Outlook vs Thunderbird

I have been using Mozilla's Thunderbird for quite a while now. Scott turned me onto it and I really like the way that it handles IMAP accounts. There has been a lot of debating in my head as to whether or not I should switch back to Outlook. I definately don't want to use POP3 anymore because I check email from desktop at home and from my Tablet. Thunderbird works great with IMAP email, but Outlook falls way short for me when concidering IMAP.

There are many applications that work great with Outlook because it is (obviously) so widely used. For example, my Palm Vx has a feature where I can create, edit and read emails directly from it (via hotsync operations of course). I also use Franklin Covey's Plan Plus software and it is tightly integrated with Outlook. Most importantly, a majority of my Ink enabled applications support sending emails through Outlook only. I'm able to work around it with Thunderbird by saving my Ink documents as an image and simply attaching it to my emails, but that is a bit too much work to be considered a 'feature' really.

A couple of days ago, I actually took the time to try using Outlook again. It was quite evident why I made the switch to Thunderbird when I decided to start using IMAP. Outlook sucks with IMAP!! When I moved a message from one folder to the other, it would perform the move operation, but it would leave a trail of the message in my inbox with a line through it. I had to manually 'Purge Deleted Messages' everytime I moved, deleted, or marked a message as spam. Speaking of which, their spam filter sucks too. Thunderbird has a killer spam recognition engine and handles ~90% of all my spam. If you want a spam blocker in Outlook you have to buy a 3rd party add on, or use some crappy shareware. The deciding factor for me was when I sent messages, there was no way to make my 'sent' items go to the actual accounts' sent items folder (Hardbarger\Sent or DataDynamics\Sent). Outlook always assumes that I want to put my sent messages in my 'LOCAL' sent items folder, and there was no way (that I could see) to configure it differently.

It took me about two full days to realize that I was wasting my time. I'm back on Thunderbird now... Conclusion: If you want to take advantage of IMAP, use Thunderbird; if you want to use POP3, Outlook might be your best bet.

Print | posted on Saturday, August 06, 2005 6:54 PM