T-Bird E-Mail App a Winner
At a Glance
If you find yourself spending more time sorting your e-mail than reading it, consider the Mozilla Foundation's new Thunderbird e-mail client. The free program, which complements the group's Firefox browser, combines advanced e-mail sorting functions, first-rate spam filters, and lightning-fast performance to help cut through your inbox like a hot knife through butter.
I tested version 1.0 of Thunderbird (a 5.8MB download). After years of using Microsoft Outlook, the switch was like trading in a big, lumbering Buick for a Mustang GT. A mere second after you launch the program, it's ready to retrieve your mail or compose a message. With Outlook, you launch the software and go grab a cup of coffee while it loads its numerous modules.
Like most people, I'm in too much of a hurry to create a nice, neat folder hierarchy for my received e-mail, so I tend to keep all my messages in the inbox. That's why my favorite Thunderbird feature--and the one that may get me to dump Outlook for good--is the ability to create custom views of the inbox based on easy-to-set rules. For example, I created a "Family view" that shows only messages from people in my personal address book named "O'Reilly" (I could also add other names or conditions).
Of course, any e-mail program worth its salt today has to be able to handle spam, too. Thunderbird's Junk Mail Controls include adaptive filters that are trained to identify spam based on the contents of your incoming messages. The program also helps keep your system free of viruses.
The program does occasionally betray its 1.0 nature. For example, I encountered bugs when entering information into my Personal Address Book, and I noticed that the app's Help link was broken.
That said, the free program proved to be a fast, simple, and full-featured e-mail client.
Mozilla Foundation Thunderbird 1.0
E-mail client is fast, functional, and free; but a few bugs still need to be worked out.
Price when reviewed: Free to download
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