The points below are not meant to be criticism, they are just my observations on a service I have seen and used for the first time. I go into detail as that's just what I do, I am thorough, i've worked with email for over 20 years and like to pull new solutions apart.
I am searching for the perfect email solution, which I am yet to find. I like to write these Initial Thoughts posts as I find them easier to pen than writing a full blown review. I'd like to think they are easier to read or skim through too, if you just want to read the key points.
Take on board that onmail.com is a fairly new service and aren't yet accepting free signups. I also share these observations with the companies I review. Most value constructive feedback, others prefer to work in a closed box.
What is onmail.com
OnMail is the only email service designed for the way you live your life today in 2020. It offers the first-of-its-kind Permission-Control feature invented by Edison to ensure that your inbox is your inbox. You get to decide who comes in, and who gets your attention. We stop spam before it enters your inbox so your inbox stays clean. As with our Edison Mail apps, we block all read receipts without degrading your email experience, and you won’t see a targeted ad lurking in your inbox.
Watch the Introduction video below
Pricing starts at FREE for the personal plan (currently invite only) up to the Business plan at $19.99 per month. I signed up for the $4.99 Freelance package.
Signup & Setup
The signup process was straight forward, nothing was over complicated. It was great that my first choice of @onmail.com email address was available. There is no trial period so I had to enter my credit card details and pay straight away for the first month. I was up and running within a few minutes.
Adding a custom domain name was easy enough, I took advantage of the free one that came with my subscription. I settled with paulobrien.xyz as I like the idea behind .xyz domain names.
Next I had to select an alias name for my newly acquired domain and then I was good to go.
The User Interface
The UI is clean and minimalist which I personally like, I hate clutter so it's a breath of fresh air not to have UI overload. Navigation is intuitive, as are all the settings options. The minimal approach definitely works.
There were a couple of welcome emails from Jeff giving me the heads up that he was available to answer any questions I might have. I did in fact take Jeff up on his offer and shot off a quick email to him yesterday.
Whilst I understand the idea behind Smart Folders I don't see why they are compulsory. Contacts and attachments I kinda get, but Travel, Shopping, Packages, Events and Price Tracking, I just don't need them and don't want them sitting there in my view annoying me and reminding me I don't need or want them. A simple toggle to switch them on and off would be ideal.
Security - No 2-Step-Auth
This is one of the most surprising things, with email security being a hot topic at the moment, why is there no 2-step auth option? Very strange.
Domains, only one and you can't change it.
You can only add a single custom domain to onmail.com and there doesn't seem to be an option to change it once added. This could be a problem for people who use more than one domain or need to first test the platform using a secondary domain before switching to their primary.
Only A Single Alias Name.
There is only support for a single alias name, for example [email protected] This may be acceptable for some people but others like myself need extra alias names like [email protected], [email protected] etc. This could be a deal breaker for me as I also use alias names as disposable email addresses for when I am forced to use an email address when signing up for a service.
Support, Email, Twitter and Ticket
I like to test support response times before committing to a new email solution, it's important to know there are real people behind the scenes should you need assistance.
- I replied to the welcome email from Jeff who'd invited me to ask him any questions I may have. It's been 24 hours now and no response
- I sent a tweet yesterday evening to @getonmail asking about removing the smart folders. I did receive a reply but it was referring to 'labels' and not smart folders. In fairness I could have been a little clearer. It's also worth noting that it doesn't look like onmail.com accept direct messages on Twitter, so I had to send a Tweet instead.
- Lastly I tested their support form on the help pages, It was a little overkill in terms of requested information but I completed all the fields and hit submit. It's been 24 hours now and no reply
This is worrying for me, as a new paid customer who could have been stuck onboarding I would have expected a far quicker response. Maybe I contacted them at a busy time!
Lack of Community Spirit
I love Reddit and am part of quite a few communities. Onmail's Subreddit has a very small amount of members and there isn't much going on. When I subscribe to a new service I always like to join a community, as I often find they can be more helpful than actual support teams.
Mobile Devices, POP3 and IMAP
Currently this is a web only service. This isn't good, a mobile app is needed ASAP as I have no way to check my emails on the move. It would also be handy to have IMAP for those wanted to use native desktop clients.
Email and Calendar normally come had in hand, but I guess not with onmail.com. It isn't the end of the world for me but for $4.99 per month I would have expected one. I use Google Calendar so would have preferred integration with that instead.
Unable to Import Existing Emails or Contacts
There is no way to import a contact list nor migrate emails from another platform. Hey.com are another company who doesn't support email import so maybe it's now a trend. Contacts on the other hand are a necessity. This must be an oversight?
No Trial or Refund
Free accounts are by invitation code only. I requested one a whole back but haven't heard anything, which judging from the comments on Reddit I am not alone.
They do not offer a trial of any kind, so the only way I could test their platform was to part with real cash. I read through their terms and conditions and they explicitly say they do not give refunds unless there is a fault their end.
This is quite unusual, I am not sure how many people will signup to a solution that isn't confident enough to offer a trial or money back guarantee?
- What happens to the free domain name if you cancel your onmail.com account?
- What happens to emails in the Done folder, do you just stay there forever?
- I can't see any options for browser notifications
- Is there a way to make onmail.com the default mail client like you can with Gmail?
- Any plans for a snooze feature?
- In attachments there is no way to link back to the original email
- I couldn't use the preview function for a .pdf I received.
8. I opened an email with a PDF attachment but it doesn't show under files linked to that contact, see below.
The concept of privacy first, multiple inboxes and a simplistic minimalist design gets a thumbs up from me. Even though I have only been testing for 24 hours I have enjoyed the journey so far.
Overall I really liked onmail.com and plan to test it further. There are a few core features like multiple alias names, email migration and a mobile app that I feel are missing. Without these it would make it near impossible for me to use onmail.com as my primary email account.
That said, it does look like they are quite close to releasing a mobile app and maybe plans for other improvements are on the horizon too.
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