#Productivity Hacks — #InboxZero, Part 2: @NewtonMailApp vs @SparkMailApp – Pros/Cons/Wishlist

Last week, I wrote a post: #Productivity Hacks – #InboxZero with @Newtonmailapp: First Impressions. In that post, I shared that I had been using Spark for nearly a year, but was running into some stability issues with the App. So, I decided to trial Newton.

In this post, I wanted to share some things I love about each app, some things that I don’t love so much, and some things I hope might be on the roadmap for each app.

Newton Pros

  • Clean and distraction free (appreciate that the left sidebar is hidden by default)
  • Simple (not too many options or button visible)
  • Great keyboard shortcut (supports gmail shortcuts I am used to already)
  • Love that the snooze feature understands written text. When I want to snooze to a custom date/time, I can simply type “tomorrow 10am” and it will come back to my inbox on that date/time. This might seem minor, but I love that I can snooze using the keyboard alone & never have to use my mouse.
  • Follow-up options:
    • remind if not replied (awesome for never forgetting to follow-up)
    • send later (this was the feature that made me want to try Newton in the first place, not many apps offer send later)
  • Emails quickly load
  • On iOS, ability to archive messages from lock screen

Newton Cons

  • Does not have features listed in Spark Pros, below
  • No canned text / multiple signature support
  • When you drag/drop an image into your message, it adds the picture as an attachment by default (versus inline image). This is a major con for me since I send many screenshots with instructions in my email replies! I’ll have to get used to the keyboard shortcut instead of drag/drop, but it’s not ideal.
  • No ability to resize inline images
  • No ability to resize compose window
  • No ability to pin a folder (see Spark Pros)
  • When replying to a message, the thread of previous messages is hidden by default. It would be nice to have the ability to customize this option. I get that this is a cleaner look, but I almost always want to reference the message I’m responding to in composing my reply, so I’m constantly pressing those three dots.
  • Search does not have the ability to search within a folder. I’m finding most search functionality very strong so far, other than this. Effective search is majorly important for me, and overall I have been happy.

Spark Pros

  • I really like quick replies!
  • Wonderfully supports multiple email signatures
  • Ability to pin a specific folder to your sidebar for easy access. There are a couple of emails that I need to reference throughout the week for work, and I like to keep them in a “*To Reference” folder. This works really well in Spark.
  • Labels are visible on the Mac App (when viewing a message, there is an indication of the folder it is assigned to if you have previously moved it to a folder)
  • Ability to drag/drop inline images
  • On iOS, you can swipe between messages; archive/delete automatically advances to the next message. This is a major pro for Spark that Newton is missing!

Spark Cons

  • Does not have features listed in Newton Pros, above
  • Since most recent iOS update, I’ve experienced slow load time for my emails. On Mac, this has been an on/off issue for me for months now. I’ve had to uninstall my Mac App three times due to it becoming completely unresponsive.
  • Battery drain on Phone and Mac
  • Cannot snooze a message without using your mouse
  • On iOS, no ability to archive from lock screen (though you can delete)
  • Search does not work well. I constantly find myself going back to gmail in my browser to do a search, which defeats the purpose of having Spark as my email App. This is a major con for me.

Wish List for Both Apps

  • Integration with Fantastical
  • Ability to “resnooze” an email sent to a group that pops back into your inbox before the time you scheduled time due to somebody else in the group responding (or simply ability to reference the original snooze time)
  • Ability to reply to a message without it popping out in a new compose window

Overall, I am happier with Newton at this point…. happier enough to warrant paying for the App. While Spark is free, Newton is $49/year. That’s a major difference between the two. But, streamlining my workflow is a major priority for me (it makes me a much happier person!), so paying for an App that has all the features I am looking for is worth it.

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