You've got mail

, posted: 25-Jun-2012 12:08

Due to the large volume of automated emails I get from the production servers I maintain, I don’t lean heavily on my mobile phone for accessing email, as the email client on my work computer is configured to make these much easier to deal with. However, I still find mobile email access a handy feature to have, especially for those times I’ve already tamed the overnight avalanche of work related emails, and therefore have a much more manageable inbox.

The HTC One X comes with two email apps; one that is part of the HTC Sense suite of applications, which offers access to most email services, and the official Gmail client. By default, the phone is geared towards using the HTC mail app, but as is usually the case with Android, this can easily be changed. Of course, if you don’t use Gmail for your email, the Gmail client isn’t going to be of much use. As I use Gmail for my primary email needs, I’m able to pick the client that works best for me. Which as it turns out is a good thing.

More on that later.


The Gmail client is to the left, with the HTC mail client to the right 

Both clients allow you to configure multiple email accounts, providing you with the ability to easily switch between each account. They both offer a similar view of your inbox, presenting a list which allows for multiple emails to be selected, so actions such as deleting messages can be performed on multiple items. By default the HTC client inbox will only show messages from the last 3 days, but this option can be changed so you can see messages from today, the last 3, 7, 14 or 30 days, or all messages. In contrast, the Gmail client shows all messages.

Where the Gmail client has a slight edge is by having more action icons always visible on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. While the HTC mail client has icons for searching and composing new mail visible, the Gmail client also allows you to refresh from the toolbar. This is handy for me, as I don’t have my mail clients configured to automatically synchronize. Getting the same functionality from the HTC client involves first dropping down the menu, and selecting the option from there. For those of you who have your mail automatically synchronizing, this may be a non issue though.

As a counter to this advantage, the HTC inbox view allows you to show messages from all your configured email accounts in the same list, which is a feature that appears to be missing in the Gmail client.

Selecting an email in the list will open up the message body. With the HTC app I found this  to be a pretty unreliable action, with the message body often not successfully downloading. When this happens, I have to exit back to the inbox and select the message again before the message body will display. The Gmail app always operated as expected in this regard, with no issues with the message body being shown.

The default font size used when displaying messages in the HTC app is a little too large for my liking, but this can be configured to be smaller. One advantage the HTC message view does have over the Gmail client is that you can use a pinch to zoom gesture to enlarge the displayed text.


The Gmail message view, left, contrasted with the message view of the HTC mail app
 

A nice feature that the Gmail message view has is the ability to swipe left and right to switch between newer and older messages. In order to get the same functionality in the HTC message view, you need to access the menu and chose the previous or next option from there.

The Gmail compose message view is a little more minimalistic when compared to the HTC one, with only fields for the email message components shown, along with an unlabeled send button, with the rest of the functionality exposed under the menu button. In contrast, the HTC app has buttons for the common actions down the bottom. It also includes a People button next to the To field, to provide integration with your contacts. Both clients provide auto-completion on that field as you type.


The Gmail compose message view on the left, is a little minimalistic when compared to the HTC equivalent
 

Email integration is strong elsewhere throughout the phone, with access readily available from applications that allow you to share content. When sharing by email in this manner, you are able to choose whether you wish to send via the Gmail client or the HTC one.

In summary, the HTC One X comes with a couple of capable email clients bundled with it, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Because I could never get message body synchronization working correctly with my Gmail account using the HTC mail client, I find that one more cumbersome to use. As a result, the official Gmail app is currently my preferred choice on the HTC One X.


About the author

Hi I'm David, a self employed software developer on the wrong side of 40, residing in Auckland with my wife and two children. I am a passionate All Blacks and Blues fan, gadget junkie, mature aged gamer, and connoisseur of fine heavy metal (and music in general). I currently own an iPhone 4, but am very open to trying new technologies, and can't wait to see what the best of Android can bring to the smartphone table. I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest technological advances in general, and am encouraged to see that the smartphone market is no longer an iOneHorseRace. I’m very interested to see how the HTC One and Ice Cream Sandwich fares in this regard.

Other related posts:
HTC One X: Bring on the Games!
HTC One X Movie Editor
eReading on HTC One X






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