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Five top alternatives to Microsoft Outlook

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Takeaway: If you’re looking for an email client to replace Outlook, you’re in

luck: Many solid alternatives are available. Jack Wallen lists five top contenders.

Outlook is, hands-down, the most popular email client among the business set.

And with good reason. It connects to Exchange, which allows businesses to

determine many


aspects of how and what their users can manage, use, and control. It also allows

the sharing of things like calendars and contacts. But not all businesses

(especially small

businesses) employ Exchange. For them, there are plenty of alternatives to

Outlook. Even businesses that do have Exchange may use an alternative to connect

to a groupware

server. Let’s take a look at a few of these alternatives and see what they have

to offer.

1: Thunderbird

Thunderbird is one of the best of the alternative email clients. It benefits

from the strength of Firefox, provides plenty of add-ons, includes a great

migration assistant,

offers a powerful address book, makes use of an attachment reminder, and has

plenty of built in security features. Thunderbird is also one of the more stable

email clients

available, and it’s cross platform. With its user-friendly tabbed interface,

Thunderbird makes working within the realm of digital communications simple.

Plus, it is possible to

connect Thunderbird to Exchange.

2: Zimbra Desktop

Zimbra Desktop is a unique take on the desktop email client. Although you won’t

be connecting Zimbra to an Exchange server with ease (there are reports that it

is possible,

though), you can connect Zimbra to a host of other services. One feature that

sets Zimbra apart is its ability to connect to social networking sites, such as

Facebook and

Twitter. Zimbra can connect to Mail, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and a number of

other third-party email hosts. The interface takes getting used to, but once you

“get” Zimbra,

you’ll find it quite powerful and useful.

3: Claws Mail

Claws Mail is simply one of the fastest, most configurable email clients

available. Now you won’t be connecting Claws Mail to an NTLM-based Exchange

server any time soon (or

maybe ever). But if you don’t need Exchange support and you’re looking for an

alternative email client that can do just about anything else, Claws might be

one of your best

solutions. With a good number of plug-ins, an incredible configuration tool, one

of the fastest start times of any email client, multitple MH folder support, Mbox

import/export, external editor, built-in GnuPG support, and support for SSL over

POP3, SMTP, IMAP4rev1, and NNTP protocols, Claws Mail makes any power user

happy. But

it’s not just for power users. With its easy-to-use interface, it can also

satisfy the new user.

4: eM Client

eM Client is fully optimized to run on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. It can

connect to third-party POP/IMAP servers like Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail and

import from

other email clients, and it offers a full-featured calendar that can even sync

your Gmail calendar or your mobile device. Messages can be tagged, searched, and

easily filtered

with an interface that’s easy to navigate. eM Client also contains a powerful

tool that lets you share contacts with other users, and it can Sync your Google

contacts. You

won’t be connecting eM Client to Exchange, but you will enjoy a feature-rich,

easy- to-use email client.

5: Pegasus Mail

Being one of the oldest email clients on the block has its advantages. Pegasus

Mail offers an incredibly rich community and a stability not found in other

clients. And unlike

some other email clients, Pegasus Email has a rigid adherence to standards. One

of the most impressive claims from Pegasus Mail is that it will protect you from

even the worst

HTML-borne viruses and exploits. That is a bold claim, but one it can back up.

Pegasus Mail can’t connect to Exchange. But if you don’t use Exchange and you

want an email

client that will help prevent infection from HTML-mail sources, Pegasus Mail

might well be the solution.

Your picks

If you’re exploring Outlook alternatives, give the above clients a try. Although

not every client will connect with Exchange, they make up for it in flexibility,

reliability, and


What Outlook replacements have you used? Are there any you would definitely add

to (or exclude from) this list?