Cannonball (for iPhone)

Pros Novel design. Swipe and drag-and-drop gestures.

Cons Creates distractions in your email. Blatant advertising. No real-time search results. Bottom Line Free email client apps typically provide some unique feature for managing email, but Cannonball takes a surprising turn with what it has to offer, and most users will want to avoid it. 

By Jill Duffy

Email client apps should make your email more manageable. They should give you new ways to read and interact with your messages. And above all else, they should make email better. The free Cannonball email client app for iPhone (it's full official App Store name is "Cannonball Email App for Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail and AOL") quite frankly horrified me with its blatant addition of advertising and promotion of email subscriptions. I simply cannot think of a productivity app I could recommend less.

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To give credit where it's due, the app does work. There are swipe motions and other touch gestures that let you manage your email fairly well on a tiny device. As with other email client apps, Cannonball streamlines multiple inboxes, letting you see in one place messages in your Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, AOL, and other email accounts.

Setting up Cannonball seems straightforward, until the app starts asking you to respond to Buzzfeed-like personality quizzes. "Which of these outfits most closely represent your style?"


Cannonball (for iPhone)

The purpose of this little questionnaire, it turns out, is to stick supposedly relevant advertising at the top of your email client app screen. You might also notice prompts to sign up for new email subscriptions. It's egregious advertising at worst and an utter distraction at best—and email itself is already distracting.

The only way I can possibly imagine someone liking Cannonball is if he or she somehow wants to spend more time on email, or is desperate for messages to ignite the online shopping spirit.

If that does not describe you, however (and I reckon it doesn't), you'll be better off with practically any other email client. I love the Editors' Choice standalone Gmail app for Google accounts for its fast and thorough search. Mailbox, which supports more than just Google mail accounts, continues to be popular because it gives you quick touch gestures for doing something with every email that comes in quickly. CloudMagic isn't half shabby either, and it works well across a variety of Web accounts. I'd avoid Cannonball at all costs, especially given how many other good choices there are.

For more recommendations and advice regarding email, see PCMag's review of SaneBox, as well as these tips for managing email.

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