As a die-hard Linux user, I am here to tell you that finding a good email client on the open source platform isn’t as easy as it should be. The current offerings are either too basic, too complicated, offer an outdated UI, or don’t function as reliably as I’d like them to. My default Linux email client has been Thunderbird for years. It’s good, but not great. After using Apple’s Mail, I realize how outdated Thunderbird is. Even so, the Mozilla email client is about the best you can get for Linux.
When Vivaldi announced they were adding an email client to their browser, I must admit I got a little excited. Not too much so, because I know the disappointment that comes along with hoping for a good browser-based email client that doesn’t wind up bogging down the browser.
However, as I was testing out the Vivaldi email client, I realized something: I could use the Vivaldi Testing branch of the browser as an email client/calendar combo, and use the stable Vivaldi release as a browser.
Or something like that.
First, we must get this email client up and running. Let me show you how.
How to get Vivaldi’s email client
As I mentioned, you must be using the Vivaldi Snapshot release, as the email client isn’t available on the stable branch. Download the Snapshot release for your operating system and run the installer, which works the same way you’d install any application on your desktop.
Once you have Vivaldi Snapshot installed, open it and then type vivaldi://experiments in the address bar. Hit Enter to reveal the Experimental Options page (Figure A).
Click the checkbox for Calendar, Mail & Feeds. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to close and re-open Vivaldi Snapshot for the changes to take effect.
How to add an email account
You won’t be automatically prompted to create an email account. To add an account, go to Settings | Mail. In the resulting window, click the + button under Mail Accounts (Figure B).
Note: At the moment, sign in for Gmail on the Vivaldi Email client is currently disabled. If you were hoping you could combine all of your email accounts into that one client, you’re out of luck with Google. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved and Gmail can, once again, be added.
Once you’ve added all of your email accounts, close the settings window and return to the Vivaldi Snapshot browser.
How to access the Email client
This is where it gets a bit confusing. In order to access the Email client, you head to the Vivaldi sidebar and click the Email Web Panel (Figure C). The Vivaldi Web Panel holds the key to accessing the Email client.
Click the Email Web Panel entry and you’ll see all of the folders associated with your email accounts (Figure D).
If you click an Inbox entry, the full-blown Email client will finally open. You’ll see three panes:
Account pane (far left)
Email pane (middle)
Preview pane (right)
Once you have the Email client open, pin that tab and you’ll have instant access to the client any time you have the browser open.
How does it perform?
Here’s the question you want answered. To get right to the point, Vivaldi’s email client isn’t bad. It’s not perfect–it’s missing a few features power users might want (such as encryption), but that doesn’t prevent it from functioning as a viable email client for anyone not happy with what their desktop has to offer. Given how new this software is makes it even more impressive; it’s easy to forgive issues like lag, or instability. If I’m being perfectly honest, Vivaldi’s email client already feels pretty mature.
Will I be switching from Thunderbird to Vivaldi’s email client? The verdict is still out on that one. Given that I’m leaving it open more and more each day, it might be likely that I will continue using Vivaldi Snapshot as an email client and Vivaldi stable as a browser.
Stranger things have happened.
I do, however, suggest you give this email client a try, as it might well woo you from what you currently use.
Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.