Mailbox Comes To Android, But Is It Good Enough To Replace Gmail?
It’s a free app and not much has changed from the iOS version. There are a few additions, of course. Mailbox now requires you to have a Dropbox account or create a new one before you start using it. Plus there’s a new intelligent feature called Auto-Swipes, but we’ll come to that later. But more or less, it’s what we saw already on the iPhone app.
A Quick Recap
Bakari has covered Mailbox for iPhone in detail , but if you are new to it, here is a quick recap. Mailbox asks you to add your Gmail or iCloud account (it doesn’t work with any other email service right now) and supports multiple accounts. When you have that ready, the app will fetch emails from your inbox.
Mailbox’s selling point lies in its ability to organize your inbox and turn it into a task list. There are a few swipe-based actions for this. In the default “mailbox” view, you get:
- Swipe right halfway to archive a message.
- Swipe right fully to delete a message.
- Swipe left halfway to “snooze” a mail and have it resent to yourself—much like what makes Boomerang for Android into a better email app than Gmail .
- Swipe left fully to add message to a list.
If you are already in the “Snooze” box, swiping right will halfway take it back to mailbox and swiping right fully archives it. Similarly, if you’re in the “Archive” box, swiping left halfway will take it to mailbox and swiping left fully will snooze the message.
All of these actions can also be performed if you open an email, listed as icons at the top. At the bottom are the usual options to reply, reply-all or forward.
Lists & Auto-Swipes
Lists are an important part of Mailbox and act as folders. You can create your own list in the app’s settings.
Settings also include Auto-Swipes, the smart new feature in Mailbox. Mailbox tracks your interactions on certain similar types of emails and suggests creating smart rules for them. For example, if you archive a message from a certain address often, Auto-Swipe will suggest that as a rule. In my test, this happened five times, out of which one was wrong, one was fantastic and I hadn’t realised it, while the other three were nice additions to make my email management easier. It still makes mistakes, but they aren’t common enough to call the feature a failure. Just make sure you see what you are allowing Mailbox to do and it will smartly manage your inbox.
You can also manually set these rules. On any open message, long-press one of the aforementioned icons and you’ll get a prompt to set up a rule using the sender, the recipient or the subject line.
Dropbox Integration & Attachment Failure
As already mentioned, you need a Dropbox account to use Mailbox now and it’s no surprise then that it’s tightly integrated with the cloud storage service. And you don’t even need the original app installed, you can have one of the fantastic Dropbox alternatives for Android .
But while it’s great to attach a file from your Dropbox or photo gallery into Mailbox, that’s where it ends. You see, apart from that, there is no other way to attach any file to an email.
The attachment experience is even worse on a received mail. I have no idea how to download an attached file to my phone’s memory, let alone batch-download multiple attachments. These core email experience features are taken for granted on Gmail, but are missing on Mailbox and there’s a huge void because of that.
Mailbox Is A Manager, Not A Replacement
The more I use it, the more I realise that Mailbox is a fantastic tool to sort my Gmail inbox; but it’s not going to replace Gmail for me. To go through my inbox, Mailbox does a fantastic job of setting up rules and understanding my needs smartly. But in email search and composing mails, two features I use often, Mailbox still lags behind.
If your inbox runneth over, grab Mailbox and start setting up rules. You’ll be thankful you did. But Gmail still deserves a place in your Android phone.
Download: Mailbox for Android (Free) [No longer available]
Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.