Email is something 99% of us do every day. Certainly if you’re an online worker (designer, programmer…) then email is a huge part of how you run your business. Gaining efficiency in your email sorting/writing/deleting can reap huge gains in overall daily productivity.

The Contender

In steps [Postbox]( to help you battle the deadly time suck that is email. Postbox is based on the open source [Thunderbird]( (from Mozilla) email engine. This means that out of the gate the developers of Postbox didn’t have to worry about the little things like connection to different email protocols, basic UI layout…and could focus on providing a refined product to users.

The Postbox interface
The Postbox interface

The Good

Aside from many of the expected features of an email client (multiple accounts, POP/IMAP) the biggest ‘pro’ for Postbox is it’s cross platform support, yeah that’s right it runs on both OS X and Windows. Couple that fact with the awesome license of Postbox (purchase includes both platforms) and you’ve got one awesome reason to drop some coin if you are split between systems and crave some consistency (as I was for a long time).

My second most loved feature of Postbox is the extensive list of [keyboard shortcuts]( available. It’s a fact that moving from typing to the mouse slows you down so any time you can cut out that movement you’ve saved yourself some time. Need to move an email to a folder, no need to drag and drop when ‘V’ is right there. Need to move to one of the other accounts in Postbox hit ‘G’ then type inbox and pick the one you want. There are way more available so go check them all out and if you do a task more than once in an email session learn the keyboard shortcut.

Lots of Keyboard Shortcuts
Lots of Keyboard Shortcuts

For you Mac users Postbox also has special support for both Things and Omnifocus. I’m no longer a Things user but I can say that Omnifocus support is top notch and welcome. Clicking the link in Omnifocus will open the email in question, never have reams of unread email as ‘todo’ items in your inbox again.

Before I was a Postbox user I was a Thunderbird user so knowing that the stable platform of Thunderbird sat under this beautiful (seriously way prettier than Thunderbird) client was a huge bonus. I’ve set up Postbox on 3 or 4 machines (both OS X and Windows) and it’s always felt easy. On my Mac it imported everything from with no issues. While I could be wrong I don’t ever remember having such an easy time switching email clients even when I was using Thunderbird.

The other advantage of having Postbox based off Thunderbird is that you’ve got a huge list of available plugins. When I wanted a proper Canadian dictionary I just went to the Thunderbird site and downloaded one. Even with that PostBox has a number of extensions that they know work and are [listed on their site](

Postbox certified addons
Postbox certified addons

The Bad

Just like any software Postbox has a few issues though. First the search is supposed to index all your mail (both on site and on the server) to make searching fast. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. I could never find a consistent reason for the search index failure but it happened. I just got in the habit of manually forcing an index of available mail every week or so. Depending on how much mail you have this might be something best left for while you’re on lunch as it can take a while and you’re email is not available while Postbox is indexing.

Indexing can take a while in Postbox
Watching the indexing chug along

Occasional speed issues were also a problem for some (not that I had any). It seems that when your email is starting to operate slow forcing an index cleared up the issue. Again, not a deal breaker but something that’s a bit annoying. Backup of the Postbox folders also seemed to slow down the performance for some so don’t forget to [exclude]( them from local backup. Really we should all be using IMAP or Exchange anyway so having another backup is a waste of time/space.

Finally I’ll complain about the Postbox support forums. They have an awesome AJAX search that breaks if you try and navigate back with your browser. I know this isn’t something related directly to the application but if you’re looking for some help or tips you’ll quickly find it annoying which will be a point against the software.


Postbox is a solid email client with a beautiful UI that sits firmly within the predictable realm of every other email client out there. It certainly works and it works well but if you’re looking for true innovation on how you interact with your email look elsewhere (like the great simple UI of Sparrow). With that said I still highly recommend Postbox for its full features and cross platform support. It’s most certainly the best option for any Windows users I’ve seen.

If you’ve on OS X and only/mainly using Gmail or Google Apps then go take a look at my review of [Mailplane](

4 responses to “Email with PostBox”

  1. Mike Avatar

    I am having major problems with Postbox 3.0 on win7 323bit. It wants to access my gmail account to save drafts, and runs slowly for other processes too. I am frustrated by their support site because I cannot find a solution to this issue. My wife is running an earlier version and has none of these problems. Both are paid and licensed. If I pay for a program I expect it to work and I expect answers when it does not.

    Any suggestions?

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      Sorry I don’t have any 32bit versions of windows around nor do I use PostBox anymore. I’m on a Mac full time now and use MailPlane to interface with gmail and google apps since that’s what all of my accounts are.

  2. Arek Avatar

    Unfortunately Postbox sucks. It was a great client with some issues to fix to make it great and I’ve bought it. But then they decided that it’s great as it’s time to add a lot of useless stuff to make more people buy it. Like integrate it with every possible social site you have. and they broke functionality which was working well, too. I have version 2.x and see no reason to buy version 3, rather I’m looking for a new email client. Shame 🙁

    Their support isn’t great either. Put any negative feedback there and it’s removed. It was a good start but is a downhill now.

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      That is unfortunate. Way to many companies get caught up in adding features that their users don’t really need at the expense of a solid product. I bought the lifetime license so I’ll try the next version but my regular email client is MailPlane now.