It’s an issue all computer users face: Does it make more sense to download a desktop e-mail client like Sparrow or Postbox or is Web-based e-mail such as Gmail the best choice? Unsurprisingly, there is no clear answer. For many people a high-end desktop e-mail client is the better choice. For just as many others, Web-based e-mail is more efficient. Fortuitously, the Lifehacker Website recently ran an article identifying which people are better suited to desktop e-mail and who should think about using Web-based e-mail. Their list, though by no means definitive, definitely helps answer the desktop-vs.-Web-based e-mail dilemma.

The desktop client

The Lifehacker story does a good job identifying which computer users are good for which system. For example, Lifehacker recommends that you choose a desktop e-mail client if you regularly find yourself accessing e-mail messages when you’re offline. For obvious reasons, you can’t do this with a Web-based e-mail system. A desktop system might make more sense, too, if you own many different e-mail addresses with several different domains. Finally, if you use security features – including encryption or digital signing – or you plan to filter your e-mail messages by subject header, sender or keywords, a desktop client might be the better choice in your case.

When Web-based makes sense

Lifehacker recommends the use of Web-based e-mail if you need a single unified inbox for all of your e-mail messages and you only have a small number of e-mail addresses to monitor. Web-based e-mail might also be the better choice if you like using Web-based programs instead of downloading them to your computer and if you feel more at ease storing your e-mail messages in the cloud rather than on your system.

Plenty of choices

Here is the best news of all: Whether you go with a desktop e-mail client or a Web-based service, take comfort knowing you have plenty of excellent choices to help you manage and organize your e-mail messages. Desktop services such as Sparrow and Postbox give you a wide range of organizing features. On the Web, the tried-and-true Gmail remains one of the strongest e-mail clients, whether desktop or Web-based, available to computer users.

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