Mail as an app isn’t all that bad. It handles large amounts of email acceptably, archives the rest, and has a balanced list of bells and whistles from stationery to annotations to large attachment drops; all built in. That said, email apps are much like word processor apps; everyone has a favorite. Or, everyone has one they hate.
So it is with Mail. Alternatives abound, though, and one of my past favorites is, or, rather, was Airmail, which many Mac users described as Mail Lite because it had the right balance between performance and features; more of the former than the latter, so it was easy to setup and get running, but uncluttered enough to be usable and comfortable.
Enter Airmail 2.0, a significant upgrade where more features are crammed in, but with less regard to performance. Airmail does the basic basics well; Gmail, IMAP, POP3, Google Apps, Yahoo! mail, Outlook, Exchange, and even Apple’s iCloud mail. It even imports email from Mail, MBOX archives, and other formats.
That’s the good good news. Even the interface is a refreshing departure from Apple’s Mail, but with a unified inbox, fullscreen mode, redirect message options, delayed send (worth the price of admission alone), and bounce (take that, Apple Mail).
Airmail gives you options to have custom settings on a per account basis, per account signatures, filters, contacts integration, nested folder support, Notification Center support, and handles HTML, plain text, Rich Text, and even Markdown.
All is good, right? Except for two issues, one of which is a deal breaker for me.
The first is the price. The original Airmail cost just a few dollars. The new Airmail, though the feature list is lengthy, costs $20 (for now with a discount at half price), no upgrade option for previous Airmail owners, and no trial version. That’s not acceptable.
The second issue is performance. So many new features are stuffed into the latest version that performance– speed and usability– pales in comparison to how well the first version behaved (faster with fewer bugs). That’s not acceptable, either.
There are times when I’ll ride a new horse, but the one in the barn still gets me where I want to go.