Are you a desktop or Web-based e-mail person?

It’s an issue all computer users face: Would it be preferable to download a desktop e-mail client like Sparrow or Postbox or is Web-based e-mail like Gmail the best choice? Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a clear answer. For a lot of people a high-end desktop e-mail client is the better choice. For just as many other people, Web-based e-mail will work better. Fortunately, the Lifehacker Website recently ran a story identifying which people are better suited to desktop e-mail and which should consider using Web-based e-mail. The list, though in no way definitive, certainly helps answer the desktop-vs.-Web-based e-mail question.

When desktop makes sense

The Lifehacker story does a good job identifying which people are good for which system. For instance, Lifehacker recommends that you select a desktop e-mail client if you regularly end up accessing e-mail messages when you’re offline. For obvious reasons, you can’t do that with a Web-based e-mail system. A desktop system might make more sense, too, in the event you own several different e-mail addresses with several different domains. Finally, if you use security measures – including encryption or digital signing – or you plan to filter your e-mail messages by subject header, sender or keywords, a desktop client might be the better choice in your case.

When Web-based makes sense

For some users, though, Web-based e-mail services make the most sense. Lifehacker states that those people that have just a couple of e-mail addresses and who prefer to operate with a single unified inbox should turn to Web-based services like Gmail. Web-based services also make sense for people who aren’t permitted to download a desktop client to the computers they use at school or work. Finally, those users who feel safer having their e-mail messages kept in the cloud are perfect candidates for Web-based e-mail.

The good news

Here is the best news of all: Whether you decide to go with a desktop e-mail client or simply a Web-based service, take comfort in the knowledge that you have plenty of outstanding options to help you manage and organize your e-mail messages. Desktop services such as Sparrow and Postbox give you a wide range of organizing features. On the Web, the tried-and-true Gmail continues to be one of the strongest e-mail clients, whether desktop or Web-based, available to people who use computers.

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