The Google Inbox shut down date is looming large. “End of March 2019” is the quoted date. This is sad for me, as I find Google Inbox to be a very good email client, and I’ve yet to find anything that is as good or better. I think I’ve gotten close though, so let’s take that journey.
What I really loved about Inbox is:
- Intelligent (and self-created) rollups
- Really nice UI
Since forcing myself off Inbox, I’ve gotten over most of this. Pinning is just a way to get something back to the inbox, and most clients have a way to handle that. Reminders I’ve replaced with sending things to my Things inbox and using Notion’s web clipper. My inbox isn’t a great place for saving little todo’s and links anyway. Everybody has snoozing these days. So all I’ll really miss is the rollups stuff and the lovely UI.
Knowing the shutdown was coming, I switched to using straight up Gmail instead. Inbox was always just an alternate interface for Gmail anyway. I like my very-often-used web apps in native app wrappers, so I was using Shift for that. I had moved to Shift from Mailplane, as at some point Inbox stopped working in Mailplane and that was a deal breaker for me. I think it’s fixed now, though.
Shift is largely fine, but there are some bugs I find fairly obnoxious:
- It logs me out of my Google accounts a lot.
- It doesn’t support 1Password natively so logging in is an awkward copy-paste workflow I’d rather do without.
- It sends me new email alerts, sometimes, for emails that are filtered out of landing in the inbox.
- It asks me demographic questions in a modal every time I open it.
- It won’t let me rename my main account. Everytime I rename it, it reverts to an incorrect name.
Now that I write all that out, eeeesh, I’m glad I’ve found a new client I like for now. What Shift does have is Grammarly support, which is a pretty wonderful thing to support. Grammarly is an amazing browser plugin for spelling and grammar and getting close to a dealbreaker feature.
A lot of my Inbox-loving friends have found solace in Spark. One friend told me that the rather unusual strong UI separation between read and unread emails taught them to be much more ruthless about handling their email. Nice! I love hearing stuff like that. Spark didn’t do it for me though. It’s a nice UI, but it’s more Mail.app-y than Inbox-y and I just couldn’t get into it. I think what people are loving the most is that it’s the closest winner to having smart rollups.
The email client Newton has been on my radar for quite a while, but I had given up on it as the news was it was shutting down last year. I have no idea what changed, but it’s back from the dead. I’m glad it is, because it’s hitting all the right notes for me. Newton has some newsletter rolly-uppy stuff, but even that I’m kinda over, as I’ve been updating my newsletters to send into Feedbin.
What I like about Newton is largely that is has an Inbox-y and very nice UI on both desktop and mobile. Dare I say nicer than Inbox. It’s just simple and clean, has all the features I like and very little I don’t like.
Like my friend who found productivity in Spark, I’m finding Newton is making me much faster and more ruthless about dealing with my email. That’s fascinating to me, as I assumed it was more practice and my personality that made me handle email the way I do, but Newton is proving to me that a good client can go a long way. I’d love to see Newton get Grammarly in there somehow though!