For an app that has been designed to make your inbox clutter-free and your life easier, Mailbox itself can be accused of coming loaded with too many bells and whistles. There can be no denying the fact that the concept behind the app is great, and the UI looks pretty cool as well, but learning to use it efficiently is not the easiest of tasks. Also, the app treats your messages a bit too much like to-dos, and most users are likely to end up needing a separate email client to use in conjunction with Mailbox. The Mail app from Taskbox has been around in the App Store for some time, and might seem pretty similar to Mailbox upon cursory inspection. The app’s latest update, however, strikes a perfect balance between email management and maintaining a to-do list using the messages you receive. It has also been rebranded to Boxer.
Boxer displays a few basic instructions when you launch it for the first time, but it isn’t too difficult getting a hang of everything it is capable of doing. Once an email account has been connected with Boxer, the app takes you straight to your inbox (although this default view can be changed from the settings menu).
Basically, Boxer is capable of doing two things: you can create a to-do out of an email, or respond to a message quickly using the customizable templates available in the app. Before getting to these advanced options though, let’s discuss some of the basic mail-related stuff Boxer is capable of doing.
Swipe across any message from right to left, and options including ‘Archive’, ‘Spam’ and ‘Delete’ show up. The app also supports push notifications (only for Gmail though), and can be used to send multiple attachments with a single message. These attachments can be photos from your camera roll, or other files stored in your Dropbox account. To create a task out of a mail, swipe across the message from left to right and tap the ‘To-do’ button. If you also want to set a due date against the task, long-press the said button. The details menu for to-dos also has an option that allows you to assign a priority to your tasks. The ‘Request’ option can be used to set up collaborative to-dos.
The ‘Dashboard’ screen in Boxer presents an overview of all the tasks that are pending, and the all the messages you haven’t done anything about. By default, Boxer only display a badge on its icon for the number of unread mails in your account, but you can also configure the app to represent all unattended tasks in the form of badges.
Boxer comes with a ton of message templates, and offers some pretty cool ways of using them efficiently. Hit the ‘Like’ button, and the message’s sender gets an automated response stating how much you appreciate their mail. To use other templates in response to an email, hit ‘Quick’.
Boxer can be used with Gmail, Yahoo!, Exchange, Outlook, Hotmail, AOL and iCloud accounts, with support for more services expected to arrive soon. If you go by the rumors, Mailbox might be coming up with a desktop client, which is sure to change the game (not that there aren’t already similar web services available out there). Until then, however, Boxer is good enough to hold its own against any competitor. The app is available for free for a limited time, and is optimized for iPhone/iPod touch.