Say what you want about the heralded eventual doom of email, I don’t think it’s going anywhere fast. And since it seems to be hanging around, developers are trying to rejuvenate it: adding to its features, bending and tweaking and overall making it a more enjoyable, convenient experience.
Mail Call contributes to this vein by putting the mail right in the menubar. But how easy is it? Let’s find out.
Coveted Real Estate
In the last few years, it seems that every app I download for my Mac has a menubar component. For some apps, it makes completely logical sense as they may serve their basic functionality from that part of the screen area or the app’s main goal is always-at-your-fingertips convenience. Either way, my menubar is flush with icons and Mail Call adds to that. Luckily, though, it deserves its place.
You’ve Got Mail
Apple’s default Mail app seems nice enough, but I could never be troubled to set it up. I’ve been on GMail as long as I can remember, but using a web-based email client has its ups and downs. On the upside, it’s available everywhere there is Internet, but on the downside you have to open a browser to access it.
I’ve tried to get used to having a dedicated mail application, but eventually I found myself just leaving GMail open in a tab of Google Chrome, thereby negating the point of having a dedicated app running. There are no notifications when a new message arrives when you go this route, though. I’ve been getting by on GMail Notifr, a free menubar app that uses Growl notifications to alert users to a new message, but aside from alerting, it really just serves as a link to open the message in the browser.
Mail Call is the next evolution of the menubar alert: you can read, reply, forward and sort your mail without your browser and without a dedicated app. Mail Call glows to life (you pick the color!) when you have a new message. When you click the icon, a menu opens displaying any unread messages. You can double-click the a message to have it open in a separate pane with more options like flagging or printing. The choice to reply or compose a message is available from the drop-down as well, if you want to save a click.
Using Mail Call is unobtrusive. The message panes where mail is opened are petite, even on my tiny-by-comparison 11.6″ screen. While some apps may have more features, Mail Call is designed to provide the basics, but does so well, letting you quickly dismiss or reply to emails while barely losing concentration. And it serves the dual feature of motivating you to keep your inbox clean so as to avoid the menubar glow of pending unread emails.
Do you have multiple email accounts? Mail Call will merge the unread messages into a unified list, thereby removing the extra steps of switching accounts just to respond to a particular message.
What’s it Worth?
Mail Call is a $9.99 app in the App Store. That’s on par with some other mail apps like Sparrow and Postbox, but those apps have fancy features like Dropbox integration, calendar additions, and Facebook contacts. Mail Call brings a pure and simple convenience, but the price is still daunting. I would wholeheartedly recommend it in the $2.99 – $4.99 range, but $9.99 is a bit tough to swallow. If you are looking for a menubar mail wonder, though, Mail Call is good and has a lot of potential to grow into something amazing.
Mail Call brings the basic functionality of email to your menubar, albeit at a price.8
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