With so many different email providers and email clients (software application) it often remains confusing which to use. Over the year many clients have asked us this very question. Although this choice may just be a personal choice or perhaps someone suggested something previously, there are some considerations which may help you with this decision. The content below is based our past experience and opinion.
There are basically 4 considerations we look at:
1. Cost Implications
3. Ease of Use
When it comes to cost or price, most people want everything for a relatively low price, or even free. However, anything of value in life has a price to be paid. With this said, let’s dig into some options.
1. Microsoft® Outlook (Windows, Mac and Android)
This is always our go to first option as it is a feature rich application on all three platforms.
In Windows, Outlook stores your data in a .PST (POP3) file or a .OST (IMAP/Exchange) file, depending on the protocol used. More about protocols in another article.
Outlook also provides in-app features for Email, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks & Notes, and keeps all this in the 1 file, which is easy to migrate to another PC, or backup. You can also use multiple .PST files within Outlook, which is great for segmenting or archiving information.
Outlook is part of the Microsoft® Office Suite of products. and there are different versions (releases) of Outlook starting way back at Office97. However, right now, we recommend using Office 2016, 2019 or more specifically Microsoft 365 suite of products to provide the latest and most secure version of Outlook. Outlook for Android is a separate app on its own.
Outlook 2019 is sold as a perpetual licence, which means you pay for it once, and you can use it forever. It (the license) “lives” and “dies” on the computer you install it on first. So, in the long-term (5+ years) the price is an advantage, but the disadvantage is that you don’t get newer versions or releases … ever. You will get updates to the version you have, but that’s about it. Which means ultimately it will become outdated. You also can’t transfer that license to a new computer.
Microsoft 365 on the other hand is Subscription based, which means you pay a much smaller annual fee for the use of Office, and you always have the latest release, and you can transfer that to another PC.
For individuals, Microsoft 365 is available in 2 license variants/plans, namely Personal (1 User) and Family (up to 5 Users). This obviously does not include the options available within the Business variants. Talk to us about the options and which license is best suited for you.
Outlook is very easy to use, both for Email, Calendar and Contacts. And although only Exchange/ActiveSync will sync all three when used with Outlook.com or Exchange, the functionality of having all three is really useful.
We often suggest that using a “free” Outlook.com account with your POP3/IMAP email allows you to take advantage of the full sync above. And a plus is using Microsoft® ToDo with that makes for a really great suite of apps.
Support on Outlook is also very comprehensive, and generally speaking we are able to repair issues without loss of data. So hence also why it’s our 1st go to product.
2. Outlook Web
I have touched on this above already. You can register a “free” account on outlook.com and use that freely, with the exception of adverts and some limitations. However, in our opinion, this is the BEST free web-based email solution available. It looks, feels and works like the Outlook app, just in a web browser. And to top that when used with your mobile phone it syncs the email, calendar, contacts and tasks (using ToDo). It also comes with 5GB free OneDrive space.
When you subscribe to a Microsoft365 Subscription plan, you get 1TB of OneDrive Space, adverts removed from the Outlook Web app, and some additional features. Plus you are always using the latest version on the web and requires almost no support.
3. BlueMail (Windows and Android)
This is a ” free” mail application and is a great alternative to Windows 10 Mail. We will cover Windows 10 Mail below.
This is quite a nice free application to handle your emails effectively. You are welcome to learn more on their website. Installation and support will be your responsibility.
4. Windows 10 Mail (Windows 10)
This is free as part of the Windows 10 OS. It is ideal for someone not wanting to pay for their mail app, but please note, that you cannot backup your mails, unless you backup your entire Windows installation, and you also can’t transfer your mails out to any other application or vice versa. It also links to the Windows 10 Calendar and Windows 10 People apps. Windows 10 Mail has also often given us headaches when it comes to using specific ports and/or SSL.
As of this article, we do not recommend you using Windows 10 Mail. Until Microsoft bring some really needed functionality to cater for the above deficiencies, we don’t believe it is worth the risk using.
OK, so we know many people use and love Gmail. We also use it as part of our Android profiles, and for some emails, etc. However, this is definitely NOT our go to recommendation. Over the years we have not found it to be very user friendly, probably because we don’t use it much. On top of that … in our experience … more than 95% of SPAM originates from someone using a Gmail address (or webmail.co.za for that matter). We feel the main reason is that there is NOT much authentication into the registrant and then it gets abused. And even if you try report that person, nothing happens.
Our opinion with regards to GMAIL is both about functionality and security. Besides, has anyone ever tried to get support from Google?
What do we Support?
We currently only support Microsoft® Outlook applications from version 2016 and above and also Microsoft365. This is due to the security requirements in place on the internet and is also our focus area.
Email Address Considerations
A consideration in terms of an email address though is please do not use a GMAIL or even an Outlook.com email address for business purposes. It is unprofessional and says a lot to the recipient of your emails about how you treat your own business. It is not costly to register a Domain name and provision Hosting for your own unique email address. It creates a perception that you are serious about business and take your client seriously. Talk to us about the options for this that will meet your budget.
To end this article, not saying we have covered everything, but just what might be of value to you. We may at some point dig a little deeper into the above, but for now if you require more information, please feel free to contact us.