Ever since Gmail cluttered up its person interface, I have been in search of a greater electronic mail consumer. Spark from Readdle is the primary app to click on for me immediately. Not like many opponents, Spark provides a refreshing expertise as a result of it is constructed solely round electronic mail—not productiveness apps, notes, or to-do lists. Gmail and different in style electronic mail apps hold including extra options, attempting to broaden boring previous electronic mail into one thing else. If that is not what you need, I like to recommend Spark, which supplies you nice keyboard shortcuts, glorious options for organizing messages, and a stunning interface. Spark can be simple to advocate should you’re in search of a extra centered electronic mail consumer. We’re withholding our Editors’ Alternative award till now we have reviewed extra merchandise on this area, however Spark is a robust contender.
How A lot Does Spark Value?
Spark has a free model that features nearly all options however provides a “Despatched with Spark” message to your electronic mail signature that may’t be eliminated. A Premium Particular person account, which prices $59.99 per yr, provides options similar to Precedence E mail, Gatekeeper, Dwelling Display screen, and the flexibility to mute a thread (extra on these later). There’s additionally a Premium Groups account ($83.88 per particular person per yr) for teams that have to deal with one electronic mail inbox collectively. New accounts robotically get a seven-day free trial of Premium after organising the Spark app—no bank card is required.
This pricing is not unhealthy, contemplating how beneficiant the free model is. There are, in fact, solely free electronic mail shoppers. Home windows and macOS each have succesful ones, and open-source functions like Thunderbird are additionally freely out there. Nonetheless, none of them include the options you get within the paid model of Spark. The one exception I’ve discovered is Twobird, which is totally free and has a number of the identical options that you simply get in Spark Premium.
On the paid aspect there’s Microsoft’s Outlook, which begins at $6 per particular person monthly as a part of Microsoft 365—a value that features electronic mail internet hosting. Canary, one other cross-platform electronic mail utility, additionally has a free model, with a paid model beginning at $20 per yr. In contrast with these functions, the Premium model of Spark is pretty costly. You may additionally evaluate Spark to Superhuman, a productiveness device for electronic mail with an analogous characteristic set. That app begins at $30 per particular person monthly, which is extraordinarily costly for this class.
Which Platforms Does Spark Run On?
Spark has desktop shoppers for each Home windows and macOS in addition to Android and iOS apps. There is no such thing as a internet or Linux model of Spark 3, which is the present model as of this writing. For this overview, I put in and examined Spark’s macOS, Android, and iOS variations.
Getting Began With Spark
You’ll be able to obtain Spark from its web site and set up it instantly. There is not any have to create an account first. You merely signal into one in every of your current electronic mail accounts, similar to a Gmail account, which successfully creates your Spark account. Different electronic mail companies are supported, however relying in your supplier chances are you’ll have to enter IMAP and SMTP particulars.
When you arrange no less than one electronic mail account in Spark, you utilize that very same deal with to check in to Spark on some other system. All of your settings and some other accounts you log into sync throughout gadgets. For instance, I signed into my private Gmail account and the IMAP deal with I exploit for enterprise on my Mac. I then signed into my Gmail account on an Android cellphone and an iPad. My different account robotically loaded on these gadgets, as did my signatures and all different settings.
Messages obtain to your system, that means you’ll be able to verify your electronic mail offline. Any message you try and ship whereas offline shall be despatched as quickly as you’ve gotten a connection.
Wonderful Keyboard Shortcuts and a Command Bar
The very first thing I observed concerning the Spark desktop app was its full set of keyboard shortcuts, which can be utilized to navigate and act in your emails shortly. You’ll be able to browse messages utilizing the arrow keys and press Enter to open one. You’ll be able to then reply, ahead, and bounce between messages all with out touching your mouse. The advantages are velocity and ease of use.
Not having to the touch the mouse can be the promoting level of Superhuman, however the less expensive Spark does the identical factor simply as effectively, if not higher. For one factor, all Spark’s shortcuts are absolutely customizable, and Superhuman’s aren’t—regardless of it being six occasions as costly.
Spark has 4 full units of keyboard shortcuts, together with two that match Gmail and Apple Mail for individuals who have previous habits from these functions. You may as well change each single shortcut to work the best way you want.
