Making the choice: Desktop or Web-based e-mail

It’s an issue all computer users face: Would it make more sense to download a desktop e-mail client like Sparrow or Postbox or is Web-based e-mail such as Gmail the best choice? Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a clear winner. For many users a high-end desktop e-mail client is the best choice. For just as many other people, Web-based e-mail makes more sense. Luckily for us, the Lifehacker Website recently ran an article identifying which computer users are better suited to desktop e-mail and who should consider using Web-based e-mail. Their list, though by no means definitive, certainly helps answer the desktop-vs.-Web-based e-mail question.

Is a Desktop e-mail client right for you?

The Lifehacker story does an excellent job identifying which people are right for which e-mail system. For instance, Lifehacker recommends that you choose a desktop e-mail client if you frequently end up accessing e-mail messages when you’re offline. For obvious reasons, you can’t do this having a Web-based e-mail system. A desktop system might make more sense, too, if you own several different e-mail addresses with several different domains. Finally, if you utilize security features – including encryption or digital signing – or you plan to filter your e-mail messages by subject header, sender or keywords, a desktop client might be the better choice for you.

When Web-based is best

For some users, though, Web-based e-mail make the most sense. Lifehacker states that those computer users that have only a few e-mail addresses and preferring to function with a single unified inbox should turn to Web-based services like Gmail. Web-based services also make sense for people who aren’t allowed to download a desktop client to the computers they use at school or work. Finally, those users who feel safer having their e-mail messages kept in the cloud are perfect candidates for Web-based e-mail.

The good news

There is plenty of good news, though, whether you favor Web-based e-mail or desktop clients. There are several powerful programs that help you manage your e-mails more effectively, no matter how you choose to access them. Gmail, for instance, is just one of several Web-based mail programs that offer you great capability to organize and manage your inbox. The previously mentioned Postbox and Sparrow perform the same, but in a desktop form.


Posted on: 02.27.13