Desktop Email and Calendar Tool Review.I don't want to spend a ton of time on this, but I think it's worth giving my hand to this OVER BLOGGED topic because MOST of the other blogs were helpful to a point, but they were the SAME blog post, almost verbatim, on different websites. Here is my journey. The other day I get fed up trying to boot Outlook and it took awhile to boot up, because my personal computer only has very little RAM and I haven't bothered installing more, and I'm just over it.
I also wanted an email/calendar app for the android phone, which I may have to write about too because I figured that out for now. In case you interested the short of that is that I am using the basic Gmail app for email and Outlook app for that email, and using aCalendar which actually just overlays on top of Google Calendar. So you are really using Google Calendar but aCalendar is a MUCH prettier interface! I was trying to use Outlook calendar but on the Android but they seem determined not to develop anything worthwhile for Outlook on Android so good ridden. Which led me to the computer issue.
Now to the computer desktop. I've used Thunderbird before and just been very disappointed it's too cheap. It's like Open Office. If you are that broke, fine, it works, use it. But just buy Microsoft Office for your projects, the interface is just so much better it's worth it, (especially with the student discount as a home-school family)!
So here are the three tools I tried and used based on the other blogs that recommended them.
eM Client has IT ALL... with a catch. First the good. If you wanted a tool that does everything Outlook does at the same level (or better). The entire interface is clean, fresh, and pretty to look at. The set up is nearly identical to Outlook. There is a fully functional Calendar which integrates to Google Calendar but all the feel of Outlook calendar. There is Tasks, Contacts. Along the right side there is an Agenda tracker that keeps track of your calendar and tasks combined and a Chat box that connects to Facebook and your Contacts to send instant messages through Jabber Chat. So it's comparable to the Microsoft Lync tool that many business use for their Instant Messaging. It's got basically all in one; and all of this is FREE! It's ALSO much lighter weight code than Outlook. So I can boot it up and run it, get it doing things, read emails and close the window in the amount of time it takes my low ram computer to boot Outlook up!
What about that catch? The "Free" version only lets you have TWO email accounts connected. So if you need to track more than two email accounts that would require using a different version or upgrading to a paid version, which isn't cheap because it was designed for business to use to replace Outlook (which is why it is SO much like Outlook in the set up, as in where things are on the screen). Now I actually HAVE 5-10 (or more) email accounts. But I don't NEED that many, I just did it and started using things for different reasons. So I could either delete all of those. Or keep them for occasional use and then use a separate email client that does allow me to have many email accounts to periodically check on on those other accounts, maybe once a month or two?
Opera Mail is ultra light weight, fairly pretty interface. Everything looks very clean! Nearly MAC clean. BUT, it's also got nearly no functionality outside of email. So if you want to access multiple email accounts and RSS feeds without slowing down your computer, but do NOT care about calendar, tasks, or other features, this is a cool tool!
In fact I might use Opera Mail as a way to periodically load it up, check all the email accounts I don't use that often (5-10 of them) and then close it down. Maybe access it once a month, or less, just to get all my email accounts under one spot. It's an idea.
Zimbra (vmware Zimbra Desktop)... The Runner Up:Zimbra, I found, actually does, functionally all I need it to. Calendar, Tasks, Address Book, and Multiple Email accounts. But the interface is cheap looking and it "sticks" a little like my Outlook does. This computer, for now, is low RAM and I need an ultra light tool that doesn't use much RAM. It's one of the reasons I'm dumping Outlook. I couldn't get the social functions to actually work. So for me it's a no go, but if you need functionality and not pretty interface, it'll do ALL the things you NEED it to do. It just "felt" cheap and clunky" and took JUST AS LONG to boot up as Outlook, which again, was my MAIN concern!
Why would I even list it, well it DOES do all the things I needed (accept look pretty and boot up quickly) and if they figure out the Social linking it may have a step above Thunderbird... until they get that straight you may just use Thunderbird.
UPDATE: As of 01/29/2014 I've come to the conclusion that this eM client is the best Non Outlook tool there is... but it still isn't Outlook. Even though Google is convinced that somehow they've created a great "online" experience, Outlook blows that away too.
UPDATE: As of 02/09/2014 Outlook does NOT support Google Accounts UNLESS you have a business level Google Account. Forget that hot mess, continuing to use emClient which is fully integrated with Google.
However, Google came out with a solution to part of my Outlook problems. Google Sync for Outlook. I'm trying that out. I wish Google would come out with an Outlook competition for those of us not interested in the Wed Only experience.... Apparently this is only for business class Outlook users. I'll keep using emCLient. 03/02/2014
By Darrell Wolfe
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