The Windows 8.1 Start screen looks great, full of big colorful tiles and smaller icons, arranged in any number of ways. So too do many of the default apps, especially Bing Maps, Weather, People, and News. But not Mail – that’s a crowded and confusing blue and white two-toned mess that looks garish and is just short of a chore to use.
Windows 8.1 users deserve a mail app that meets the operating system’s high aesthetic qualities, one with touch, swipe, and mouse-friendly features that play well on both a tablet and notebook. They deserve TouchMail.
Simply put, TouchMail is the best looking mail app available for Windows 8.1. By default, messages are represented by large attractive tiles with a contact icon (or stock animal image) subject line, sender, date, time, and sometimes a blurb, all arranged by date. Swipes to the left and right navigate the messages, while swiping up on a message archives one, swiping down (or right clicking with a mouse) selects one, and a tap or mouse click opens. There are four levels of zoom, ranging from two messages per column to twelve.
There are options to filter by read/unread messages, tasks, VIP messages (contacts), messages with files, messages marked high priority, and date ranges.
TouchMail supports up to three email accounts as of this writing (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Office 365, IMAP-enabled Exchange, AOL, and IMAP), and the slick transitions between them adds to the app’s visual appeal. Also, the app scales very well for Windows 8.1’s app snapping feature, and it looks great on a Surface Pro 3.
In testing, we found that seeing messages laid out as tiles made them easier to track and monitor. Contact icons also aided in identifying spam and promotional emails from important messages. It’s a wonder Microsoft didn’t go this route for the default Win 8.1 Mail client, especially considering that former Microsoft developers are behind TouchMail.
TouchMail is still currently in beta, and there are many missing features, including custom folder support, the ability to send attachments, and live tile notifications. Windows 8.1 also doesn’t yet users set TouchMail as the operating system’s default mail app. But, it’s currently free in the Windows App Store. And as soon as it exits beta, you can bet that we’ll ditch Mail for this slick email alternative.