Eudora 7 review: Eudora 7

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With its unobtrusive onscreen ads, you might be tempted to use the free Sponsored Mode of Eudora 7, but then you'd miss the upgrade-worthy, Ultra-Fast Indexed Search. Powered by zippy X1 search technology that continuously updates its e-mail index, Indexed Search lets you scour any combination of mailboxes for a word or a phrase, using 20 different criteria such as the header, date, or the From line. You can add up to five search levels to home in on a particular message, then sort, reply, delete, and so on within the Results pane. This search tool produces results within seconds and can be an enormous time-saver. By contrast, Outlook 2003 offers a far less extensive, and therefore frustrating, search tool.

You can set Eudora 7's BossWatch feature to warn you before you send a message to selected names in your address book.

Eudora 7's new BossWatch feature can help you keep track of e-mail from chosen contacts, reminding you to reply tactfully, say, if your manager's name is buried at the bottom of a long CC: list. Eudora can warn you with a dialog box or a spoken message, using the Microsoft Text-to-Speech engine, before you send e-mail to a manager. BossWatch can also flag when you're about to send a message to specific domains, helpful if you want to keep sensitive messages within your company. This kind of screening may be useful in a large corporate environment with huge volumes of e-mail, although such big companies may prefer Outlook for its calendar integration. But we doubt that BossWatch would be crucial for home users who contact far fewer people via e-mail and can probably avoid reaching unintended recipients on their own.

Users who work in the corporate world, in business, or in academia and who receive e-mail via large networks can enjoy IMAP improvements that let users hide deleted messages in a mailbox and expand their ability to use Eudora offline. And a new S/MIME plug-in available from Eudora's Web site expands the ability to encrypt mail and use and verify digital signatures.

Paid users of Qualcomm Eudora 7 have a range of support options. Downloadable PDF documentation includes a 500+ page user guide, a basic quick-start guide with handy shortcut keys, and a new features guide. Qualcomm also offers a range of tutorials, a knowledge base, and user forums on its Web site. If these extensive resources don't answer your questions, telephone support is available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT on weekdays. Our support call went straight to voicemail. However, within 20 minutes, we did receive a helpful and quick callback. For the first year, paid users receive six free calls, which cost $35 each thereafter. E-mail support is a good option; Eudora replied to our text question within hours with a follow-up question, although it took more than a day to completely resolve the question.

Overall, we recommend Eudora 7 if you're looking for a desktop e-mail program with a friendly interface and powerful features such as a thorough search tool. Corporate users may prefer a one-stop organizing tool such as Microsoft Outlook, but Eudora 7 is a robust tool for a small or home office.

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