Boxer is the Feature-Complete Email Client

Email clients are chief among the list of essential apps. While the protocol itself is as old as time — at least in technology — it is also one of the most reliable and omniscient ways to communicate. Corporations use it to notify us of sales and updates, friends use it to send along the funny photo of the day.

Most email apps strive to be adequate. With the surplus of different providers and standards, it’s hard for any single app to excel unless it focuses on doing one thing right. Boxer tries to combine some of the best aspects of other apps, and then bring it to the various different email providers in one app.

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Beloved Features Under One Roof

Gestures, typography, a unified inbox — Boxer has all of the necessary features to be considered a modern iOS email client.

The gestures are fairly typical: a complete swipe to the left will delete a message, while a half-swipe archives it (under Gmail and other similar email systems).

Boxer's inbox is clean, and offers quick access to controls.

Boxer’s inbox is clean, and offers quick access to controls.

Swiping to the right reveals another trick of the app, though one that isn’t necessarily unique: Boxer adds an “actions” system atop of your normal mail experience.

Similar systems have been implemented in other apps before, so Boxer’s version isn’t so different. Its usefulness will largely depend on each user; for the most part, I don’t care for them in any way.

Where Boxer Stands Out

However, there are some differences with Boxer. For instance, you can “like” an email. Yes, the Facebook craze has officially spread to your inbox client. However, Boxer has absolutely no affiliation with Facebook — “liking” an email in Boxer does something totally different.

The "like" feature sounds gimmicky, but it can actually be useful in some instances.

The “like” feature sounds gimmicky, but it can actually be useful in some instances.

It sends an email to the original sender saying that you “liked” it. Ultimately, it’s just a glorified way to show that you have acknowledged an email.

It is therefore interesting in concept: it offers a quick way to do what many feel is necessary when they receive an email. Instead of typing out “Noted, thanks,” you just swipe to the right and tap the “like” icon.

Boxer offers integration with different services to enhance the app's capabilities.

Boxer offers integration with different services to enhance the app’s capabilities.

In practice, I don’t find myself using it. However, I do tend to be very particular about what type of email I respond to, so others may find the feature to be incredibly useful.

Other actions include: To-do, Quick, Label, Archive, Delete, Spam, Evernote, SaneBox, and Done. To-do allows you to assign emails to specific lists and tasks, which can make handling specific, topic-based email easier.

Actions can be a powerful addition to Boxer's feature set.

Actions can be a powerful addition to Boxer’s feature set.

Confession: personally, I don’t care for the actions in any email client whatsoever. There is a way to essentially disable the actions. Go to settings, swipe actions, and change the right short swipe to something other than “actions.” You can also change the right long swipe to something besides To-do. Don’t forget to tap save! If you like your email client to be vanilla, I suggest following those steps.

Features, Features, Features

Be aware that using Boxer on any IMAP-based email system will result in various labels being created. These occur due to the action system. They are mildly annoying, and may offend the OCD in you, but they are harmless and can be completely ignore.

The app can also be configured to require a passcode, which makes it far more secure than Apple’s stock email app. Both a simple, four-digit passcode and a longer, alphanumerical passcode can be required in order to gain access to your inbox. This can be set up in Boxer’s settings.

The compose screen is easy to use, and is incredibly stable.

The compose screen is easy to use, and is incredibly stable.

Long story short, Boxer has features. It has enough features to fill any comparison checkbox, and then some. It has so many features that the only way to really experience them all is to buy the app. Chances are, if you want it, Boxer has it. It might not be the best implementation, but it likely exists in some form.

Using Boxer

I use Boxer because it is the email client that meets my needs. It offers support for various platforms (Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook.com), and push notifications. That’s enough to get me in the door for any email client.

I can’t say that I love Boxer for its slick design, or for its ingenious and endearing touches. It isn’t that sort of app. It exists on my homescreen because it works, and works well. While I don’t use some of the power user features, Boxer is the first app that has kept me using it and not crawling back to Apple’s stock email app.

The compose screen also allows you to attach files from places other than photos.app.

The compose screen also allows you to attach files from places other than photos.app.

Reliable push notifications are fantastic. As someone who enjoys the official Gmail app on Android devices, instantly being told about a new email just can’t be beat. In fact, Boxer’s push notifications often beat the Android Gmail app.

The app refreshes quickly, even with multiple inboxes and a large database of email. I haven’t experienced a crash in Boxer yet, which is more than I can say for other email clients. The compose screen is great, and is actually one of the best designed parts of the app. More importantly, the compose view is stable — I have seen far to many email clients that fail this litmus test. With Boxer, I can type and edit text as I see fit.

Final Thoughts

I don’t love Boxer. I don’t really care for the “actions” in the app, and design of the app can be confusing and frustrating at times. Sometimes, those aspects of an app take a backseat. Boxer is utterly stable, and is able to check off every feature checkbox that I can think to throw at it. For the price, Boxer is the most complete and reliable email client in the App Store. If you have high expectations for an email client that other apps haven’t quite met, give Boxer a shot.


Summary

Boxer is an email client for Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, and various other systems that support standards-based email. It offers almost any feature you could ask for, and is stable, but is lacking in the design department.

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