Review: Mailbox App


Mailbox is an app for iOS which functions as a Gmail client. Mailbox had gained lots of hype due to its much anticipated new take on email. Just a month after its release it was clear that Mailbox had done its job well as it was acquired by Dropbox. What makes it so popular is the difference between Mailbox and a typical email client. Your bread and butter email client will do the same things that an email webpage can do, albeit in a more sophisticated, user-friendly manner. What sets Mailbox apart from the norm is that it treats an inbox full of emails as a to-do list. Mailbox’s goal is to get your inbox down to zero emails.

Mailbox offers four different to-do options you can apply to your mail. The first is a simple checkmark, which Archives your message. This action is achieved by swiping an email halfway to the left. All the other options are applied with the same gesture but in different directions and lengths. The next option is your typical delete option. Fully swiping an email to the left drops the swiped mail into the trash.

The third to-do option that Mailbox is capable of is a “to-do-later” option. This option is invoked by swiping a mail halfway to the right. Once you do that, you are greeted with 8 sub-options of which you can choose one. The options let you specify how much you want to snooze or procrastinate the selected email. The options include “Later Today” (Snoozes the mail for three hours), “This Evening”,  “Tomorrow”, This Weekend”, “Next Week”, “In A Month”, “Someday” (Snoozes the mail for three months), and “Pick A Date”, which let’s you choose when Mailbox should remind you about the mail.  The final sorting option for Mailbox allows you to sort the selected into 3 default lists; “To-Do”, “To Read”, and “To Buy.” In addition, Mailbox allows you to create your own lists.

My thoughts

Mailbox looks great, works great, and the concept is great on paper. However there are some features that Mailbox lacks that are absolutely essential in ever email client mobile or desktop.

My main complaint is that Mailbox lacks labels. Gmail labels allow you to sort emails in folders. While Mailbox’s concept in which labels are replaced with reminders and a to-do list is great on paper, the absence of labels is still a huge thorn in the side. For people such as me who are already so entrenched in labels, with thousands of emails sorted neatly into their corresponding labels, it is near impossible to make a complete switch to Mailbox as a default client. Although Mailbox has a way to create your own labels in the forms of lists, it is too troublesome to import the mails from your old labels to the new lists.

Here are a few nit-picks I have on Mailbox that aren’t significant but are notable.

  • Mailbox doesn’t allow you to select multiple emails at a time, but it allows you to select the whole inbox
  • Slight alignment issue when creating new lists
  • Not possible to see if a mail is in a specific label

Mailbox’s new vision on emails is great but the lack of labels is the only thing stopping me from using Mailbox full time.

2013-03-23 19.55.38    2013-03-23 16.28.57


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