If you cannot keep in mind all these keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be able to press Cmd- or Ctrl-Okay to carry up the Actions bar, which has similarities to the Command Bar in Superhuman. The Actions bar helps you to kind any motion supported by Spark and set off it by urgent Enter. It additionally exhibits you the keyboard shortcut you would have used as an alternative. Should you use the Actions bar typically, you will probably be taught the shortcuts over time.
These instruments make powering by means of emails fast. I discovered Spark far more intuitive and snappier than the likes of Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook. It’d even be quicker than Superhuman, although I am going to admit that is a subjective evaluation. The keyboard shortcuts and actions bar are the perfect cause to strive Spark, they usually’re included within the free model.
Spark’s Dwelling Display screen Moderates Your E mail Utilization
Spark’s elective Dwelling Display screen characteristic, which is just included within the paid model, hides your inbox besides throughout designated occasions. The thought is to set occasions for checking your electronic mail. Open your inbox outdoors these occasions and also you see a photograph and a greeting as an alternative of your inbox.
You’ll be able to nonetheless click on Open Inbox if you would like, however no keyboard shortcuts will work till you do. I principally discovered this characteristic annoying. If I do not need to take a look at my electronic mail I will not take a look at my electronic mail. Nonetheless, it is an attention-grabbing concept for limiting the time suck that’s electronic mail, and one I have not seen in different electronic mail shoppers.
Scheduling, Snoozing, and Pinning Messages With Spark
Spark delivers a lot of the options widespread in fashionable electronic mail shoppers: scheduling messages for later, including reminders to emails you have not gotten a response to, and snoozing messages out of your inbox.
Spark robotically detects electronic mail notifications from apps you utilize and electronic mail newsletters. Such messages present up in your inbox bundled collectively, and you’ll broaden these bundles to see all of the messages they include. In consequence, your inbox is much less cluttered, and messages from actual individuals seem prominently on the prime, with the notification and publication bundles additional down. You’ll be able to disable both of those bundles within the settings, although I want it was attainable to create your individual teams the best way you’ll be able to in Gmail.
There’s additionally the flexibility to pin emails, which has similarities to the star performance in Gmail (starred emails from Gmail present up as pinned in Spark). Pinned emails can present up within the Pinned part or, optionally, as a bundle in your inbox.
The Precedence Emails characteristic helps you to mark particular individuals or senders as vital. When new messages from them arrive, they seem on prime of your inbox, highlighted in orange with a lightning bolt icon. This manner, anybody you take into account a VIP will get particular therapy in your inbox.
One other characteristic I recognize is Gatekeeper. By default, any message you obtain from an unfamiliar particular person is flagged, and Spark asks you whether or not you wish to settle for messages from this deal with in your inbox or block it. OnMail has an analogous characteristic.
Whereas Spark has many helpful options, it is also lacking just a few. For instance, there is no strategy to see your calendar inside Spark—besides within the iOS model for some cause. Nor does Spark have any type of learn receipts, which can disappoint some individuals. (It is price noting that learn receipts are controversial from a privateness perspective.) There is not any AI integration as of this writing, although an organization rep did inform me it’s coming.
Is Spark Safe and Non-public?
Spark’s privateness coverage is written in clear English, and Readdle has a useful weblog put up that explains and summarizes the coverage, too. The corporate states that it doesn’t promote knowledge to 3rd events and it’s compliant with GDPR and CCPA. Emails are saved on the server of your electronic mail supplier, not Spark’s servers. The app makes use of end-to-end encryption and shops its knowledge on Google Cloud servers. You’ll be able to delete all knowledge from Spark servers within the app’s preferences if you want. Readdle, the corporate that owns Spark, relies in Folsom, California.
A Spark of Brilliance
Spark is straightforward to get began with, has all the pieces you’d need in an electronic mail consumer, and helps you course of electronic mail—quick. It provides a lot of the finest options of Superhuman in its free model, and even its paid model prices a sixth of the value. Though PCMag remains to be figuring out which electronic mail device to call as our Editors’ Alternative award winner, Spark is a robust candidate.