Review: Three Free E-Mail Apps

No money for e-mail software? You've got three free -- and effective -- choices: Outlook Express, Thunderbird, or Eudora.
Any of the three programs will do a good job when it comes to reading and composing e-mail.

Outlook Express offers the bare necessities, but if you want to move beyond that, you're going to want to choose either Thunderbird or Eudora. Thunderbird's strongest point is its expandability through user-supplied extensions that you can download. It's also the only application that includes a spam filter, and will be attractive to open-source advocates. However, if you're looking for a strong, full-featured program, don't mind a reasonable learning curve, and can live with the ads, then the Sponsored mode of Eudora is your choice.

Outlook Express
Microsoft, Inc.
Price: Free
Summary: Yes, Outlook Express is the lite version of Microsoft Outlook, but the simple e-mail client shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

Price: Free
Summary: Thunderbird, an open-source app, offers free spam filters and personalization through extensions, as well as greater safety than Outlook Express.

Eudora 6.2
Qualcomm, Inc.
Price: Free
Summary: If you're willing to deal with a relatively complex application, Eudora offers more features and flexibility than its two rivals.
Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing