Related link: http://barebones.com/products/mailsmith/
For a long time, like most users, I have been waiting for the perfect e-mail client. I played with Mail, Thunderbird, Mailsmith and a couple others that shall remain nameless. Of course, that perfect client never arrived and, like everyone, I was forced to curse at my application on a regular basis, no matter what that application was or how much AppleScripting I was willing to perform to add the few features I was the only one on this planet to deem essential.
Yesterday however came the time to take the plunge and invest in a second e-mail client. Why a second might you ask? Because I wanted to keep personal and professional matters strictly separate and thought this was the only true way.
After many months of looking applications up, I had finally declared Mailsmith the best runner-up client, tied in with Mail.app, for very different reasons. So today, I finally downloaded Mailsmith and paid my license fee, silently hoping I was not purchasing an end-of-lifed application — we shall see but I have a bad feeling about that one.
While setting the preferences, I couldn’t help but think at the price tag that so many users find unjustified, especially for a client that does not do IMAP. Well, after checking and unchecking boxes for a good 10 minutes, I now fully understand where that comes from: Mailsmith is, by far, the only e-mail application I know that thinks of a user’s both online and offline workflow. How much work that must have required I can’t imagine.
Want to print and bind your mails, as so many offices still do (yuck!)? Well, you can setup a special “binder” margin. You like to read your e-mails in ProFont but know your boss insists on the Company Font whenever you print them? That can be arranged as well. You yearn to watermark your mails with a custom header? Easy as pie. Plus, Mailsmith integrates beautifully with Address Book and other Apple niceties.
Mailsmith is not perfect but neither is any other e-mail client. It lacks some features that now make Mail.app very powerful such as Spotlight search — which, considering it already has its own searching system, I entirely understand but will without doubt discourage some users. It could use a few optional visual effects, just for Aqua’s sake and it could use, without a single doubt, some IMAP goodiness.
All these little faults however do not prevent Mailsmith from being one of the best clients I have met so far. I’m just crossing my fingers, hoping BareBones thinks the same! There is plenty of life left in Mailsmith, that’s for sure.
[Update 2006-02-24] I have posted some more in-depth thoughts on the topic on the Soup, for those of you who inquired.