Email was one of the first methods of digital communication that allowed groups of people to talk, collaborate, or share. It was (and still is) an incredibly important part of the business world, but on the consumer side things have shifted more towards quicker means of communication like SMS and digital message services.
Despite email lagging behind leaner methods like text messages, it still has a place as a very robust tool for business and personal usage. We’ve seen a resurgence of productivity apps that exist to teach your email inbox a few tricks, including a service from Google itself. But today we’re going to talk about Newton, a slick email application that wants to deliver a polished and powerful experience for all of your mail accounts and services.
Newton actually started as an app called CloudMagic several years back before going through several premium model changes and a permanent name swap to Newton. It’s slowly added features over the years and has repeatedly been among the first apps to embrace new technology and platforms. Newton supported Android Wear almost immediately, for example, and was one of the first apps available on Chrome OS as an Android app.
In its current iteration, Newton offers one of the best interfaces you’ll find for an email app. It’s not perfect Material Design, but it does take quite a few design cues from Google’s design language, especially if you’ve seen newer versions of Android’s notification shade. Emails are arranged similar to notification cards, and they can be swiped or tapped to navigate and organize your inbox.
The app is fairly customizable, too. You can choose different actions for left and right swipes, so a short left swipe can mark an email as read while a long right swipe will delete the email. If you don’t like swipes, you can adjust the order of the actions on main toolbar, including buttons for deleting, archiving, and marking emails.
While Newton has a top notch interface, it really shines once you dig into its productivity features, which the developers call “superchargers.” Some of these are pretty common features compared to other apps, such as the ability to snooze emails, but others really make Newton stand out. One of my favorites is the sender profile feature that automagically creates a small profile for contacts in your inbox.
I know, being able to see contact cards in your email is the most boring thing ever that’s been in Gmail for years, but Newton scrapes information about anyone that sends you an email. If you get an email from a coworker that’s using a company email address, for instance, Newton’s contact card will display information about that company, what products they offer, and other details, while also trying to tie in info about the actual sender. If your coworker has a public LinkedIn account, that will be displayed for you to easily check out.
Newton also offers superchargers that allow you to schedule emails, undo sending emails, and even read receipts.
To top that off, the app will also work with some of your favorite productivity services. Todoist, OneNote, Wunderlist, and Trello (among others) are here to help you quickly access and save files to and from those accounts, and in some instances even create extra appointments and reminders.
Another highlight is the massive amount of cross platform compatibility the app offers. You can use Newton on Android, iOS, and MacOS with a Windows 10 app on the way. There’s also a skill for Alexa, so you can use an Amazon Echo to check your email.
Overall, Newton is a really fantastic app, and arguably one of the best email applications I’ve had a chance to use. With that being said, nothing’s perfect, and Newton does have some drawbacks.
Many email apps, although not all, have created “focused” inboxes. Inbox by Google, for example, sort your emails into bundles, then only notify you about the really important things. Receipts would be important, but that weekly advertising email from your local grocery store doesn’t need a blaring notification every time you get one. Microsoft has the focused inbox in Outlook, too, but this is something totally absent from Newton. Many users probably won’t care (Gmail still has more users than Inbox, after all) but I’ve pretty religiously used Inbox for years, and it’s hard to get used to notifications for every single email again.
Newton’s other sticky point is its price tag. The app is great, but it comes with a steep $50 per year subscription that might be too much for someone that just wants a slicker, cleaner email experience. If you’re really invested in your email accounts and handle a ton of business and productivity to them, it could make sense, but thats certainly not everyone.
On the other hand, $50 per year is about one cup of coffee per month, and the app comes with a free trial for two weeks. You just might find out you’d rather have a phenomenal email app than that coffee.
Download it now: Google Play