The debate is an old one: Are Web-based e-mail services like Hotmail or Gmail the right choice? Or do the smart folks rely on desktop e-mail clients such as Sparrow or Postbox? As with numerous other long-running technology conundrums, this one has no definitive answer. As a recent Lifehacker story indicates, different e-mail systems are better for different computer users. Therefore if you’re deciding whether to set up a desktop e-mail client on your pc or go with the cloud and a Web-based e-mail provider, your first step is straightforward: You need to figure out what sort of e-mail user you are.
Is a Desktop e-mail client right for you?
Here’s who ought to be using a desktop e-mail client, according to Lifehacker: Computer users that have multiple e-mail addresses with different domains, people who need to access their e-mail messages even when they’re offline and those who filter and block e-mail messages according to subject headers, senders and specific words. Lifehacker also recommends the use of desktop e-mail clients if you prefer making use of security features such as encryption and digital signing.
When Web-based makes sense
Lifehacker recommends that you use Web-based e-mail if you need a single unified inbox for all your e-mail messages and you only have a small number of e-mail addresses to track. Web-based e-mail may also make sense if you like using Web-based programs instead of downloading them to your computer and if you’re comfortable storing your e-mail messages in the cloud rather than on your system.
The best news of all
There is plenty of excellent news, though, whether you favor Web-based e-mail or desktop clients. There's an abundance of impressive programs which help you manage your e-mails better, no matter how you decide to access them. Gmail, for instance, is just one of several Web-based mail programs that give you great capability to organize and manage your inbox. The previously mentioned Postbox and Sparrow do the same, but in a desktop form.
If you're a cloud-based user, do you have a favorite email program we didn't mention? Feel free to share.