PIM’s: Outlook vs. alternative

(I recently changed this blog post.  I changed my mind about Outlook 2013.)

It was time for me to consider upgrading from Outlook 2007.  What I was looking for was an offline email client, a calendar manager, and the ability to sync the calendar to my Android.  I checked out a number of PIM’s, and it came down to two apps:  Outlook 2013 and eM Client.

Here are what I learned from these two applications:

  • Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2007 do not connect to Yahoo mail.  For some reason, both apps cannot connect to the Yahoo POP or IMAP mail servers.  eM Client can.  So does Thunderbird.
  • You can use the same pst file for both 2007 and 2013.  Outlook 2013 does not upgrade the pst and does not render the pst file useless to 2007.  If you’re just using 2013 on a trial basis, you can revert to 2007.  There is one caveat:  Don’t set the default profile through the control panel if you want to use 2007 again.  You’ll get a warning about this if you try to do this.
  • eM Client syncs with Google calendar.  This is an advantage if you already use Google Calendar.  If you setup eM Client to connect to you Gmail account, it will connect to your Google calendar and display it in eM Client.  Whatever changes you make to it through eM Client, the changes will reflect to the Google calendar.  Outlook does not sync with Google Calendar.  The best you can do without getting a syncing application is that Outlook can connect to Google Calendar but only as read-only.  You cannot modify Google Calendar through Outlook.
  • All three apps, sort of, cannot sync with Outlook.com Calendar.  I think this is a bug with Outlook.com.  For awhile 2007 and eM Client was able to sync with the calendar in Outlook.com, but recently they were not able to.  2013 always had problems with the syncing.
  • eM Client is free if you use up to two email accounts and for non-commercial use.  Otherwise, it is $49.95 for the Pro version.  You can buy two licenses for a total of $79.95.  You can try the Pro version for 30 days.  Outlook 2013 is normally priced at $109, but you can get it for $88.  You can try Outlook 2013 for 30 days through Office 365 Home Premium.  You have to go through Microsoft to get the trial.  Here is the link to Office 365 Home Premium.

From what I learned, I think I am going with Outlook 2013.

2007 is a little buggy but so is 2013.  2013 crashed when it tried to read my pst file for the first time.  It said that the pst file was corrupted but 2013 still crashed.  I repaired the pst file and 2013 came right up.  2013 hung once.  2013 doesn’t sync with Outlook.com Calendar very well.

The only issue with 2007 is that 2007 sometimes doesn’t start up after I close it.  There is some 2007 background task that prevents 2007 from loading again and I have to terminate it through the task manager.  This is not a common problem.  It happens seldom.

Here are some a annoyances with 2013.  There seems to be a slight lag in 2013 when I am typing a new message.  I doubt it is because I have a slow computer.  I have an Intel Core i7  4770K processor with 32 GB of memory.  Another is that the font is too big when I look at the list of new email messages.  The larger font makes it difficult for me to scan the list of new messages quickly.

eM Client turned out to be a pretty good product.  It is an email client and a calendar client.  It syncs with Google Calendar pretty well.  It does the weather forecasting in the calendar that 2013 does. There is was one feature that was nifty and that was the Deduplicator feature.  It looks for duplicates and gets rid of them.

There were a few annoyances that I had with eM Client.  First, eM Client didn’t setup my Outlook.com Calendar after importing from the pst file.  I had to delete the setup and then set it up again.  After setting up again, Outlook.com Calendar was setup in eM Client.  Another annoyance was that when you go through the list of new emails by selecting them one at a time, the email needs to be selected for 5 seconds before it is marked as read.  This is a problem if you just want to mark new email as read just by selecting the email.  To fix that, go to Tools->Settings.  Select Mail->Read.  Change the first item on the list from 5 seconds to 0 seconds and click OK.

One drawback with eM Client is that some Internet security suites such as Panda does not provide a toolbar for eM Client.

There is one feature Outlook 2013 has that is worth noting.  When you’re reading an email, Outlook will will display a list of emails related to the one your viewing.  Let’s say you’re reading a friend’s email.  Outlook will list previous emails sent my your friend.  Neither 2007 or eM Client does this.

Another interesting feature of 2013 is that Outlook can sync with your Facebook and LinkedIn pages.  Let’s say you get an email from somebody.  2013 will look up if the sender has a Facebook page and if so display the person’s picture.

If you don’t have Outlook and want an offline email client plus calendar management, consider eM Client.  It is free if you have 2 or less mailboxes and if it is for personal use.  Even if you have to buy the Pro version, it is less expensive than Outlook 2013.

If you want just an email client without a calendar, consider Thunderbird.  It is free and there are no restrictions to the number of mailboxes.  I think you can use it for commercial use.

If you have 2007, it might be worth the upgrade.  At first, I didn’t think the it was worth the upgrade but after learning the new features it might be worth the upgrade.  It is nice for 2013 to bring up a list of previous emails from the sender whenever I receive an email.


eM Client

Office 365 Home Premium