Boomerang just might be the best email client for Android. Here’s why.
Ever since Sparrow made Gmail on the iPhone spectacular, iOS developers have tried to re-invent the way Gmail users access their mail on mobile. The same can’t be said on Google’s Android, however, and this makes sense: the operating system includes a Gmail app out of the box.
There is one app, however, that gives Gmail a run for its money. Last month the makers of the Boomerang browser extension released a full-blown email client for Android. This app not only brought Boomerang’s previously browser-only “snooze” button to mobile, but also allowed Android users to track when their emails are opened. Alongside these advanced, Boomerang-only features are many of the staples that makes the stock Android app so great: push notifications, multiple accounts and more.
Let’s break down the exclusive features, the equivalent features other alternative clients forget, and what’s missing from Boomerang for Android.
We’ll begin with the obvious difference: the features only Boomerang offers Gmail-loving Android users. As a general introduction, Mark’s article shows you how Boomerang is a powerful Gmail extension that lets you archive any email until a given date in the future. Check that article for an in-depth explanation of the core Boomerang features, which are also outlined below.
Email ‘snooze’ button: The feature this app is named for. With it you can set a message to disappear from your inbox until a set time in the future – creating exceptions if you get a response. If you get a lot of email (and you probably do), this feature can be a life saver.
Send Later: Want to write a message now but ensure it’s not received until later? You want this feature, then, which delays emails.
Track Responses: Need a response, and afraid you’ll forget? This feature can bring messages your waiting for a response to back to the top of your inbox, after a set amount of time.
Gesture-based inbox management: Swipe any email one way to archive it; swipe the other way to bring up the above options (from left: archive, trash, boomerang, tag, respond, star).
Some features in the Gmail app are commonly skipped in third party apps – but not Boomerang. Here’s a few I noticed.
- Push notifications: Email addicts need not worry: Boomerang For Android comes with push notification support, so your notifications will keep on flowing.
- Phone Contacts: The app uses your system contacts, so you don’t need to worry about importing or exporting anything.
- Multiple accounts: If you use multiple Gmail accounts, you’re covered – you can log into and use as many accounts as you like.
- Send From: Do you use Gmail’s “Send From” feature? Boomerang supports this, but it takes some setup. You can add accounts you’ve registered with Gmail in the settings.
- Performance: the stock Gmail app is fast, but Boomerang kept up with it on my device.
Boomerang doesn’t do everything the stock Android Gmail app does. Here are a few glaring examples:
- Inbox selections: Do you use Gmail’s new tabbed inbox? Boomerang doesn’t support it. The priority inbox is similarly missing, though the “Important” label is there.
- Visible labels: Do you have filters set up to automatically label things? They won’t be visible in Boomerang’s inbox. You can, however, view the entirety of any label.
- Widgets: There is no Boomerang widget as of this writing, meaning if you use one to monitor your inbox you may need to stick with the stock Gmail app for now.
What Doesn’t Matter (But Is Kind Of Cool)
This is totally irrelevant, but also kind of cool: Boomerang offers Wunderlist-style themes:
You can even set a different one for multiple email accounts, which is a nice touch. Magical bonus points that don’t count for Boomerang on this one.
If you live and breathe Gmail, and need to see your tags and use the tabbed inbox – Gmail is probably best for you at the moment. If you want Boomerang’s key features – from response tracking to hitting “snooze” on an email – Boomerang is well worth checking out. It offers features Gmail doesn’t, includes many of the most important ones and
Note that Boomerang is Gmail-only for now, but support for IMAP is coming. Also note that Boomerang, while free, does offer Personal and Pro versions with extra features. With these you can schedule more than 10 messages a month.
And of course, you can also check out these 5 other excellent Android email apps if neither Gmail nor Boomerang is right for you. Let us know which app you prefer in the comments below, okay?