The Gmail app isn't just for Gmail anymore. After adding support for IMAP, POP, and Exchange, plus a ton of features to manage and control your email, we recommend Gmail to manage all your email accounts — even non-Google-y ones — on Android.
Platform: Android Price: Free Download Page
- Supports IMAP, POP, Exchange/Outlook, Yahoo Mail
- Unified inbox
- Archive, star, and label messages
- Block and unsubscribe from email addresses
- Mute threads
- Archive, delete, or reply to emails from notifications
- Sort messages by importance
- Set vacation responder
- Only allow attachment downloads over Wi-Fi to save mobile data
Where It Excels
In the early days of Android, Google had a separate email app for all of your non-Gmail email. Now, however, the Gmail app supports IMAP, POP, and Exchange, so you can add nearly every email account to your device. You can even view all of your inboxes in one place.
Of course, this is Google, so it also comes with a few handy bonus tools. You can block a sender if you're getting harassed by a person, or unsubscribe from a mailing list if you're getting harassed by a company. Both are available as regular menu buttons, so they're easier to access than creating a filter or digging for an unsubscribe button in tiny text at the bottom of the email.
You can also mute threads so you'll still receive emails, but you won't have to get notified every time. Gmail also allows you to reply or archive/delete (you can choose which in the app's settings) from the notification.
Where It Falls Short
Gmail became popular for a reason, but it's still not perfect. You still can't remind yourself about an email later like you can with Boomerang (which unfortunately doesn't support POP or IMAP). There's also a lack of integration with calendar or to-do list apps. While Gmail can do some intelligent things like add events to your calendar when you receive hotel or travel info, this seems limited to Gmail accounts.
Oh man. Is there ever competition in the area of email clients. How you deal with email is going to be largely up to preference. Boomerang is a top alternative choice, if you can live with just Gmail and Exchange accounts. It allows you to quickly set reminders to check an email again at a certain time or place. You can also customise swipe gestures to get through your inbox more quickly.
Boxer was a close contender for the top spot. It has a built-in to-do list, support for most common email types, plus more notification actions than Google has. Unfortunately, Exchange support isn't free, and you need to pay extra for some basic features like custom quick replies or signatures.
Mailbox from Dropbox is another attractive option. You can snooze emails until later, mute conversations, and a built-in to-do list. It can even learn over time what actions you take from certain senders, so you can always swipe to snooze an email from your boss, but archive one from a retailer. The one downside, yet again, is that it's only available for Gmail and iCloud accounts. POP, IMAP, and Exchange aren't available.
Microsoft has also entered the arena with Outlook. The app supports most Outlook, Exchange, Yahoo, iCloud, Gmail, and IMAP, plus you can integrate storage from OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box, which is pretty impressive. You can schedule emails to return later, and integrate with your calendar. Provided your calendar is Outlook, of course. If you're more partial to Microsoft's services, Outlook may be the best way to go.
One last option that technically doesn't belong here, is Inbox by Gmail. Inbox only supports Gmail accounts, so it's not really a proper email client at all. However, it encourages a totally different approach to email, turning your email into a to-do list, rather than a messaging system. It can also surface important info like tracking numbers, reservations, calendar appointments, and a ton of other useful features.
Lifehacker's App Directory recommends the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.