Android’s first-rate Gmail experience is a great solution for Android users. Yet many who use Gmail have email from other accounts that needs to be monitored.
The stock Android email app does the job for those who have a Microsoft Exchange, IMAP or other type of account. However, several third-party options have arisen on Android tablets to provide a stronger and more elegant experience.
Recently optimized for the tablet form factor, CloudMagic has an excellent interface and competes very well with Gmail in the one feature that Google usually dominates: search. CloudMagic rapidly searches through email content and contact names that I found make trying to find a specific message substantially less painful.
It also connects to every major email service: Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook.com, Yahoo, iCloud, or an IMAP account. CloudMagic includes a nifty smart reminder feature. Just tap and hold on a message’s star and select how soon in the future you wish to get a reminder.
Boomerang is an email app that offers some enhanced functionality to your Gmail: it can snooze messages and schedule drafts to be sent at a specific time in the future. Currently it only works with Google’s mail service, but the developer says that support for other services is coming.
Boomerang supports the “send as” feature if you are using your Gmail account to send and receive mail from other services. It also offers search across your Gmail account for finding specific messages.
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TouchDown probably won’t win any design awards, but it has long been very good at connecting Microsoft Exchange email, contacts and calendar in one tabbed interface. While you can always add an Exchange account through the Android settings, sometimes it is convenient to get all this information inside of one application.
The app worked very well and quickly imported the Exchange settings I tried. TouchDown also supports Exchange ActiveSync policies like Remote Wipe, data encryption and PIN.
Aqua mail is another good alternative for those that want an app that works with all of the major email providers. It supports Gmail, Exchange, IMAP and others in a very Android-native interface. It also offers some handy widgets to add to the home screen for glancing at email without needing to open the app.
The trial version is free, limiting you to two accounts and forcing a promotional signature at the end of each message. The pro version ($4.95) removes these restrictions.
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