for Office 2013 running on up to five computers, with up to five users in the same household, for $10 a month. Libre Office is great, and it’s free, with a solid 99% compatibility with current Office formats. But it’s not completely 100% compatible with formatting such as indented text. Office 2013 gives me the same Office standard used pretty much everywhere. (I should note, however, than many corporations are switching to Libre Office because it saves so much money.)
Now that I have the latest Office, that includes the latest version of Outlook. The first problem I found was after fully configuring Outlook on one computer did not mean installing on another saved my settings. Each computer I use had to be manually configured. Microsoft also has a web version, but that too needs to be separately configured. Next, I found that Outlook does not support Google Apps. There are many applications to “sync” Google Apps with Outlook, but they don’t always work as expected. One app would simply copy items from Google to Outlook. Changes made in Outlook would not sync back to Google. I found Google makes their own sync app, but it’s only available for paid Google Apps users. I am a paid user, so no problem there. Next, I discovered recently added contacts to Google were not immediately synced to Outlook. I have software that captures business cards and syncs the cards with Google. Another app scans email and offers to add the contacts to Google. However, when I attempted to send an email to someone, I found that their information had not yet been imported to Outlook. I tried to re-sync, exit Outlook, and sync again, but my newest contacts were still not available!
I continued searching for other sync apps and came across eM Client. Well, this is not any type of sync app at all, but rather another client similar to Thunderbird or Outlook. My first thought was, “that’s not what I’m looking for!” Not so fast… It turns out eM Client was actually EXACTLY what I needed! The client is small, fast and clean. The interface is uncluttered. It fully, AND PROPERLY, integrates all Google Apps. It does everything I need, and not too much more. It will connect to an Exchange server in a corporate environment, but does not support LDAP for Single Sign-On Active Directory support. This is not a feature I need anyway. This means even on my little Netbook the app is very fast.
eM Client is not exactly free. The free version is for home use only, and supports a maximum of two accounts. For most users, that’s sufficient. The Pro version supports unlimited accounts and is licensed for business use. The cost for the Pro version is $49.95 for one computer with a lifetime license. Discounts are applied for multiple computers. Example: Three computers are $26.95 each totaling $79.95. That does not include upgrades to newer versions though. A lifetime license is available for $30 more per PC, or $129.90 for 3 computers. That’s still much less expensive than Outlook. You get most of the features of Outlook, plus many features not included in Outlook, like Google integration. The software will automatically import from Outlook. It’s small, fast, and stable. eM Client is my new favorite email client.
Next, I decided to see what others were saying, so I searched for reviews. Most everyone agrees with me that this is better than Thunderbird and/or Outlook. One site picked Thunderbird as the favorite, but nearly every comment to the site disagreed. The one comment that agreed did not indicate that he/she ever tried eM Client, but rather was just a fan of Thunderbird. That’s fine. If you like it, and it works for you, that’s great. There’s no doubt Thunderbird has a huge following. They’ve been around for years, it’s developed by Mozilla, and is a solid program. My experience, as with many others, is that it has developed too much feature creep over the years, and is simply too slow.
I should also note that the developers of eM Client have no idea I am writing this review. I am not expecting any form of compensation for this. I am merely stating my experiences so that my readers who have experienced the same troubles I’ve had now have a great alternative.
Check it out for yourself at http://emclient.com