Email has become one of those necessary things nobody gives a second thought about, but nobody would be able to function without it, either.
Simplified, email is a routine and a habit, whichever you prefer, and serves such a wide range of purposes that it is safe to say it has long stopped being just a messaging tool.
One of its most prolific uses is for marketing campaigns. These are considered an affordable strategy with a stunning ROI.
Depending on the way you use email, you may opt for a web or a desktop email client. Both have their ups and downs; most people, however, prefer desktop clients, and we will hereby explain why.
The Ease of Management
The main benefit of webmail is often said to be its portability.
The downside to it is that it requires an internet connection.
Think in terms of expensive roaming, and you’ll see how this benefit easily turns into a disadvantage.
Desktop clients, on the other hand, allow for a seamless offline email management. You can read and reread messages, write responses and schedule their sending once the internet is up and running again.
To top it off, desktop clients allow for easier encryption. To be fair, webmail also has this option, but setting it up would still require some interaction with third parties.
The main vulnerability of emails is that they can be intercepted and hacked. The safest way to encrypt email is by staying in control of generation tools and store keys. Desktop email clients offer exactly that advantage.
Finally, desktop email clients offer the option to back up the messages.
Imagine that you woke up one day and found out all your emails had been lost. It’s a terrifying scenario, no doubt. In addition to keeping your messages safe, desktop email clients also allow for backing up contacts.
Many argue that the biggest benefit of desktop email clients is that they allow the user to choose where to host and store attachments. I.e., some clients allow the user to drag attachments directly into the email body and automatically upload them to Dropbox, providing the recipient with the download link.
The practice translates into bigger storage space and hassle-free access to attachments. One such client is Sparrow for Mac. Others may come to mind as well. Outlook, for example, integrates with a number of external tools (Maildrop, e.g.) to the same end.
Desktop email clients are far more convenient than webmail when it comes to folder organization. The range of options offered cannot even begin to compare to webmail, with filters, flags, priorities and categories in abundance.
Thunderbird and Postbox allow for an extended priority features and flagging with the help of a number of add-ons (i.e., QuickFilters and QuickFolders).
Best Free Desktop Email Alternatives to MS Outlook
Outlook is amongst the most outspoken desktop email clients. Not without a good reason, as it truly allows for mastering the art of email sending, receiving and filtering, but that is not to say that other free alternatives won’t suffice for many a user.
Free desktop clients are numerous — the fact that invokes a painstaking process of testing and comparing.
Fortunately, most of them offer similar options and are handled in a familiar way. Basically, the choice comes down to design, speed and integration.
Among the most widely used free desktop email clients are Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Zimbra Desktop and Opera Mail. At a glance:
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Mail is the usual choice for many people, for various reasons. Some state its two-line vertical view makes their life easier.
Others claim that newsgroup supports, RSS feed and calendar integration are the client’s most cherished features.
Finally, Windows Live Mail supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and DeltaSync protocols, which are rumored to be the best ones when it comes to syncing emails between email servers and computers. The client comes bundled with the Windows Essentials suite.
Thunderbird is one of the most popular choices, given that it operates seamlessly and supports Windows, Mac and Linux.
Firefox users will know what to expect, as both services are based on the Gecko engine that renders numerous benefits. I.e., just like Firefox, Thunderbird supports themes and extensions.
Zimbra Desktop is as useful offline as it is online. It bestows a range of options for easy email handling; it’s famous for its masterful sinking, which covers email, contacts, calendars, files and documents in the cloud.
Once accessed, though, those files become accessible locally, regardless of the internet connection (or its lack thereby). The service aggregates information across accounts and social platforms, making communication and info sharing as easy as it gets.
Opera Mail was developed by the same people behind the Opera browser, as the name may well portend.
Originally, the client was part of its namesake browser, but has since become a stand-alone service. Opera Mail is fully customizable, easy to use and features the two-line vertical view just like Windows Live Mail.
Far be it from us to claim we prefer desktop email clients to webmail or vice versa. However, the overview above should suffice to present the benefits of desktop clients, out of which we would underline encryption and offline email management.