As someone who blogs about apps and automation, I find it a little embarrassing to write a glowing review of an application, but then ten months later have to admit that I’m switching to a similar app.
It’s hard to admit I was wrong, especially when writing publicly. But it’s important, to be honest and admit when something isn’t working. I’m constantly trying to find the best tools to help me be more productive, which means sometimes changing things up and trying something new.
Such as the case when switching from Spark Mail (reviewed here) back to Spike Mail. Both apps have similar features, but after using Spark for several months, I realized that Spike’s chat-like UI served my needs better. Below I explain how.
Not only do Spark and Spike have similar names, they also have similar features, including…
- Integration with iCloud, Outlook, Gmail, and other IMAP accounts
- Unified inbox that shows emails from different accounts
- Snooze and search emails
- Pin and set aside emails
- Block email accounts
- Separate inbox for newsletters and notifications
- Integrate with iCloud folder
- Task creation
- And, of course, archive emails
Last year I was delighted when I saw Spark Mail’s attractive home window and clear interface, which made emailing much more pleasing. But I realized that a welcome window did not help me keep up with emails.
Spike Mail’s Conversational Emails
I returned to Spike mainly because its chat-like UI of emails makes it easier to treat email replies like conversations.
This makes it easier to keep up with conversations and quickly reply to emails. When I’m in a back-and-forth exchange with a client or team member, I don’t have to open a new window to reply to the message. Plus, I feel more like I’m continuing a conversation rather than reintroducing a topic when I reply to an email.
You may wonder how does the conversational email format looks for recipients of your emails. Well, it doesn’t look different. Unless they are also using Spike mail, they will have a traditional view of their email client, which is usually a column view with a Reply button.
Notice also, in the above screenshot, each email you send or reply to will display a small green eye on the bottom-right of the message, which appears after the recipient has seen the email.
Designated Email Accounts
Because of Spike’s chat-like UI, I use two emails in the mail client. One is for the team I work with (who, unfortunately, are not using Spike), and the other is for clients.
Both email accounts either don’t receive newsletter or notification emails, or those types of emails are blocked.
Spike includes a feature that designates emails you replied to as priority emails. Spike places non-priority emails you have not responded to in the “Other” inbox, which you can click open when you’re ready to review.
The Other inbox is convenient, but I still check those emails in my Spark mail account. I don’t want the distraction in Spike, which I try to manage throughout the day. Though newsletter and notification emails are important to me, they require time to manage. I block email addresses I no longer want, but I still get a few dozen non-priority emails that are important for my work.
This email arrangement has reduced my time spent on emails especially when conversing with clients or team members regularly.
Other Mail Features
Spike mail is even better for teams, but unfortunately, I don’t have that arrangement. However, there are a few other Spike features I find handy.
- Sent emails get a Green eye when the recipient opens it.
- A people panel comprises all the people you have previously emailed, arranged by the most recent emails.
- A Notes feature you can snooze for a later date.
- Template emails and quick replies.
- An integrated feature that shows you all your upcoming meetings and events.
- A Slack-like group feature, in which recipients can be invited to join a group to receive emails.
- A FaceTime audio-video feature that also works with non-Spike users.
The iOS version of Spike has the same user interface as the mobile version.
While I can’t say I won’t ever switch to another email client, Spike mail solves several of my email management issues.
If you’re unsatisfied with your current mail client, I recommend giving Spike a try.