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Hands on review: Yahoo! Mail app for Windows 8

Before you start mocking me for using Yahoo! Mail, let me explain that this is NOT my primary mail account and I use Gmail and Outlook.com for my daily use. Yes, this Yahoo! account was once my daily haunt but that was during college days and those days are long gone.

I don't use Yahoo! Mail much but still there are some group subscriptions and I just log in once in a while to see what's happening in those forgotten groups. And due to this reason, I have always kept track of changes in Yahoo! Mail and the fact is that you can blame them for everything but not really lack of trying. Though most of those tries just ended up cluttering the UI and adding somewhat needless features.

However, now we hear that new CEO Marissa Mayer is focusing once again on the mail and first major product to come out is Yahoo! Mail app for Windows 8. So how is it?

The Login screen is pretty neat and purple background with an envelope watermark is very pleasing, very Yahoo!. However why is 'Sign In' button kept after 'Sign up' button is something I don't understand. The placement is just plain wrong. Yahoo! - 0, Inconsistency - 1.


After login, you are greeted with pretty large size font. The left most pane lists different folders, top bar has icons for Reply, Reply All, Forward, Delete, Move to Folder, Mark Spam and Compose. The reading pane is on right. 


Unlike Yahoo! Mail for web, this app doesn't give you option to customize position of reading pane, right or bottom. The UI looks pretty standard and neat with lots of white spaces but ample real estate provided by full screen seems to be little undone because of huge fonts. The size of reading pane is almost exactly 50% of screen which is considerably lesser than other clients with such layout. 

At first sight, I felt that the list of mails was showing up in font atleast 2 sizes larger than needed and hence it was showing very few mails but after a while, I got used to it and may be this is something that could take a little while getting used to. There is no way to sort the emails according to date or any other parameter.

Yahoo! Mail was the first web based mail service which introduced keyboard shortcuts and they were very nifty. This app does away with all those shortcuts. I am not sure how much you use shortcuts but I love deleting mails using 'Delete' button and using 'Ctrl+Enter' to send a mail. None of these works. Big letdown for me.


My complaint of space wastage is magnified on Compose screen. And you can look for yourself! If you felt Outlook.com was wasting space by giving huge address fields, this app goes two steps further with fifty percent of screen width devoted to the address fields.

While there is nothing much to write about this screen, one good feature that Windows 8 platform provides is that now attachments can be picked from Bing search or Skydrive directly.


Do you remember the icons available in top bar? No? Scroll up and check the list. Anything missing? Yes? No? If you answered No you would not find this a problem, because what I was looking for was 'Search'. Yes, there is no icon for search but that doesn't mean that there is no search embedded in the app. You need to use the Windows 8 Search charm for searching your mailbox. Slightly inconvenient for the first timers.


I am all for using platform given options but to overdo them is something I can't understand. A core functionality like 'Sign Out' is buried in the Settings charm. And considering the fact that Charms menu is not so smooth to invoke,  it is very inconvenient manoeuvre  just to log out.

A trifle but one feature which I am using heavily because I am cleaning my mailbox for unwanted mails, is searching and deleting mails. Yahoo! Mail for web gives a 'select all' checkbox which can be used to delete all mails in one go (unfortunately, no sweep feature here like Outlook.com). Here that goddamn checkbox is also gone!

To be honest, I am clearly disappointed by this app. Newly refurbished Yahoo! Mail for web has cut some clutter and looks lot better now. Though spam control, deleting and filtering of mails is still an issue there but atleast it is lot more usable than this native app, unless ofcourse you want to use it for its live tile!

There is a lot of ground for this app to cover but Madam Mayer has taken first step and as they say journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!

Comments

Praeek Jain said…
how to sign out from yahoo mail..??
Do you mean how to sign out from this app? You need to go to settings charm and there you will find logout.
Richard JB said…
where is the settings charm?? Ugh...Im using mouse anyway.
Richard, I know it's a little clumsy! You need to hover mouse over right edge of the screen and charms menu will show up. Settings is a part of this.
On the yahoo app there is NO sign out like on other e mail accounts such as g mail or AOL.
Jane Rodgers said…
Not only how do you sign out....but how do you find your contacts? How do you Print and email? How do you change the column size? It IS terrible!!! I'll be using gmail more and more
akirkpat01 said…
There was a sign out option in the charm bar, but a few months back it disappeared, never to be seen again.

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