Digital Home Leopard coverage: Mail

Don Reisinger breaks Mail down and tells you whether or not it's worth a Leopard purchase.

Mail has always been one of my least favorite applications on Mac OS X. Generally speaking, it has always been underpowered and lacking in some of the functionality that I have come to expect from an Apple product.

But with the release of Leopard, Mail is finally a useful and I can now justify using it as my main mail application.

The most obvious addition to Mail is Apple's decision to make the RSS reader a highlight of the new version. And while I use both Bloglines and Google Reader, I found that this RSS reader is quite useful and handy to consult when I don't want to log onto the others. In fact, I think I'll be using the Mail reader at home and the alternatives when I'm using a different computer -- it's just that good.

The first time you start up Mail, a new database upgrade will run for about five minutes (depending on the amount of mail you have). And along with the feature upgrades added to Mail, this update also makes it a much quicker application. In fact, it's much faster than my previous version of Mail, and my overall experience was greatly improved.

One of my favorite new features on Mail is the To-Do option. As someone who needs to remember far too many things, I like having the ability to jot down a few notes that are left in my e-mail program. Not only does it make my life just a little easier, it's quite easy to use and flexible to boot. Even better, the To-Do function allows you to take a section of an e-mail and use that as your To-Do notice. It may seem like such a simple thing, but once you use it for a little while, you quickly realize just how helpful it can be. Believe it or not, I've created over fifty "To-Dos" already just by referencing some part of the e-mail text.

Besides that, Mail also now offers a Notes function that, so far, has proven to be a bit extraneous. I've always felt that a note and to-do were quite similar, and although Notes will show up in your Inbox, I simply don't see too much need for them. Simply put, it's a nice addition, but something I probably won't use.

Other than that, most of the changes to Mail were behind the scenes. With greater usability and a much faster experience, Mail on Leopard is a worthy upgrade to a program that I never thought was that great. That said, there is still work to be done, and hopefully it'll continue to improve going forward.

Overall Mail grade: 8/10

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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