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5 great Android app alternatives to Gmail

Derek Walter | March 4, 2016
Gmail is great, but there are several other solid alternatives for consolidating all your email accounts into one app.

Gmail is the lifeblood that drives the Android experience. All the data that flows through your inbox powers Google Now recommendations, fills up your calendar, and even tells Google Play what apps you you’re probably into.

But there’s nothing to say you’re stuck with the stock Gmail app. There are plenty of other good email apps for Android, many of which will also let you stay connected to your Microsoft Exchange account, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail, or other providers.

Each of these apps offer their own strengths and unique take on how to manage email (although they really like the color blue for their icons). So if you want to play outside of the Gmail sandbox, we’ll help you figure out where to trod towards next.

Inbox by Gmail

Since you probably have at least one Gmail account (Android is essentially useless without one) it’s worth checking out Google’s smart rethink of how email works with Inbox.

We’ve covered a lot of the tricks behind Inbox before, but if you’ve yet to explore it prepare to adjust your workflow from your usual email tendencies, as Inbox is designed to be part of a larger get-things-done system. The app bundles togeether similar emails by category, which is especially helpful for travel, purchases, and updates you’d rather delete all at once.

Inbox uses Google’s machine learning capabilities in several ways. When you want to set a reminder, the app will autosuggest phone numbers and contact information. Inbox also offers three replies for many emails, so you can fire back a quick, “Thanks for the information!” or another canned response in order to save time.

I’ve personally found Inbox to be an essential part of my workflow, even though it doesn’t have quite the same number of features. If you value Gmail but want some help in managing the deluge of email, then give it a look.

Microsoft Outlook

While Outlook may sound like a relic from the days of Windows XP, you’ll find it to be a smart, effective email app. Microsoft got itself into the mobile game almost overnight when it bought the well-regarded app Accompli, did a little under-the-hood work, and relaunched it as Outlook.

While it of course handles Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.com, it also tackles Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, and IMAP. Like Inbox you can swipe messages to archive, schedule them for later, or delete them. 

One handy task it performs is keeping track of all your files that appeared in messages or have been used frequently in Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive (no Google Drive yet). Microsoft also embraced Material Design, and is constantly pushing updates and new features. If you have an Exchange account or want to consolidate all your email in one app, Outlook is a great option.

 

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