Mailbox for Android review: Clutter-free mobile email

Email threads look similar to message threads in other email apps, with each message clearly outlined. When you open an email conversation, only the first few sentences of all previous messages will display, but you'll see the full message of the most recent email in a thread. To expand previous emails, simply tap on the preview. Unfortunately, there is no way to expand all emails in the thread at one time.

Swipe your mail away

Mailbox relies heavily on swipe gestures to organize your email. For each message, you can swipe it into one of five "zones" of categorization. You move emails individually to these zones depending on how you swipe to complete an action.

Swipe an email quickly to the right to move it to the archive zone. If you slowly swipe the email all the way from the left to right edge, you'll delete the email instead. Swipe a message swiftly to the left and you'll move it to the "snoozing" zone. The Long swipe it in the same direction and a dialog box of Mailbox's Lists ("To Buy," "To Read," etc.) will pop up so you can further categorize your messages.

You can also use swipe gestures when you're in your archived folder. Swipe an archived message to the right to trash it. Swiping it to the left moves it back to the inbox.

mailbox-android-message-actions.jpg
You can swipe left or right on each email to archive and delete it, hide it for a while, or add it to a list. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

To archive your entire inbox in one swoop, scroll to the bottom of the app and from the bottom-left corner, swipe to the right. To "snooze" your entire inbox and deal with these messages later en masse, swipe to the left. Unfortunately, you can't select multiple messages at one time in your inbox. You file emails away either individually or all of them in your inbox.

One of the neat things about Mailbox is that you can individually order the messages in your inbox in any way you want. Just long press a message and drag it up or down your inbox; it doesn't matter what the date is. This is great for preventing old messages that you want to keep in mind from getting buried under newer emails.

Making mobile email more fluid

Both of us were such fans of Mailbox's "later" or "snooze" feature, that it just had to get its own section. As mentioned, you can do away with emails by sending it into the "snooze" zone. This means that you can get rid of emails in your inbox, but set them to reappear at another, more preferable time.

Once you swipe a message to snooze, you get to choose from eight different options when you want to revisit the email; later today, this evening, tomorrow, this weekend, next week, in a month, someday, or another specific date. These terms can be tweaked by you, so you can set exactly what it means to Mailbox when you want to deal with an email "this evening" or "someday."

We're both very diligent with our inboxes, so this is a tremendously useful feature. It really helps cut down on clutter, without losing valuable messages.

Syncing it all up

It's important to note that actions done in Mailbox are synced up with your Gmail or iCloud account across all platforms. That means when you trash something in Mailbox, you won't have to trash it again if you're in another email client, Gmail's own app, or on your browser. Furthermore, once you sign up with Mailbox, the "To Buy," "To Read," and any other labels you make in the app appear in your Gmail as well.

Conclusion

Coming from Gmail's tabbed inbox, which organizes emails into individual categories, Mailbox's single inbox can feel overwhelming. Mailbox also feels very minimalistic, since there are no labels or folders, both features that we missed.

However, aside from those few criticisms (and the fact that it supports only Gmail and Apple Mail accounts...for now), the app is excellent. Polished, clean, and easy to use, Mailbox is worth the download, especially if you want get a handle on an unwieldy inbox.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Editors' Top PicksSee All

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Where to Buy

    Mailbox (Android)

    Part Number: com.mailboxapp
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Category News readers and aggregators