There are definite problems here, but Airmail for iPhone is an ambitious release that email addicts should check out
Price: $4.99 (£3.99)
Developer: Bloop S.R.L.
Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
The landscape of email clients for iPhone is definitely one that’s forever changing and evolving. In fact, over just a few years many of us will likely have switched clients multiple times. Inbox, Spark, Dispatch, and most recently Outlook have all offered iPhone owners a great array of tools for managing email on the go. Now Airmail, a new application from the folks behind the Mac app of the same name, is here and promises to take email management to the next level.
For starters, Airmail lets users add a range of email accounts to the app, and all the big names are supported. From here, messages will begin to populate your inboxes: you can either scroll through individual inboxes for each account, or a unified inbox where all your messages are pooled together. Airmail also tries its best to show avatars for contacts where possible, and when this works the overall effect is great.
Individual messages load quickly enough, and users can archive, trash, or schedule messages to reappear at a later time. You can also filter the emails you see based on whether they’ve been sent today, whether they’re part of a thread, whether they have an attachment, or whether they’re unread. There’s also a smart filter that tries to show users the messages they’ll care most about and multiple filters can be applied at the same time (this is a nice feature for pinpointing particular types of messages in your inbox).
Where Airmail really tries to stand apart from the crowd, however, is its support for a range of built-in “actions” which users can perform on email and customize from inside the app’s settings.
For instance, when you’re looking at a single email in Airmail, a “…” button in the top-right corner lets iPhone owners perform a number of these actions on either the message itself, or on the attachments the message contains. These are wide ranging and allow users to connect up a significant number of services. One action lets users create a PDF from their email and send it to another iOS app; another allows iPhone owners to send the message to 1Writer, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
You can also redirect emails using actions in Airmail, bounce them back, or move them to different accounts. Usefully, more actions and services can be configured from inside Airmail’s settings, allowing iPhone owners to precisely customize how the email client works. This is definitely one of Airmail’s best features.
As good as this is the current version of Airmail also ships with a number of quirks. Email messages often disappear momentarily from your inbox UI, making you think the thread has been accidentally archived or deleted. Selecting messages for batch processing is also buggy, and weirdly, only certain threads are highlighted when selected (even though all messages are ticked). We’re hoping these small issues will be corrected in a future update, but for now their presence means the experience of using Airmail is a bittersweet one.
The bottom line is that Airmail is an impressive email client for iPhone, but it isn’t perfect. Here’s hoping we see an improvement in the next update.
- Great support for actions
- Smart filters for email management
- Nice user interface
- There are bugs in this current release