Mailbox was launched to much hype a few weeks ago. I thought that it looked like it was worth checking out, unfortunately there were 700,000 people ahead of me on the queue. I took my place in line, waited, waited some more, and waited again. The countdown moved painfully slowly, but eventually my time arrived and I got a chance to try out Mailbox.
For those who are not familiar with Mailbox, it is a standalone Mail app that plugs into your Gmail account, where it allows you to process your inbox more efficiently. A short swipe to right archives a mail, a long swipe deletes it, a swipe to the left allows you to “snooze” the mail – that is to say temporarily archive it so that you can deal with it at a set time. If any of this sounds familiar, you have probably used the Boomerang function in the Email Game.
At any rate, a solution like this for the iPhone was long overdue. The selection of mail apps is woefully lacking, and free mail apps with push notifications – you can probably count those on one hand. The Gmail app was already very good – nigh on perfect for personal use. If your inbox tends to contain nine or ten mails from friends and family, Mailbox is overkill. If, on the other hand, you send and receive a lot of work related emails – Mailbox is amazing. That is an important distinction and probably has a lot to do with the amount of hype surrounding the initial release – most reviewers, like myself, send and receive quite a lot of email. If you don’t, then the efficiency advantages that all of those gestures offer are not really going to save you any time.
- Gesture based mail processing makes short work of a very long mail queue
- Snooze allows you to temporarily archive an email so that it returns to your inbox at a more convenient time – not entirely original, but extremely convenient.
- Lists allow you to categorize mail.
- Supports multiple accounts, as long as they are all Gmail.
What I Love About It
I love being able to process my bulging inbox with a series of single fingered gestures. The Snooze function is glorious. Even if it is more or less the same thing, it comes together a little more smoothly than The Email Game’s Boomerang. You can pick the precise time that a mail wakes up – useful if you are traveling, especially in the age of e-tickets and email receipts for hotel bookings.
I’ve got to say, in spite of the wait, I loved the countdown screen – not so much for knowing about how many people were in front of me as for how many people were behind me.
What I Would Change About It
I would love to see some better attachment functionality – especially seeing as Mailbox was acquired by Dropbox. I long for a simple download solution that puts my attachments straight in my Dropbox the day that I can upload multiple files (actual files, not links to files) from my phone with ease.
Lists are good but… some sort of automatic filtering would make them a lot more useful.
While there are a couple of extra things I would like to be able to do with Mailbox, I can’t really fault it on any level. It does what it is designed to do nigh on perfectly. If you are a Gmail user that has to deal with a lot of email, do yourself a favor and get on the list. The thing is, at the time of writing, it is still a work in progress – which means that we can probably expect big things from Mailbox in the not too distant future.
Score: 5 out of 5