Let's get things straight. I'm one of those guys who needs to reach inbox zero by the end of the day. I treat my email inbox as a sort of a Task list. Every email needs to be processed, if it requires an action it get's sent to Omnifocus, if it's document to keep as a reference it goes directly to Evernote. Nothing remains in the Inbox.
My iPhone is probably my primary tools with which I check my Email, however in the last years Apple’s Mail for iOS has remained largely the same since its first release…clearly this isn't good.
Treating my Inbox as a Task List, I required a much more powerful tool than the standard Email App, so a long time ago I started looking for the best Email client available for iOS. The quest ended recently with me left with three outstanding email clients: Google Inbox, Mailbox and Outlook (was Accompli Mail).
Mailbox is close to my dream app for email management. If you, like me, embrace the GTD method and used to treat your email Inbox as a messy landing port for "maybe" actionable emails, Mailbox will rock your world and will make you a true email Ninja.
Before Mailbox I used to ensure myself to not leave work unless my Inbox was empty. Many times the reason an email is waiting in our inbox is only because there is an action required in order to process it. To hack this system I moved the task required in the email in my to-do app (Cultured Code Things) and just then decide whether it was due today or another day of the week. The milestone was to get the task out of my inbox.
Mailbox reduces the time spent in managing your to-do list with just a few swipes and let's you reach the legendary Inbox Zero more than once a day.
Want to archive an email? Just swipe to the right, removing it from view. Want to delete some spam? Just swipe a bit longer to the right. Put it off until tomorrow. Or this weekend. Or someday, by simply swiping to the left. A longer swipe to the left will allow you to archive your email in a specific list.
In my case, with the default "Later", "Archive" and the "Inbox" folder I have 5 separated lists by adding a "To reference" and a "to Delegate" folder.
And voilà! Inbox zero. Daily.
The biggest issue with Mailbox is that it lacks of Microsoft Exchange support. Otherwise it would be simply perfect...
Inbox by Google
Google unveiled a few months ago Inbox, a new email client for Gmail that takes a different approach to email. Google frames Inbox as a product that recognizes we now use email in very different ways today, but email (and email clients) have barely changed.
With this evolution comes new challenges: we get more email now than ever, important information is buried inside messages, and our most important tasks can slip through the cracks—especially when we’re working on our phones. For many of us, dealing with email has become a daily chore that distracts from what we really need to do—rather than helping us get those things done.
Google Inbox is different in a few ways, with a strong focus on some interesting features:
- Bundles: Inbox can group together similar emails into bundles such as Travel, Social Networking, Purchases, Promotions.
- Highlights: Inbox will try to intelligently highlight key information from your emails (event details, flight itineraries) and even pull in information from outside your emails (such as real-time status of a delivery or flight)
- Reminders, Assists, and Snooze: Inbox also becomes a kind-of to-do app, able to remind you about emails or tasks to accomplish at a later date. This includes letting you snooze on messages until a later date.
My main issue with Inbox, besides the lack of Microsoft Exchange support is the fact that it tries to do too much, resulting too much cluttered. Also, the default Snoozes do not fit with my usual way of dealing with emails...but's that is simply a personal opinion.
The biggest difference between Outlook, Mailbox or Inbox is that it has four main sections: "Mail", "Calendar," "Files" and "People," each with its own tab at the bottom of the screen. A very intuitive agenda, similar to what you'll find in iOS is available in one click. The great thing is that you can add dates to any imported calendar without leaving the app.
The other tabs provide a clean approach to filtering through the content of your emails. For example, I can quickly access a file that I sent recently to forward it without having to dig through the email itself. Great.
Microsoft Outlook also provides support to Microsoft Exchange, in this way I can easy access my corporate email without having to rely on the default Mail App.
TL:DR - And the Winner is...
Microsoft Outlook. Acompli’s is my go-to dashboard for almost everything related to productivity. There aren’t a million complex options or contact management settings, but it simply does email, calendar and contacts incredibly well for a singular app without looking chaotic nor cluttered.
And by the way, it's free!