For more than twenty years, Microsoft Outlook has been the primary software tool I use for email and calendars on Windows PCs, for both business and personal uses.
On New Year’s Day, I switched my personal email accounts to Mailbird, a software tool that lets me manage my email and calendars on my Windows 11 PCs.
Even only four days into my use, I’m already well impressed with Mailbird, how easy it was to install and set up, and the fast way I get things done that took much longer with Outlook.
So far three things stand out for me about Mailbird:
- Unified mailbox. I can set up multiple email accounts within Mailbird, all of which can appear in a single unified mailbox that contains emails from all the accounts. Each account is colour-coded so I can see at a glance which email account a message is in. This is ideal when you have multiple email accounts.
- Integration with Google calendar. This is a breeze to set up compared to Outlook which requires a third-party bridging app to synchronise Google calendar with Outlook calendar. With Mailbird, it just connects to Google and brings in your calendar. This makes things very straightfoward when you have Mailbird installed on up to three devices where your Google calendar is accessible by all.
- Retrieving account settings and synchronising for email is fast and works every time. This behaviour is refreshing compared to Outlook. In setting up, Mailbird grabbed the server settings for each of the email accounts I wanted to add (Gmail and Yahoo accounts plus a domain email), set up access and started bringing in email. Couldn’t be simpler.
Mailbird offers much more with the Personal plan if you want it including integration with a wide range of third-party apps and services such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Discord, and more. If you go for the Business plan, you can also integrate others like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana, Trello, and more.
I’ve not integrated anything other than Google Calendar, as I want to keep this tool minimalist and just focus on my email and calendar. I really like the easy-to-use interface and simple layout.
See the full range of features Mailbird offers. You can compare that with Outlook’s offering. And take a look at this comparison of Mailbird with other platforms.
That said, there are a couple of things I don’t like much about Mailbird compared to Outlook, or wish I do could do them differently.
The Calendar, for instance. Like Outlook, I can display a summary of calendar events in a vertical panel at the right of the app window. But the design shows this app’s heritage as an app originally for macOS as the panel looks like you see it on an iPhone screen. I don’t like it much! And I wish the calendar in the panel would display events for a week in addition to the current day or month setting.
Also when replying to email, the procedure when you have lots of names in the address line and maybe a few cc’s isn’t as clear and simple as it is with Outlook. Or maybe it’s because I’m so used to Outlook it will take a while longer to adjust.
Such things aren’t show stoppers for me, just illustrative of the fact that no software application is wholly perfect.
One thing to note as well: the Personal plan does not let you add email accounts that use Microsoft Exchange. For that, you’ll need a Business plan.
When thinking about moving away from Outlook, I did also consider just using the native approach to my personal email accounts , mostly on Gmail. But I don’t want to have to check it via a browser with multiple logins to multiple email accounts or granting calendar access to different accounts. No to that faffing about!
I decided to give Mailbird 30 days to help me decide whether to make the switch permanent or not. I have bought a license for the Personal plan and the price is low enough that I’m willing to experiment even if the result is that I don’t continue using it.
Mailbird Personal supports IMAP and POP3 accounts and has versions for Windows and, soon, macOS.
Based on my experience so far, I see a future for Mailbird.