Mac e-mail showdown: Which program delivers?

Our reviewer weighs the pros and cons of Mail, Entourage and Thunderbird to see which one gets his stamp of approval

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Receiving and reading messages

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Each program sports a three-pane interface consisting of an account and folder list, the list of message subjects in the currently selected folder and a preview pane showing the text of a selected message. Mail's reading pane is permanently fixed below the message header list, while if you use Entourage or Thunderbird, you can place the preview pane there or to the right. Reading messages

Reading is also similar in the three programs. You can view any message in the preview pane or open it in a separate window. You can increase or decrease the size of the message text to make it easier to read. The three programs even support the same keyboard shortcut (the spacebar) for scrolling through lengthy messages.

Creating/Sending messages

 

Mail

Entourage

Thunderbird

Message formats

     

Plain Text

HTML/Rich Text

Background color/image

×

Message types

     

New

Reply

Reply to all

Reply with iChat

×

×

Forward

Resend

×

Redirect

Insert Web and email links

Embed images

Attachments

Attachment compression

×

×

Message encryption

Priority/importance setting

Signatures

Request return receipt

×

×

Delayed send

×

×

w/SendTools

Receiving/Reading messages

 

Mail

Entourage

Thunderbird

Reading pane

Set reading pane location

×

Read in separate window

Change text size

Display message threads

×

Speak message text

×

×

Display image attachments

Inserted images only

Image slideshow

×

×

Add image to iPhoto

×

×

Attachment handling

     

Open

Save

Delete/Detach

Set send/receive schedules

One schedule

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