Mailbird Review: Pros and Cons

The Free Windows Email Program That Does Everything

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 Mailbird

Mailbird offers a solid and reasonably productive email experience for all your accounts in one place.

While Mailbird is extensible with “apps,” these usually do not integrate well, and email handling itself can feel limited to the basics.

What We Like:

  • Mailbird supports multiple accounts and identities very well (including unified folders).
  • You can postpone emails easily.
  • Basic email handling is particularly fast.

What We Don't Like:

  • Mailbird does not offer filters or other tools for automation such as suggested replies or folders for filing.
  • Key emails are not identified smartly.
  • Search is fast and convenient in Mailbird, but more criteria and focusing options would be nice.

Productive Simplicity

Handling email means reading messages, replying, and writing new messages… sometimes. Often, it means deleting and archiving repeatedly and (ideally) rapidly. In Mailbird, choices abound to take quick action on emails. You can open an email and use its toolbar, of course, or employ a keyboard shortcut. You also can position the mouse cursor over the message and use a toolbar that opens right there. If you're using a touchscreen, you can swipe to delete and archive.

For replies, you can use the quick reply pane above the current message or a full compose window — both reasonably simple and fast to employ.

Postponing Emails

If you don't want to (or can't) reply at the moment, snoozing emails is easy with a few suggested times (later today, next week, etc.) or one of your choosing. When that time comes, Mailbird automatically returns the snoozed email to the inbox’s top — provided it's running. If it is not, the email will pop back the next time you open it. You can always find all postponed emails in a Snoozed folder, also accessible via IMAP.

Email Folders in Mailbird

Mailbird manages folders in a near-exemplary way: When you set up an account, Mailbird will use or set up folders for archiving, drafts, sent mail etc., but you also can access any custom folders for IMAP accounts, of course.

In daily use, folders (other than the one used for archiving) operate much like labels: Copying is the default action, and you can assign colors to folders for quick identification in the message list (and with messages themselves, where folders appear as tags).

Naturally, you can also move messages, though this takes a few clicks more. If you use the keyboard, press V and be delighted with how Mailbird lets you search folder names quickly when moving or copying.

Email Services and Account Support

Folders are not the only thing that works just as you’d expect with IMAP accounts in Mailbird. Mailbird will try to find the best way to connect and log onto whatever service you use — for example, iCloud Mail, Outlook.com, and AOL, as well as OAUTH 2 for Gmail.

If you want to use more than one address with any account, Mailbird lets you set up any number of identities. For each, you get to choose whether you want to send through the main account’s SMTP server or one tied to the address (to avoid delivery problems). Of course, Mailbird supports full encryption of your email data from and to the mail server.

In addition to IMAP, Mailbird lets you set up accounts using the simpler POP, with which you download new messages and manage folders locally (on your computer).

Either way, all accounts intelligently contribute to a unified folder system: Mailbird then collects all messages from your accounts’ inboxes in a merged inbox, sent mail in a common Sent folder, etc. Access to individual accounts is fast, and custom account icons help you spot the right ones with ease.

Email Signatures

Each address you set up for sending — either as a full account or an additional identity — can have its own signature in Mailbird. Unfortunately, using the same signature for more than one address involves copying and pasting, and more signatures or picking when sending is not an option. You can use rich-text editing and HTML to create exactly the look you're after.

Composing Messages in Mailbird

Except for HTML source editing, the editor for composing messages in Mailbird offers the same rich editing capabilities. For replies, Mailbird lets you write your reply on top of the original email, as most email programs do, but you can also insert your comments and answers inline into the quoted text; Mailbird then sets your reply blocks apart with a color by default and precedes them with your name.

When sending files, Mailbird lets you attach them conventionally from your computer, of course. Integration with Dropbox also makes it easy to insert links to documents you uploaded to the online drive and file sharing service, however.

Extending Mailbird With Apps

Mailbird claims to be extensible with all kinds of services and applications — from calendars such as Google Calendar and Sunrise to task managers including Todoist and Moo.do to chat and video conferencing services such as WhatsApp and Veeting Rooms.

Unfortunately, most of these applications are nothing but web services running inside Mailbird. Integration is minimal or nonexistent. You can drag emails to Moo.do, for example, and drop photos onto WhatsApp, but this is about it.

Convenient (Gmail) Hacks in Mailbird

You can get a Send and Archive button (and keyboard shortcut) like Gmail's, and a delivery delay lets you undo a sending mistake. Mailbird can't schedule emails for later or recurrence, though.

For extra-fast email reading, Mailbird can pick just the text for any email and flash it before your eyes word by word without much distraction. Possibly more effectual is the option to have emails zoomed to a legible size automatically.

Searching and More Assistance

Searching for emails is reasonably fast and useful in Mailbird, and a handy shortcut turns up all emails exchanged with a sender just about instantly. More search and sorting options would be nice, though.

Mailbird also does not suggest search terms — or much of anything else except recipients. It does not have reply suggestions or snippets, for instance, and you cannot set up email templates in Mailbird.

For received emails, Mailbird does not suggest labels or folders and does not help identify key messages. More basically, you cannot even set up simple filters; Mailbird is really best used with an IMAP email account that does these things (and proper spam filtering) on the server.