If you are anything like me, Email is an essential everyday tool, but before selecting an Email application it is important to fully understand your requirements. My requirements are fairly straightforward and can be stated as follows:
I want up-to-date access to my email from any computer or device that I choose
I want to be able to carry around my entire email mailbox complete with attachments without having to download old emails again
I don't want to have to synchronise emails between computers or devices or have to backup a specific device or computer to keep emails aligned
I also want to display 'in line' HTML emails.
These requirements really dictated that I needed some form of IMAP solution, whereby I can safely store my messages in online folders and view or download them on any computer or device whilst staying in perfect sync. If a specific computer or device fails then the messages are safe on the server and can be accessed from the next computer or device.
With the Account Type established, I needed to find a suitable Email application for my phone. I fired up the built in Nokia/Symbian S60 client but immediately found several basic, show-stopping limitations (all screenshots here are from the Nokia E90):
The built in S60 email client limits IMAP accounts to the download of headers only, a second step is then required to download the email body and then 3rd and 4th steps are required if the email contains HTML or any Attachments are present.
The built in S60 client is very clumsy with respect to handling online IMAP folders, the email client does not allow emails to be moved between online server folders, a kind of fundamental requirement of IMAP! The folder subscription process is also slow and not well thought out.
If the email contains HTML and another attachments then you have to download the HTML attachment to view it and then also download any other attachments separately, if you then go back into the email on a previously downloaded HTML attachment the application requests a data connection again despite having just downloaded it! If you want to view the email again after a period of time you then have to go through the whole process again.
Having put the built in Email client through its paces and concluded that it didn’t provide the functionality that I required, I set about searching the net to test other applications against my requirements - including the new Nokia Email application.
The general conclusion was that the other Email applications didn’t offer anything more against my requirements than the built in client and tended to be more buggy. Then I stumbled across ProfiMail which provides all the functionality that I need and a lot more besides.
ProfiMail provides desktop type functionality and is very quick and stable.
ProfiMail is very easy to install, configure and use, with lots of built in shortcuts for most functions.
Simple touches make all the difference - like where you install ProfiMail is where your Emails get stored as well, so install the application to your Memory card and that is where your emails will be stored, so you don’t have to worry about filling you phone memory up, etc.
When viewing large HTML emails, a nice touch is that there are 2 thin progress bars at the bottom of the screen that change from Red to Green - one tracks the progress of currently downloading items within the HTML email and the other tracks the overall progress of the entire HTML email.
You can switch the Message preview on and off to view several lines of text from each email and can even scroll through the entire email in preview mode from the folder view by using left or right on the D Pad.
When you start typing in the TO/CC: fields of a new Email, ProfiMail will automatically search the phone contacts for a match as you type.
Email addresses can be automatically added to Contacts from Emails.
You can hide/display detailed data of the Email Header.
As soon as you open a new email, it is automatically saved in a temporary Drafts folder, so if you are Composing an email on the fly you can just close the phone/lock the keypad and be confident that you can go back to your partially composed email later with no loss of data.
ProfiMail has a built in file manager which makes it easy to manage file attachments and contains powerfull features such as allowing hidden files etc to be viewed.
When viewing attachments, you have the option to open them with built-in ProfiMail viewers or “Open By System” i.e. through Quickoffice, or similar. Viewing Word Documents, for example, is almost instant with ProfiMail. Okay, the formatting is not quite as nice as Quickoffice but sometimes you do just want to skim read the text.
The attachment Image Viewer is fast and allows various zooming options, including 'Original size' with full shortcuts for each option.
You can configure multiple Email signatures and set a default signature, so you could have one signature for work related emails and one for personal emails for example.
Rules is a very powerful feature which allows you to set up, just as it says, rules for: deleting incoming emails, or get the header only, or set the priority flag, or hide the message, or move to a specific folder, or download a specific size of message, or even play an alert based on rule logic!
Search allows you to search for specific emails by specifying Subject, Message, Sender or Recipient data, just like you can do with Outlook or Mac Mail.
A very useful feature, especially if you are using a non-qwerty keyboard phone, is the ability to export a file of all your email account settings so that if you want to configure the same settings on another phone or are planning to format/reset your phone then you can simply import your settings from the exported file.
ProfiMail contains a very fast Browser, so when you receive an email that contains a link you have the options of opening it with the ProfiMail Browser or using the S60 Browser. The former gets the data very fast but the layout is better preserved with the S60 Browser.
Profimail allows you to specify Primary and Secondary Access Points for going online - something which I found very useful when Nokia did away with Access Point Groups. It doesn’t seem to recognize FP2 'Destinations' though (on my N96), so instead of using just “Internet”, which contains my T-Mobile Internet Access Point and my home Wifi Access point, I enter them separately as Primary and Secondary Access Points.
ProfiMail Version 2.93 Beta 1 also now supports IMAP IDLE, which further enhances the appeal of IMAP and ProfiMail by giving instant notification of new email and also should help conserve battery power.
ProfiMail is generally stable and lightening fast, however the Beta versions can be a little buggy, so for the less adventurous stick to the officially released version which, at the time of writing, is v2.91
I have found the customer service to be outstanding, when I had button mapping problems with my Nokia N96, it was fixed within a matterof hours.
Overall ProfiMail is a stunning product with desktop functionality - the best 3rd party application that I use by a very wide margin.
The user interface looks a bit dated and it does not follow the theme or style of the other applications on the phone.
Beta versions can be a bit buggy. [of course! - Ed]
An IMAP account is probably essential to realize the full benefit and utilize all the powerful functionality.