Technology eReport
Volume 5, Number 3
August 2006

Table of Contents
Past Issues

Surviving Email

WordPerfect Mail—Is It the Perfect Solution?

By jennifer j. rose

 

Corel ushered in email with its release of WordPerfect 12, followed by WordPerfectX3 in 2006. Is it two decades too late to compete effectively with Outlook? Its slick, clean, and stylish interface lured me into giving it a test run. Admittedly, it doesn’t take much for me to get all worked up over a new email program.

WordPerfect Mail promised powerful search tools, spam protection, rules, multiple accounts, aliases, spell checking, signatures, text formatting tools, and insulation from the nasty viruses attracted to Outlook—all of what you’d expect in any modern email client. Mailing list management and RSS news feeds were part of the package, which also included a contact manager and a calendar. The program was as seductive as those late-night infomercials promising all shapes of self-improvement.

It was a snap to import everything stored in Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape, and Eudora. Importing mail from other programs such as Pegasus, Thunderbird, and Incredimail wasn’t automatic, involving some two-step workarounds. But while it can import messages, folders, account settings, and contacts, it will not import rules (WordPerfect Mail’s name for filters). And that can spell some frustrating hours for those who’ve operated with a detailed filtering system with a previous email client. Simply setting up rules was a somewhat clunky process compared to other email programs.

“Categories,” WordPerfect Mail’s term for labels, came in an infinitely customizable palette of colors, a cosmetically appealing improvement over other email programs.

When it came to synchronizing between two or more computers, WordPerfect Mail let us down again. The knowledge base suggested simply copying and transferring the Datastore between systems.

What was genuinely outstanding was its robust spam protection, provided by SAproxy Pro, which came with a training database, tagging options, and whitelisting and blacklisting features. This spam feature outperformed other email clients.

But what really impressed me about WordPerfect Mail was the level of support. Within the program itself was a Help feature that lived up to its name. The knowledge base, http://support.corel.com/scripts/rightnow.cfg/php.exe/enduser/std_alp.php, had answers to questions such as synching an inbox from a desktop to a laptop, allowing an untrusted SSL certificate, moving WordPerfect Mail from one computer to another, and listing contacts by last name. There is even a news group devoted to this e-mail client, available at news://cnew.corel.com/WordPerfectMail.

Is WordPerfect Mail simply Outlook in new clothes? The answer is “probably yes.” For those in a WordPerfect shop, it’s a long-awaited solution and a pretty good one, overwhelming Outlook in enough ways that it’s worth making the switch. Will we see a stampede of users migrating to WordPerfect Mail from Outlook? I wouldn’t bet the farm.

Those who still harbor fond memories of WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS and the ancient days before integrated email packages may find the leap to WordPerfect Mail steep. For every one of us antediluvians, there are three new users for whom WordPerfect12 and WordPerfect X3 are their very first office suites, and they’ll find this system the best solution since sliced bread and colored margarine.

WordPerfect Mail is available as a standalone product from Corel.com for $69 (downloadable for $59) or as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X3. And for tire-kickers, there’s even a free 30-day trial available at http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Corel3/Trials/Login&pid=1047025149062&cid=1047025152568.

 

jennifer j. rose, editor-in-chief of GPSolo, receives her email at jjrose@jjrose.com in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.

 

 

 

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