Communications Articles

An Alternative to Outlook? A Fast and Affordable Unified Communications Solution – eM Client Review

by Michele Nachum
Published on 1 August 2011

webmail client reviewOkay, here's the deal. eM Client looks a lot like Microsoft Outlook and as an Outlook user, I wondered what this email application has that Outlook does not. I have been using Outlook my whole adult life - so I didn't want to cheat on my email application with just ANY fly-by-the-night email product that comes along. But eM Client did intrigue me and I took it out for a spin. And you know what, I liked it.

Jerry Javornicky, founder and CEO of eM Client says that he wanted to provide the small to mid-sized market space a faster and cheaper alternative to Outlook. But he stresses, "eM Client is not just about email, it is a unified communications tool that that can be a repository for all your communications needs from sharing files on your desktop, to meeting applications and even hosting multiple instant messaging (IM) tools from Gmail to Skype."

Javornicky says that eM Client is your basic one-stop-shop. You'll never have to toggle back and forth - all of your IM and email accounts can be seen in one central place.

Outlook Killer or Not?

Despite a user interface that looks remarkedly similar to Outlook, there are a quite a lot of differences between eM Client and Outlook. The "Outlook Killer" as some bloggers and reviewers have termed eM Client, is free for personal use, though it does offer subscription levels for small to mid-sized businesses in its pro category starting at a reasonable $49.95 (60-day free trial and volume licensing is available). Secondly, eM Client has a more universal appeal in that it will sync easily with other email solutions such as Gmail.

One of its top billing features is that eM Client is able to conduct fast searches - helping you to locate emails amongst the hundreds or even thousands of emails you failed to either delete or archive in seconds.

I tried it and it worked in two seconds. I counted.

What Does it Look Like

The eM Client user interface is fairly neutral and clean - easy to navigate and if you are familiar with Outlook, you will feel right at home. The ribbon is nearly identical to Outlook but the right pane displays your Contact Details in a way that I have not seen on Outlook. For each email you select, you can view the contact information as well as your send and receive history with the individual.

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On the left hand side, you can access your Inbox, Sent items, Deleted items, Drafts, Categories, Junk email and more. Similar to Outlook and other email products, you can add in contacts, tasks and input your appointments into the calendar - all found below on the left pane.

If you want to use eM Client, the download process is straight forward. You will go to their website and download the free license. During that process, you will enter in your primary email account and password so eM Client can pull all of your emails through to its platform. If you want the pro version, you will have to add in credit card information.

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eM Client Free vs. Pro Versions

The good news for people who sign up for the free version of eM Client, is that you can have everything you need in an email product with a few extras. In addition to sending and receiving emails, you have access to calendar and contact features as well as tools for developing a professional looking email signature, and organizing your emails into categories - something that Outlook users are familiar with.

The one main difference between free and pro is that with the pro version you can sync up all your emails, contacts and calendar with your mobile phone or tablet. This is part of the Synch 2eM Service and is offered at $49.95 per year with a 60-day free trial (as stated earlier in the review). This service not only allows you to sync your emails from Gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo, etc., but will also allow you to integrate in your contacts and calendar appointments to your phone or tablet as well. You can also use this service to sync with iPhone, any of the Android phones, Windows Phone 7 as well as Symbian and Nokia phones. Your data is backed-up and guarded 24/7 in co-operation with Amazon Web Services (Amazon EC2).

Set Up:

Like other email products, eM Client supports standard email protocols SMTP, IMAP, POP3. eM Client works nicely on most versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. I use Windows 7 and will say the product and runs pretty smoothly.

eMClient will import your messages from several of the popular email solutions such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and others. All you have to do is input your email address and password of your main email account during the sign up phase and eM Client will do the rest. Within a few seconds I could see all of my emails from one of my Hotmail accounts. If you want to add other email accounts, you can do so through the Account Wizard.

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The calendar function, which is available to both free and pro users, is another very Outlook-like feature. You can create meetings and appointments, share-out calendars and tasks with your colleagues and view your calendar by day, month, week, agenda, work and more. eM Client will synchronize your calendars with services such as Gmail, Zimbra, Yahoo, Apple Server or Oracle (using CalDAV).

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Contacts - Adding and Importing:

Like Outlook, eM Client will allow you to manually input contact information. In addition, if you receive an email from someone who is not in your contacts, eMClient will automatically allow you to add that person to your contacts. In addition, you can also import that information from your Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo accounts. In addition, you can import contacts from standard Comma Separated Value format (.CSV) files as well as from Facebook. I will admit, I had some trouble with the Facebook tool. The program would not allow me to import - it took a few times, but finally it worked.

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Additional Features:

Instant Messaging : eM Client supports ICQ, MSN, Facebook chat, Yahoo Chat, AOL and others. The nice thing is you can add in multiple accounts - using eM Client as your main interface. Like other products, you can display your contacts in a "floating window" so that you can see who is online at all times.

Multilanguage Support : eM Client supports the following languages: English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Czech.

Is it for you?

eM Client is probably most useful for customers who are currently using the free email services such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail and want the more professional look and capabilities of Microsoft Outlook - minus the cost. For consultants or small businesses with little or no budget, the free product offers you everything you could want in an email product including calendar and contacts features, as well as with a few extras such as being able to host all of your IM accounts, send out new emails with a signature so that your correspondance has a level of professionalism, categorize your emails and more. That said, today most professionals - from consultants to owners of small businesses - want to be able to sync their emails and calendar on their mobile phones. In that case, you will want to purchase the eM Client pro version.

Overall, the eM Client is a solid product that will not dissapoint. My recommendation is to give it a whirl.


Apps mentioned in this article