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I love emails. The pleasure of receiving them is matched by the pleasure of writing them. Of course, each email client has its own reason to boast and its own legion of fans. IncrediMail Xe can lay claim to some of them. If connecting with friends is meant to be fun, then IncrediMail follows this axiom to the byte. IncrediMail Xe v5.8 is a fun piece of email software.

Its reputation doesn’t suffer because it is able and free too…though an adware. The ads come in two modes – as a single line of animated self promoting ad in the outgoing mails and as a small banner ad in the status window. There is a paid version with extra features and without the ads.

The email application has existed for some time. But it stands out from others of its ilk because it offers a rich graphical experience as opposed to its plain Jane cousins. A single line intro would say that IncrediMail Xe is an ad supported email client for Windows allowing the use of emoticons, e-cards, email backgrounds, sounds, animations, 3D effects and handwritten signatures in emails.

IncrediMail Email Client- screen with Notifier

Here’s a walkthrough of the ‘merry’ features in the free version of this mail client –

  • 60 email backgrounds to add color to your mail.
  • Use the vast gallery of emoticons to add emotion to your words.
  • Cool animations to lighten your emails.
  • Notifiers – the animated characters announce the arrival of new mail. There’s a Jeeves-like caricature too!
  • Add the personal touch with the Handwritten signature creator.
  • See your emails bouncing and flying around with some cool 3D Effects.
  • Background wav files add sound elements to your email. An accompanying clickety click sound effect as you type gives a feel of a typewriter.
  • Peek into your mails with a multimedia attachment preview.

Thankfully, IncrediMail goes beyond being just a sugar coated email application. Under the hood are the qualities of a regular email client. The program supports the defacto POP3 and IMAP4 mail protocols. It is matched with leading email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL. The interface mirrors that of Outlook Express and this probably will help the user ease into the software.

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All the bells and whistles of a regular email client like handling messages; importing, exporting and managing the address book; and creating message rules are present. Automatic replies along with ‘request read receipts’ are always helpful.  Spam defense is through a rudimentary junk filter which works on the basis of a manual blocked senders list and message rules. An automatic image blocker disallows outside graphics. The user can block unwanted messages and if you want to show that you never received a message in the first place, there’s a ‘bounce’ feature accompanying that too. A more sophisticated junk filter is available in the paid version. A spellchecker and a Babylon based translator engine are the other close at hand aids. The mails might be graphic heavy, but I could send them in a jiffy.

You get the best bang for the buck when you send across your emails to another IncrediMail user because every email client has its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to handling graphics and sound. Outlook for example will display a static in place of the animated emoticon. Online Gmail, Yahoo and AOL do the latter but without the email background.

IncrediMail - Sent Mail

Yes, it is a good free email client. But a finicky user like me just has to find some of the rough spots. And there are some I must mention.

  • The address book is simple and lacks the ability to store multiple email addresses under a single name. For a ‘multimedia’ rich application, the lack of a contact picture in the address book is a put off.
  • The approved list based junk filter is pretty basic.
  • You have to use third party software to export your messages to a common format for import by other email clients. This is a problem if you want to uninstall and move to another email program.
  • Though IncrediMail does allow you to set your IMAP account, IMAP folder synchronization is absent. Copies of mail messages can be left on the server for access by other connected IMAP accounts.
  • Some objections have been cited over the heavy use bandwidth because of the HTML plus multimedia use in IncrediMail. (But hey! This is the age of Web 2.0!)
  • Being an ad supported software; their privacy policy mentions the use of ‘Non- Personally Identifiable Information’ for advertisement purposes.

IncrediMail may be what an emailer with a funny bone would look at. The kids or the kid in you could certainly give it a whirl. A serious emailer might look for more advanced mail management features and without the attached ads. I would recommend you use it for fun but just don’t send your next CV with it.

Today, email itself is unremarkable stuff. But IncrediMail does allow us to add a bit of playfulness in the midst of the mundane.

IncrediMail Xe is a 10.33MB sized Windows (98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista) only application. It is available in 11 languages.

Do you find IncrediMail incredible? Share your user experiences with us.

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