Why I prefer Entourage 2008 to Mail.app

Mac purists will probably shoot me down, but I have tried to love Mail.app but keep ending up back in the arms of Entourage. Why?

1. I like to keep all the stuff that organizes my life in one place. Entourage shows me my mail, to do list, calendar and contacts all in one application. Do it the Mac way and you’ll be using three separate apps even if they do integrate with each other.

2. The Mail.app interface is… well, just bland! I appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the Mac GUI as much as the next guy (or gal) but at times there’s only so much you can take, and Mail.app is it. Just a hint of colour (other than pastel blue) and shading would have helped.

3. In Mail.app your inbox is just one long list. Sure you can sort it on any column (as you can in Entourage), but there’s no way to ‘group’ mail by day, week or month to break up the view and make it easier.

4. Filtering. The junk mail filter in Mail.app is pretty feeble compared to Entourage. I received an email pretending it was from PayPal suggesting that I log on to my account quickly to remedy something or other. Entourage put it in a junk mail folder and when I opened it, had labelled it as a suspected phishing attack and had disabled the links. Mail.app obligingly popped it into my inbox without so much as a mention of me getting mugged via email.

5. Entourage supports all the email connectivity that Mail.app does, PLUS it supports accessing authorized HotMail accounts.

6. If someone addresses an email to you using a nickname with your email address in angled brackets (e.g. “Mac the knife <barking@the.moon>” then the To column in Mail.app only shows you the nickname, whereas Entourage shows you the actual email address they used. Very useful when you have multiple email forwarders.

7. Entourage lets you categorize emails (and then sort or group email using those categories). I couldn’t find this feature in Mail.app.

I’m sure I’ll add other things before this post is put to bed.

It’s not all sweetness and light in the Entourage camp though. My biggest bugbear is that Entourage lacks some of the features I’ve become used to in Outlook 2007 – including a customizable interface! Also, if you haven’t experienced Xobni in Outlook yet, then you’re just plain missing out. Sounds like my ideal solution is to run Outlook 2007 under VMWare Fusion…. and when I’m trying so hard to use native Mac applications. Bah!