While the In-Browser email clients for most of the mail providers are feature rich, native clients have their own added benefits.
On Android or iOS, the selection has varieties. Google’s very own Gmail app, Bluemail, K-9 mail, Nine, Microsoft’s Outlook, ProtonMail, Zoho Mail, Yahoo Mail and the list continues to grow. On Windows, we have Official Microsoft Outlook app among eM Client, Thunderbird, Hiri, Inky, Mailspring, Spike which handles emails pretty well. Few of these are open source and free while others provide enterprise features on paid basis. On Linux Desktops, however, the choice boils down to a countable candidates only.
The idea of this list is to provide comprehensive guide to most of the email clients available to download for Linux distributions. I am mostly listing down the most notable features that distinguishes them, apart from the regular features that almost all the clients support or must support to be termed an email client like IMAP, SMTP, and SSL/TLS protocol.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the best email clients available for Linux desktops. I have used these apps on my Thinkpad running Arch Linux with KDE Plasma 5.
When it comes to email clients on Desktop, Thunderbird remains choice for many users, be it Windows or Linux. Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform e-mail, news and instant messaging client. The project strategy is modeled after Mozilla Firefox. The top loved features of Thunderbird are,
This is one of the most acclaimed feature that I like about Thunderbird, which most others in this list do not have. Tabbed email lets you open email in separate tabs so that you can continue reading another email while reply to an important email waiting for you.
Just like its sister, Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird has got some of the coolest add-ons. Provider for Google Calendar is one useful addon that I use.
Privacy and Phishing Protection
From blocking unwanted images in emails to providing online protection against most of the phishing emails, Thunderbird does it all pretty well.
Perfect integration with most of the Desktop environments
Although many people will prefer Evolution or Kmail for better integration with Gnome and KDE desktops, respectively, Thunderbird’s look and feel integrates well with most of these desktop environments.*
This is one of my favorite in this list. It has very slick and aesthetic UI design. The free version will include everything that a regular desktop user would expect. Some of the noteworthy features are,
A variety of themes to chose from
The coolest feature that other clients in the list lack (almost) is the ability to morph. It bends well with the current desktop environment as well as provides some of the good looking themes to chose from. Apart from the default themes provided within the app, the community provided themes add salt and spices.
Undo Send, Tracking and Read Receipts
Those features are not just limited to WhatsApp and Instagram (Snapchat? they couldn’t afford servers may be). Whenever you are sending a mail, simply click the Read Receipts icon at the bottom to enable tracking if the mail was opened. While undo send feature seems quite buggy at the moment, it does a great job.
Translation, Localization and Spell Check
I have been using Thunderbird for some times and my observation was that Spell check works decently but translation won’t. Mailspring addresses these issues in innovative ways. It provides translation for Spanish, Russian, simplified Chinese, French, and German right inside the draft. It provides localization support for German, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese. While that list might not sound exhaustive but its not complete.
Quick reply templates, Contact Profiles and more
These are some of the Pro features available with a paid subscription of Mailspring. Templates are designed for enterprise users to address issue of retyping the same email over and over. Contact profiles provide businesses to help show their social media profiles beside their regular emails. Link tracking, Mailbox insight helps track your email activity.
Oh man! I was not going to place KMail after Evolution, being a KDE user, I will surely appraise what my DE does better. And of course, KMail is a perfect integration with KDE along with its Kontact (KAddressBook) app, which make perfect duo for email communication.
KMail provides very tight integration with KDE and other Kapps. Meeting invitations are automatically detected by integration with KOrganizer. KAddressBook provides auto completion of addresses and syncing.
Templates, Offline support and Filtering
Just like Mailspring’s Pro feature templates, KMail provides this for no cost, allowing you to automate part of your email writing. KMail will also sync your email locally (caching) when you are offline. It also provides sorting, filtering of emails by a multitude conditions such as warning about forgotten attachments, inline attachment compression or resizing of attached images.
Mailing List management and Spam protection
Mailman mailing lists can be auto-detected and common mailing list management operations are directly available from within KMail. For some uncommon email providers, which do not have built in spam detectors, KMail can incorporate SpamAssassin or Bogofilter for spam checking.
Being the standard mail client for GNOME environment, Evolution can manage email, calendars, contacts, tasks and notes. I haven’t had much time using Evolution but I agree, it is beautifully crafted to integrate well with GNOME and work alongside other apps.
Plugins for tons of services
It includes support for IMAP, Microsoft Exchange Server, Novell GroupWise, Kolab, LDAP, WebDAV, CalDAV, and many other services and protocols. Few of these are not actively maintained (like Novell Groupwise).
Filter on request, Better Searching, Junk control
Evolution can help organize your mail by filtering them just when it arrives. Filters allow you to bundle, sort and distribute mail into various folders or otherwise process mail.
Offline IMAP, RSS and EWS plugin
The alternative IMAP sync method will store all messages on hard drive, so they can be accessed later while not connected to a network. The RSS plugin lets you read RSS/RDF/ATOM feeds easily. With the EWS plugin, you can access MS Exchange integration through Exchange Web Services.
That’s my favorite on Android and have been using it for the last 3 years and just love it. Recently, Blix announced their official clients for all the major Linux distribution. Within a small time frame, BlueMail seems more competitive on Linux desktops than any of the others listed here.
Focus only on the important people
That little blue toggle on the right top side of Message List helps in focusing on people that are important than marketing emails.
Unified Inbox with multiple accounts
Who doesn’t like seeing all their emails at one place, while other email clients also offer to add multiple accounts but BlueMail makes it even easier to manage emails by clubbing together all the inbox in a single inbox.
Integrated Calendar and Schedule
With integrated calendar feature, you can easily set reminder and schedule your emails to be handled later.
Easy configuration and a Dark theme
Last time I added a mail.com account and a yandex account, it took me less than a minute to complete the whole setup. While many other clients don’t work with less known email providers (like mail.com), BlueMail handles it like it does with Gmail and Outlook. Dark theme adds extra salt to its UI.
The most lightweight GUI email client I tested thus far. Its so lightweight that it takes only seconds to launch and sync with servers. While it appears to be very basic provided how minimalist the UI is, only after using it you will realize its potential.
Simple, Lightweight but Featureful
It’s based on GTK 2 and has very minimalist UI. For those looking for an email client with less memory footprint, Sylpheed is for you. Every operation is implemented in C so there is no chance of sluggishness.
Keyboard oriented operations
For those nerds, always typing, Sylpheed makes it easy to manage your emails. You can read emails efficiently just by navigating through key presses.
Mutt is another beautifully crafted command line email client. I will update on this once I finish setting it up on my laptop.
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