Eudora 6.1

  • Editors' rating
    7.6 Very good

Pros

  • Spam filter and anti-virus tools
  • powerful search options
  • improved Outlook and Apple Mail tools

Cons

  • Not very intuitive
  • technical support only available with paid version

Eudora is one of the most powerful and feature-rich email applications on the market. It's available for POP3 and IMAP email accounts accessed on systems running Windows or Mac OS. Microsoft’s Outlook and Outlook Express may be the most popular email clients, but there are some excellent alternatives. Unfortunately, competing offerings such as Qualcomm’s Eudora 6.1 aren’t as intuitive to use and don’t come with vital everyday utilities, such as a calendar and a to-do list. Companies should also note that Eudora 6.1 lacks the server-based collaboration features found in Microsoft’s Outlook 2003 or IBM’s Lotus Notes/Domino 6.5.

Eudora 6.1 is a free (sort of) email client that may suit anyone looking for more control over their email. It's a mature package, similar in scope and approach to Microsoft's Outlook. Eudora's main appal is that it’s quick, powerful, and isn’t targeted by malicious coders -- most viruses use the Windows address book to spread their poison. It’s far from perfect though: the interface is ugly, the screen quickly becomes filled with windows, and it’s far from intuitive. That said, the software is highly customisable and can be downloaded for free.

Like other ostensibly ‘free’ software, Eudora is available in different versions: Light mode really is free and carries no advertisements, but offers a limited feature set (no spelling checker, for example); Sponsored mode is also free, but advertisements are placed in the toolbars; Paid mode (£29.99) includes SpamWatch, a spam tool, in addition to all of the new features in the latest version 6.1. Note that technical support is available only to Paid mode users, although you can download patches and updates for other versions at no additional cost.

Eudora 6.1 is a modest upgrade and isn’t really worth paying for if you installed version 6 over a year ago. Version 6.0 added automatic spam protection, an email thread condenser, automated type formatting tools and mailbox organisational shortcuts. Version 6.1 adds new features to SpamWatch (the software's automated spam protection tool), features a Google-powered search engine called WebWords, plus an improved data importer for Microsoft’s Outlook and Apple’s Mail.

Qualcomm has strengthened Eudora’s junk filtering feature, SpamWatch, and also builds on version 6.0’s SpamWatch Statistics, allowing you to track exactly how much of your incoming email is junk and how accurately SpamWatch is sorting that mail. SpamWatch gradually ‘learns’ what's determined ‘wanted mail’ by rating it based on a 0 to 100 scale. Higher-scoring mail is likely to be junk, while lower-scoring mail is likely to be valid email. The default setting is 50, but you can change the setting to suit your needs. Nifty-looking graphs show how much mail you have received (by day, week, month or year) and how much of it is junk (based on what’s in your junk folder).

Eudora 6.1 is the first email client to integrate a Google search bar, allowing you to use the market-leading search engine’s technology to search email or the Web using either words or phrases. You can also define searches by specifying where to look (such as headers, body text or CC fields) or by container, such as ‘contains whole word’, ‘does not contain’ or ‘starts with’. We also like the way you can right-click on a word or words in your email to activate the pull-down search, allowing you to search anywhere within an email message without having to open a new search dialogue box or worry about extra keystrokes.

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Other key features include Contextual Filing, which allows you to select a word within a message and then file the message in a folder or mailbox of the same name; Format Painter (Windows only) lets you copy fonts and styles from one place to another in an mail; and Dual SMTP Authorisation provides Eudora with more configuration tools to integrate better with an ISP’s mail settings. Content Concentrator has also been updated, and although you can view a whole email thread while automatically removing redundant content, a new profile control offers a pull-down menu of three concentration levels: None, Compact or Terse. This allows you to streamline or expand your view of an email thread on the fly. Finally, Mailbox Drawer (MacOS X 10.2 only) provides a quick way to access your list of mailboxes from any mailbox window.

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