Don Burnside

Recipes, technology, personal stuff and a crap load of archives.

Review: Mailbox App

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I gave it the old college try. For the last 3 weeks I have been using Mailbox on my iPhone. It’s a fantastic app, but it’s not for me.

The Mailbox App team have had a very interesting ride. I remember seeing their initial video about the app months before it was actually released and I thought it looked revolutionary and awesome. Then it was released in a way to garner as much hype as possible while allowing them to properly manage the roll-out. Since this is email, I thought that bit was pretty awesome, especially since email has moved into the category of “always has to work”.

So I signed up and waited. Luckily, I joined early and only had to wait a little more than a week for my reservation to kick in. The app itself is very nice. The interface makes sense and the controls, once you actually figure it out, also makes sense. I had a minor issue with my reservation, however. Nothing that they weren’t able to correct via their Twitter account and support email.

So far, so good. I’m beyond impressed at this point.

After playing with Mailbox (and archiving my inbox), I put my phone down and do what I always do. Opened mailplane to work on email.

Mailbox only works with Gmail, and for it to work, it actually gets into your Gmail inbox and takes over for you, adding labels and archiving messages. It’s the way it worked and on the phone, it’s pretty awesome.

But my phone isn’t my primary email device. My phone is where I triage email. Sure, I reply to some messages via mobile, but those are the quick hit replies to answer an easy question. Anything with any substance, I want a keyboard. Same goes for creating new messages. I almost never send an email from my phone. It’s not part of my work flow.

I also don’t practice inbox zero in the strictest sense. Instead of going for zero messages, I shoot for zero _unread_ messages. When I hit that, I color myself done and about once a quarter I’ll archive my inbox to produce true inbox zero.

Finally, if I had to pick on Mailbox for anything, it’s the lack of search. While I seldom do this mobile, I do need this feature.

I’m not saying this is a bad app. I’m saying it’s a bad app for me. It’s a fantastic app and I’m sure it will continue to be even more fantasticer since Dropbox bought them. In fact, as long as you don’t mind a 3rd party having unfettered access to your Gmail account, use your phone as your primary email device (or don’t mind the changes it makes to your inbox) and are ok not having search (for now I would almost bet), I would very much recommend Mailbox.