If you are unfamiliar with what Mailbox is exactly, it is an iPhone email app for Gmail users. Nothing mind-blowing? Well, you may be correct but the appeal of the app is the speed of email management and its aesthetically pleasing, clean minimalistic layout. It may not be incredibly ground-breaking but it's fast. You can cross the road and delete, label, archive and read your new emails before you reach the other side.
This app is a lot like the existing Gmail app but much simpler and user-friendly. It's great for those who don't want to spend too much time sorting through emails while going about their day. You also get the added satisfaction of a beautiful daily graphic as a reward for sorting out all your new mail. However, as with any app, there are flaws and I have to say that after two weeks of patiently waiting in a virtual queue, I was a little underwhelmed when I finally got to use it.
- Clean minimalistic uncluttered layout means you can access and manage emails without being bombarded with too much information and/or too many graphics.
- Ease of use; different swipes represent different functions meaning you don't have to remember a bunch of instructions to use the app effectively.
- Can be used to manage multiple accounts. At the moment, I am using all my (4) Gmail accounts with Mailbox.
- You can change the settings for the app either via the app itself or through your iPhone settings to cater to your specific needs. I couldn't stand that I was being notified of every single email (relevant and spam) by an alert message and alert sound, so I simply turned it off.
- Mistakes are easily made when rushing with this app. Since different swipes represent different actions, you have to be incredibly careful to swipe from the right point and at the right length to perform the right action.
- The app doesn't take into account your existing Gmail labels. I could not archive read emails in their relevant labels through this app. Those that need to be labelled, I simply don't read through the app and wait until I'm able to access my emails on a desktop, which defeats the whole purpose of the app.
- You can't mark messages as 'unread'. I like to read emails then mark them as unread when I need to refer to it later on. Granted, you can mark emails on Mailbox to 'read later' but the email disappears entirely until whenever 'later' is. I like to re-read emails whenever I next have access to them, which could be any time. You can mark emails on Mailbox to read later at a specific time and date, but to do this for every email you want to re-read is time consuming which again, defeats the point of the app.
- Using the app completely changes your desktop email. This is what I found most infuriating. The main section of your desktop Gmail centres around this app, with your main inbox now only showing emails received since you first began using the app. It may seem like all your emails have been erased at first, but don't fret (or do, I did both) as they are all stored in a separate section called 'All Mail' which requires a lot more effort to get to. I found this particularly frustrating when performing searches as I like to search through my emails frequently. I found the whole process a lot more daunting as I knew I would have to hover my mouse over the line in the side menu, wait for the second section to reveal itself before clicking 'More', in order to locate 'All Mail' which would then grant me access to my actual inbox.
Overall, it's a great app, but it's nothing special and although more aesthetically pleasing, it's probably less useful than my Gmail app which has lead me to choose the former over the latter. I would say that if you're looking for an app in which you can quickly and easily read, delete and archive emails without needing to use labels then this is the app for you but if you enjoy a more organised service like me, then this app is not worth the hype.
Also, it's been said that the reasoning behind the queue-based roll-out is to avoid service crashes but to me, it seems more of a marketing ploy. It's not exactly a unique app that everyone was going to rush out and download in haste, so I personally can't see the queueing being anything other than a marketing strategy. For me, Mailbox is just one app too many cluttering my iPhone...ironic no?