MindSense has released an OS X version of its Mail Pilot email client to accompany its existing iOS apps. Unfortunately, the app has major bugs and missing features that keep it from being a great replacement for your existing setup.
While mobile email clients have made a ton of progress over the past year, desktop versions have languished. Mail Pilot for Mac, which has a launch price of $9.99, almost solves my email problem, but the software isn’t ready for me to make a seamless switch.
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My preferred email setup on the desktop is the old Gmail Web interface. I use stars to mark items that I need to take action on and allow Google’s Priority Inbox to sort out the noise. It’s not a perfect solution, and it’s biggest weakness is scheduling. I get emails about potential news stories weeks in advance, and sometimes I forget to come back to them. Most importantly, Mail Pilot’s scheduling feature can be put to use through keyboard shortcuts.
The interface resembles Apple’s own Mail app, but with extra options for scheduling and marking as complete.
My main issue with the Mail Pilot build I tried is that it’s just too slow. There’s an extra loading step after I send an email that is annoying. When I move on to the next message after sending, the app pops up a notification asking if I want to delete my reply. It’s enough of a disruption to my rhythm that it would turn me away. I’ve only been using Mail Pilot for a day, but messages felt like they took a couple minutes longer to come in and longer to actually load.
Search didn’t seem to be working properly either. Mail Pilot failed to produce results on queries that I knew should produce hits. I spend a good part of my day digging through old emails, so this is not okay.
The other problem I have is that Mail Pilot doesn’t support drafts at launch. I’m sorry, but drafts is a minimum requirement of an email client for me. MindSense says the feature is coming soon, but I view it as an unacceptable omission. The developer also noted that speed and search improvements are currently being tested for a future update.
I also ran into a handful of errors where Mail Pilot had trouble filing messages in the right category. Occasionally, the app would simply spout out an error saying it wasn’t able to set an email aside or schedule a reminder. At one point, Mail Pilot just mysteriously crashed.
Mail Pilot shows a lot of promise, but the software’s still in too early a state for most heavy email users. If you’re in desperate need of a task-scheduling client for OS X, it might be worth spending the $9.99 now, but I recommend waiting until the developer has worked out the kinks and added missing features.
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