m•Box Mail in Review: Calling all Hotmail users!

I know not everyone uses Hotmail, but one of the complaints early on by iPhone users was that the native Mail app didn’t support Hotmail of the box (unlike Yahoo and Gmail). Well, you can’t blame the iPhone since Hotmail Live does not support the standard IMAP, POP3, or Exchange protocols. You can use IzyMail as a webmail gateway, thereby giving you POP/IMAP settings to enter into the native mail app to retrieve your mail. The downfall here is that your emails pass through a third party server and not to mention a monthly fee for the service. To get around this dilemma, I dug out my rarely used gmail account, forwarded my Hotmail here, just so I could access my Hotmail account without relying on Safari. The problem with this is that now I have to manage two inboxes! Not the most efficient workaround in the world. Thats why when i came across mBox Mail, I was pretty excited. Let’s see if its up to the task.

Login Screen

When you first load up m•Box Mail, you will need to enter your Hotmail address and password. Syncing for the first time can take up to a few minutes, especially if your inbox is full of porn (oh yeah we know). My first sync did take almost 5 minutes, but that’s because I have plenty of folders where years of emails are saved (honestly!)

Main Screen showing Folders

Main Screen showing Folders

Once the sync is complete, you will see the main screen with all the folders found in your actual account. So if you have divided your emails into folders by whatever category you choose, this too will will be at your finger tips. The default number of emails downloaded is set at 25. This means thats even if your inbox has hundreds of emails, only the most recent 25 will be downloaded. In the iPhone—>Settings—>mBox area, you can set this from 25, 50, 75, 100 to 200 emails to download . Personally 25 works well for me. Other options in the setting menu include the usuals:

  • entering your own email signature
  • Ask before deleting
  • Always Bcc myself

Performance wise, m•Box Mail works great and just as advertised. It syncs with Hotmail servers on the fly. An incoming mail to Hotmail will show up on the app just about the same time. Reading an email on your desktop will change m•Box Mail’s unread to read status (and vice versa) in a matter of seconds after a sync update. The same goes for deleting an email. One thing I really like is the ability to be able to read emails in landscape mode. One of the gripes i have with the native Mail app is that all viewing is done in portrait mode. Being able to read mail in landscape can reduce scrolling left and right if the email content is shown in a jpeg file. Another handy feature is that all your Hotmail contacts are available after the first sync, making it easy to email anyone on your list.

Search for emails quickly

Search for emails quickly

m•Box Mail does have certain short comings in its current release.  The app currently only supports image file attachments. Therefore, you cannot open pdf, excel or other commonly used files with it. This missing feature maybe a deal breaker for those who get loads of emails with different file attachments with their Hotmail account. With regards to composing an email, m•Box Mail does not allow typing in landscape view. This slight oversight is a shame since you can view an email in landscape, so why not be able to type in it?

Email in Landscape (jpeg attachment)

Email in Landscape (jpeg attachment)

Harder to read same email in portait

Harder to read same email in portait

Hmmmm....Landscape view

Hmmmm....Landscape view

My emails were promptly responded by mFluent (thanks Chris), letting me know that typing in landscape view and the ability to open other attachment types are indeed being worked on for future release. Despite these missing features, m•Box Mail is still a very robust app for your Hotmail needs. Emails are synced with Hotmail surprisingly fast and the interface very easy to use. The Bottom line: m•Box Mail does exactly what it advertises to do, surpassing my expectations. Even without the missing features, m•Box Mail gets our Grab This App rating.

App Summary
Title:mBoxMail (v1.0)Developer:mFluent
Price:$9.99App Size:0.5 mb
  • Native Hotmail App!
  • Connects directly with Hotmail Servers (no 3rd party)
  • Read mail in Landscape view
  • Contact list also synced to app
  • Only supports image attachments at the moment
  • Can’t type email in landscape view
  • Lower price point would be nice

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