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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Zimbra e-mail client review

Having access to Exchange server e-mail can sometimes be critical to doing your job, but if you're stuck with the sometimes painfully stupid Outlook 2003, you might go looking elsewhere.

Although the Linux-only Evolution is a great tool for this, Zimbra Desktop was an option available for Windows, Mac, and others. For a basic e-mail client that does everything you need it to do simply and easily, this is a real winner, but the program takes up enormous system resources.

The Good

  • Excellent support for a wide variety of email systems both web (like gmail and hotmail) and POP/IMAP services. (Outlook can do this but not well.)
  • Better interface, great calendar, overall much prettier.
  • Good drag-and-drop support
  • A strong "Find" tool. This is more of a knock on Outlook '03, which buries an extremely important component inside menus and "CTRL+F" is useless until you reply to the email.
In composing an email:
  • Both HTML and plain text options
  • Simple, easy attachment tools, draft, and otherwise
  • Automatic email address detection
The Bad
  • Doesn't seem to work with the Google Calendaring system (I had to click refresh). You can connect Outlook to Google Calendaring with a separate tool (note that this tool is probably not secured).
  • Doesn't cut back on features for things that don't exist for Google's calendar (such as attachments and other Exchange-only features)
  • After I added in all my addresses, takes up an enormous amount of disk space: 1.81 gigs.
  • File saving tool "Breifcase"? Thought this service had been turned off.
  • "Notepad" tool doesn't work with google docs. Its a mystery where it stores "notepad" files when you use non-yahoo accounts (probably locally).
  • Not as customizable and no power features like Outlook 2003.
  • Google Calendar works great but many of the options available don't move over into google docs.
  • Didn't work correctly with Exchange calendar

So unfortunately, Zimbra is helpful and good, but is not a replacement for Outlook 2003. If you do get stuck with Outlook, make sure you install the fantastic Xobni, which improves search, keeps track of contacts, and many other useful features.

Download Zimbra Desktop.

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