I use Gmail. I love the online access, it’s speed, ease of use, oh what the heck- go read my post on the subject. However, lots of people just aren’t ready to take the plunge to an all-web app yet.
The two biggest desktop email applications right now are Microsoft Outlook, a favorite of business, and the open-source Mozilla Thunderbird. And it can be quite a conundrum to pick between the two! To help expel the confusion, misconception and fear about these apps, and help you make a good choice, it’s time for…
E-mail App Showdown!
Today, we’re throwing two desktop email clients into the ring to duke it out to the death. There will be five rounds of bloodthirsty mayhem, so get comfortable as we enter the first round of our fight:
If your company isn’t supplying you with a client, you’ll always need to factor in affordability. Outlook costs $109.95 standalone, or it can be purchased as a part of Microsoft Office, $499 for the 2007 Edition on Windows.
Thunderbird, on the other hand, is open-souce. Therefore, it’s free. I don’t think there’s any way to beat that price. Plus, it would take a Tesla Roadster to make Outlook look cheap. Therefore, for this round, I’m giving Outlook a score of 2 out of 5, and Thunderbird a 5.
TOTALS: Thunderbird: 5 | Outlook: 2
It’s time for round two…
Outlook has a built-in calendar application, as well as a to-do list, making it the only application you’ll ever need for organization in most cases. Thunderbird doesn’t include anything but email out of the box, but it can be integrated with Mozilla’s Lightning add-on. However, the fact that Thunderbird supports extensions like Lightning or those from third parties makes its’ feature repertoire ostensibly unlimited
Therefore, I’m making this round a tie, giving both apps a 4.
TOTALS: Thunderbird: 9 | Outlook: 6
You want your email fast! That’s why we should sprint into our third round…
This is obviously open to interpretation, and speed really depends on the system you’re using these apps on, what you’re using them with, and how you’re using them. However, in all of my experience with these programs and the vast majority of benchmarks around the web, you’ll see that Outlook tends to be a bit sluggish compared to Thunderbird. I’m giving Outlook a 3, and Thunderbird a 4.
TOTALS: Thunderbird: 13 | Outlook: 9
Thunderbird’s pulling ahead, beating Outlook by 4 points! Can Redmond’s gold envelope catch up? It’s time for our penultimate round…
A Tweet I received today from jayhmt pretty much sums up this round:
a) Thunderbird not ripe for virus exploits/attacks b) see: a
This is pretty much true! Because Outlook has a lot more users in the business environment and with not-so-tech-savvy folks who just use what was at the top of their Start menu when they got their computer, most of the email app vulnerabilities will be found in Outlook!Also, Thunderbird is open-source, which usually gives it a big advantage in developing and releasing patches. Microsoft tends to have a cycle of releasing patches, which can also attribute to their programs’ security flaws. In this round, I’m giving Outlook a 3, and Thunderbird another 4.
TOTALS: Thunderbird: 17 | Outlook: 12
Thunderbird’s building up distance with 5 points on Outlook! It looks grim for Microsoft’s champ- can it pull ahead in our fifth, and final round…
Both clients, in my opinion, have a fairly good-looking and easy to use interface. However, Thunderbird’s is a bit simpler and streamlined compared to all of the flashy effects, colors and “start pages” that Outlook has. I find the Thunderbird interface a bit easier and efficient to work. Mozilla’s 3rd party extension support gives Thunderbird theming capabilities, but the app lacks a bit of the flexibility that Outlook has in viewing options (3 vertical columns, horizontal split, etc).
In the final round, I’m giving both of these applications a 4, leaving the final totals to be:
FINAL TOTALS: Thunderbird: 21 | Outlook: 16
Looks like Thunderbird has emerged victorious in our epic battle, leaving Outlook to head back to Washington empty-handed… If you liked this post, or you want to tell me what a Microsoft hater I am, be sure to comment (click that handy button down there), and subscribe to my RSS feed.