Thursday, December 09, 2004

Can Thunderbird fly?

Having been an Outlook Express (OE) user for years, I'm tempted to look into alternatives. Although I have big brother Outlook installed on my PC, I've not made the switch because I rather have something simple, lightweight, and snappy to use. (I only use Outlook for synchronizing certain info stored on my PDA.)

Hence, I decided to take a look at Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 e-mail client today. Installation was a breeze. I did an import of my OE inbox (though only partially) and it worked as it should. One of the things I long for in OE is the 3-column layout as found in Outlook 2003. Thunderbird offers such a layout but it's not exactly the same. Outlook 2003 offers a better view of the message list pane in 3-column mode.

Images in some HTML messages are not loaded. This is a good privacy measure and there's an option to turn on the images. Thunderbird is a tad bit slower at loading individual messages compared to OE. This is probably due to Thunderbird having to do more work in the background to provide a more secure environment. Thunderbird features an adaptive junk mail filter which I haven't had the chance to thoroughly test out yet. Application loading is also slower than OE. There's also color-coding of message headers for different message categories (like in Outlook). Oh yes, Thunderbird offers Print Preview which OE doesn't. There's also an integrated RSS reader and newsgroup reader -- pretty cool.

Well, my impressions are good for a version 1 product. Though it didn't really fly, it definitely felt more secure. Best of all, it's free! On whether I'm making a switch from OE, I think I'll have to play with Thunderbird a little more. We'll see. ;-)

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