Review: VMware Horizon Mail

As I mentioned last week, VMware released an officially supported mail client (for Zimbra). About two years ago VMware released a fling called Zimbra for Android. This application was well received, but not well maintained throughout its life. It appears enough demand was generated for VMware to create and release Horizon Mail. I have been using the application for work since last week and have put together a brief review of the pros and cons from my perspective.

Pros

  • The application is easy to initially configure – email, password, and server if not automatically detected, does not get much easier!
  • Lots of customizable options – things you would not expect in the first release of a product
    • Set LED color per notification type (e.g. email, calendar, etc)
    • Confirm on delete can be disabled
  • Has an appointment dialer built-in

Cons

  • Too many “options” – under mail if you select menu you have Settings, Options, and Advanced – this needs to be consolidated
  • Selecting top-level conversation view message expands chain, but will not open latest email
  • Viewing a message in conversation view when a new email comes in takes you out of message
  • If you delete conversation emails from inbox and receive a new email, deleted conversation emails come back and must be deleted again
  • Email section seems slugish (e.g. pull down to refresh) and requires loading when switching from other views (e.g. calendar)
  • No consistency between views (e.g. from email can easily switch to calendar, but from calendar cannot easily switch back to email)
  • Pinch-to-zoom is slow and does not work well
  • Non-intuitive icons (e.g. reply/reply all/forward all being one button)
  • Icons are lacking consistency and character (e.g. create new email button)
  • It’s called “VMware Horizon Mail”…why?

Summary

For what looks like a complete rewrite the application appears solid! I like all of the options exposed to the end user to customize the experience. I also enjoy how all the features you expect in a mail application are present: mail, calendar, tasks, etc. The interface is not as polished as I would like, but I expect this to improve as the product matures. One complaint I have heard is about the $10 price tag. For me this seems reasonable. For me, the default mail and calendar applications in Android leave a lot to be desired (though they are getting much better). The best option on the market today in my opinion is the Touchdown mail application was sells for $19.99. For half price I get all the functionality I need without the feature creep issue with Touchdown. Overall, I think it is worth taking a look at this application and based on the Play Store showing over 50,000 downloads already and rating around 4.5 out of 5.0 others seem to agree.

© 2013, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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