Email Client Wars: Airmail vs Spark

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Email; the bane of most business people. It is unproductive, it is at times valuable and other times a nuisance. Unfortunately it’s not going anywhere and we all need a tool to manage the volumes.

Apple Mail unfortunately does not quite hit the mark and many of us are in search of a email client that works for us as individuals with all the bells and whistles. I have been testing two clients Airmailby Bloop and Sparkby Readdle.

Both apps have been extensively reviewed by others and I’ll not go into that depth. What I will aim to show is the differences that are swaying me towards one app over the other in the fight for a place as my iOS email client.

Two articles are great for understanding both apps in details

“Airmail is the most powerful email app for iOS out there right now, treating iPhone and iPad users with the same respect and attention other developers would only show for their Mac apps.”

“For now, Spark continues to be one of the top email apps on iOS, with dozens of smart features and nice touches.”

User Interface

Spark is by far the more polished UI it looks great. It is not too cluttered and can be personalised with theme choices and the addition/removal of some features. The same UI crosses both iPhone and iPad.

Airmail unfortunately is a very bland vanilla looking interface. There are no themes to choose from and is quite stark. There are options that allow you to colour the various email accounts you have. This is then shown in the main screen down the left hand side as a small strip of colour . As with Spark the UI is similar across both iPad and iPhone.

Both UI’s have two similar features; firstly both are optimised for iOS 9 and a the iPad Pro which is a big plus in my world however both don’t allow the email on the iPad the fill the screen. Both UI’s divide the screen with 1/4 filled with the inbox and the 3/4 the email being viewed. In my opinion this should be an option to turn on or off as you please. Some emails like newsletters really benefit from utilising the whole screen for viewing.[1]

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Setup

Both apps are reasonably straight forward to set up. Once you accounts are created and configured[2] it take little time to get up and going. Spark has a neat Smart inbox feature that determines the type of email you are receiving and seperates them accordingly. Airmail has so configurable and has many configuration options. One of my favourite options is the Send to 2Do; this options sends the email to 2Do, opens 2Do at the task and also as a URL linking to the original email.

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General Use

Emailing should be straight forward and easy here both apps don’t disappoint. Following the theme of the app Airmail offers lots of formatting and other options on the email screen while Spark is more straight forward offering the basics. Again the interfaces are quite different with Spark being spartan with a dash of colour and Airmail being bland however full of options.

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and the winner is?

For me both apps offer something for everyone and are probably two of the best clients since the dearly departed Mailbox app. However for me Spark is the better client. It is refined and polished to near perfection. It also handles better with less little bugs getting in the way of everyday use. While not important to use, the look plays an important part in my opinion and Spark really is easy on the eyes particularly if you need to look at it 8 hours a day. Spark is my client of choice but try them both they are both solid apps.

Continued: Check out Part 2 of my battle with email

 


  1. It certainly better on my eyes too. It would remove the need to wear glasses in some instances  ↩
  2. Airmail struggled to setup a POP3 account correctly. Deleted items would remain on the other device. Sync didn’t appear to be the issue. Support has been prompt however no resolution  ↩

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