I have been on the lookout for the perfect email client for years. I manage multiple email accounts and need a lightweight program with lots of features, including rules and filters. EmailTray advertises itself as a full-featured, lightweight smart email client for Windows so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Let’s find out what EmailTray can do and if it can stand up against the big boys like Outlook, Thunderbird and Postbox.
Getting EmailTray installed and ready to use takes no time at all. After installation, EmailTray greets you with a wizard to start adding your email addresses.
EmailTray analyzes your actions, such as reading, responding, deleting and forwarding messages to rank your emails by importance. While EmailTray is downloading and analyzing your messages, a slideshow tutorial pops up:
EmailTray organizes your emails by priority: Top priority, Low priority and No priority.
Here is my top priority inbox after adding three email addresses. The left sidebar shows messages grouped by sender and how many unread messages are in the group. The right side has a normal-looking inbox with a preview pane underneath.
For example, I have 9 unread messages that I sent myself. When I click on Sydney Alcala in the left sidebar, the messages show up in the top sorted by date and subject. Underneath is a preview pane showing the selected message.
EmailTray’s biggest selling point is the smart organization – analyzing your previous actions to categorize messages by importance. I don’t currently use the priority inbox feature in Google because in my experience, priority was assigned incorrectly too many times.
EmailTray seems to have figured this one out because the right senders were categorized as either high, low or no priority. It seems that EmailTray is only categorizing per sender, instead of on a per-message basis. You can accomplish this with rules and/or filters in other programs if you want.
One thing I did encounter was incorrect sorting. I have a Wufoo subscription and take advantage of email notifications of form results, and EmailTray combined all emails from Wufoo into one group. This means it did not differentiate between different forms and even between a Wufoo billing invoice and form results. All of these messages have a different subject line that varies with each form, so it’s combining them based on email address ([email protected]) instead of by subject line or message contents.
EmailTray was spot-on in differentiating between spam and marketing materials. All messages marked as spam were unwanted emails, and the app didn’t mark one marketing newsletter as spam.
Learning to use EmailTray is quick and doesn’t require much effort. EmailTray is designed to be simplistic and easy to use.
Navigate between priorities with tabs on the top. The left navigation bar shows locations such as Inbox, Sent, Archive, Trash and Contacts. The right navigation bar shows message actions, including Archive, Delete, Reply, Forward, Mark as Read/Unread, etc.
Let’s jump into EmailTray’s settings and see how much we can customize this email client.
Adding new accounts is simple – you don’t need to know connection settings for most email addresses. You can also set favorites if you manage multiple email accounts for easy access.
Rules come in handy, especially when you’re managing multiple email accounts. You can create custom rules for almost any situation – based on sender, receiving email, subject line, and more.
You can also configure notifications based on priority. The default settings are to show an alert every 10 minutes when new high priority messages arrive.
EmailTray also makes it easy to backup and restore your email database. You can store up to three backup files to your hard drive and schedule automatic backups. This is especially handy considering I spent 30 minutes creating message filters and rules.
EmailTray User Account
You can sign up for a user account that registers your email addresses with EmailTray. I’m not exactly sure of the benefits other than a business card that other EmailTray users will see, and registration for a premium license.
EmailTray comes in a free and a premium version. The only features reserved for premium users is password protection for the app and personalized email signatures.
A premium license is $14.95 for one year, $34.95 for three years and a lifetime premium license is $69.95.
If you stick with the free version, your email signature will read “Sent via EmailTray, my personal email concierge. Get yours at http://www.emailtray.com.” You can change or remove the signature each time you compose a new message, but you can’t turn off signatures altogether (at least I couldn’t figure this option out.)
Contacts & Calendars
EmailTray can manage your contacts, but does not have support for calendars. I like the set up for contact management, especially the Duplicates tab.
Note: Gmail adds everyone who you’ve ever sent to or received from to your contacts so if you have been letting Gmail run the show, you’ll have some cleaning up to do.
If you need an email client that integrates with your calendar, EmailTray won’t work for you, at least not yet.
EmailTray is a pretty solid email client. My favorite feature is how lightweight it is. If you’ve ever used Outlook or Thunderbird, you know how much of a hog they can be. EmailTray is quiet and small, and it’s easy to forget the app is even open until you get a notification of a new message.
The only thing I’m personally missing from this app is the color coding feature I use extensively in Gmail and Postbox, and hopefully they will add that feature down the road.