E-mail sucks. It just does.
We spend about 30 hours a week on e-mail at work. Our inboxes are constantly filling up, and it’s impossible to get any productive work done while keeping up with the steady stream of requests, notifications, and sales alerts.
Ohhhhh, those sales alerts.
One major problem with e-mail is the lack of useful apps to help manage them. I stopped using the native Mail app on the iPhone years ago, and recently found myself frustrated with the Gmail app for iOS.
I wanted canned responses, all my accounts in a single window (and to quickly go to an account), and to customize my swipe actions.
And I want the same app on my phone, computer, and Apple Watch.
You can customize everything – signatures, swipe actions, your sidebar, the types of e-mails you want to be notified about…the works. Customizing my swipe actions (unread, archive, delete, flag) has kept my inbox limited to ‘must respond’ e-mails. Which brings us to…
I’m still waiting for the day that Canned Responses is a native feature in all e-mail clients.
But while I wait, I’ll use quick replies inside Spark’s app. They do the trick for the frequent “thank you!”, “not interested”, and “can we connect this or next week?” Since there’s no way to customize these responses after you hit the button, you have to be careful about using them. That said, custom swipe actions and quick replies help me keep my inbox under control when I’m in the subway, in an elevator, or zoning out to the television.
Bonus – quick replies are also available on the Apple Watch app.
A SMARTER INBOX
The “smart” in Spark really is smart. The search functionality is better than Gmail (app or browser) or Exchange. You can set notifications to only be alerted to important e-mails. And the unified ‘Smart Inbox’ layout lets me see all my e-mails, as it came in. The app is as fast as the native Mail app and faster than Gmail, and rarely crashes. Smart, indeed.
Spark can import any e-mail provider (Gmail, Exchange, and even Yahoo) and integrates 3rd party apps (Google Apps, Dropbox, Instapaper, Evernote). App integration was one of the issues I had about switching over from the Gmail app, but Spark handles it beautifully. No muss, no fuss.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
No e-mail client is perfect. I don’t like how accepting a meeting invite inside Spark creates a duplicate entry in my Calendar app, or that you can’t dial a phone number from the calendar inside of Spark (or in the Google Calendar app, for that matter). A full canned response tool would be great. And this is just a personal preference, but I wish the app had a lighter design. Maybe a future customization?
On the whole, switching over to Spark has made my e-mail life so much easier. If you’re looking for a true tool that will make your life better, check it out.
Spark is for iOS only right now – apologies if you’re an Android user!
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What do you use for e-mail on your phone (and for that matter, what phone do you have?) Comment below and let me know!