GyazMail 1.2

GyazMail 1.2 (pronounced gaz mail ) is an OS X e-mail program from gifted Japanese developer Goichi Hirakawa. GyazMail’s user interface and features often invite comparison with Apple’s Mail, and GyazMail stands up against Mail remarkably well.

If you are familiar with Apple’s Mail, GyazMail’s advantages are easy to spot. Sending and receiving options are more flexible: GyazMail lets you queue messages as well as send them immediately, and it can check different accounts on different schedules. GyazMail lets you control whether mail rules (or filters) are applied to outgoing or incoming mail, or applied manually. GyazMail also has a number of features that Mail does not, including: a powerful custom search feature; the ability to define custom keyboard shortcuts for nearly every action; the ability to assign labels to messages; and the ability to move from one message to the next in the same window. I’ve never had some of the problems in GyazMail that I’ve had with Apple Mail. GyazMail has never lost a message, and I’ve never been asked to provide my password after initially configuring an account.

But GyazMail does have some important shortcomings. For some users, the dealbreaker will be GyazMail’s lack of support for IMAP, an e-mail protocol that stores messages permanently in folders on your remote server rather than on your computer. But for most users, the main problem with GyazMail may be a certain immaturity in its user interface. The current version can’t show To and From lists simultaneously in your list of messages. Apple Mail’s search feature may be limited, but it is easier to use than the search feature in GyazMail. If you want to move messages from different accounts into the same folder, you have to create a special mailbox hierarchy without server information. This is more of a quirk than a disability, but some users with multiple e-mail accounts will find it annoying.

In some respects, comparing GyazMail to Apple Mail results in a toss-up. The nice threading trees that GyazMail produces show at a glance who is responding to whom, and are neat if you get a lot of listserv mail. Unfortunately, GyazMail’s threads break completely if the messages don’t contain the necessary header data (and they often don’t). Mail’s threading, on the other hand, uses subjects to group messages if the header data is missing, and the ability in Mail to collapse a bunch of messages into a single line is a feature I miss in GyazMail.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

For some users, Mail’s support for IMAP and its more polished user interface will outweigh GyazMail 1.2’s greater feature set. But GyazMail’s user interface is pretty good overall: efficient, clean, and attractive. And while it isn’t free, like Mail, GyazMail’s $18 price tag is very reasonable. If Mail isn’t everything you need, odds are that GyazMail is.

GyazMail offers a number of options missing from Apple Mail, including support for custom keyboard shortcuts, labels, and custom search.

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