CloudMagic isn't a new app, but people are constantly on the lookout for an alternative to default Gmail app that, for various reasons, doesn't meet their needs. If you personally need an email client that can support multiple accounts spread across different sites, something with lightning fast search, and something that doesn't make your eyes bleed, CloudMagic may just be the free app you've been looking for.

First, Some Background

CloudMagic comes to us from a developer of the same name, the folks who previously offered a zippy way to search through Gmail, Twitter, Exchange, Dropbox, and many other accounts. That app has since been removed, but you can check out Ryan's review of CloudMagic from a few years ago for an in-depth look.

This newer version takes much of the same functionality and applies it solely to email, repackaging it in a way that may be more palatable or simply more useful to a larger number of people. I don't typically need to search through my entire Dropbox account from my phone, but having speedy search results for email sounds compelling.

Is Searching Really Lightning Fast?

Fast, even magical, searching is the first thing you will currently see advertised on CloudMagic's Play Store page, and while I can't blame anyone for being skeptical, I've been pleasantly surprised. This app pulls up recent results instantly and goes on to dig for older content in, sometimes, the same amount of time.

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Of course, things slowed down when I switched from a fast Wi-Fi connection to significantly slower 3G. At speeds hovering around .12 mbps on Sprint's sluggish data network, CloudMagic pulled in results typically in under two seconds. Similar searches in the default Gmail app, while sometimes just as spiffy, other times would take closer to 8 seconds to kick in. I didn't perform anything remotely resembling exhaustive testing, so your mileage, obviously, may vary.

Unfortunately, CloudMagic's searches aren't always thorough. If the app has yet to index older messages, it doesn't display them in results, and it doesn't provide a message saying that there may be more on the way. So when I search for something and only see two emails show up, it takes a separate search in Gmail to realize that there should have been eight.

What Else Is There?

There's a lot to like here. CloudMagic supports up to five email accounts spread across Gmail, Google Apps, Exchange, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, iCloud, Office 365, Mail.com, GMX, AOL, and other IMAP accounts.

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Not only that, it comes with a unified inbox. The navigation menu lists each accounts separately along with the option to view them all at once. The app assigns each account a color, and it marks them subtly on the right hand side so you can tell them apart at a glance.

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If it isn't apparent by now, the app's UI is very holo-friendly. Yet to go even further, the entire experience is just top notch. Animations are smooth, conversations are threaded, fonts are easy on the eyes, icons are spaced out appropriately, and settings are very organized. The interface adapts to tablets, and the message that pops up in the notification drawer can be deleted, archived, or marked as read without launching the app.

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There's also the option to lock the app down with a four-digit passcode. This way you can keep friends or family members with access to your tablet from snooping through your mail.

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Yet for an app with this much complexity, the settings are somewhat limited. Even the default Gmail app comes with more options. If you want to change whether the sender image is displayed or whether to skip to the next email after marking one as read, you're out of luck. There isn't the option to switch from one email to the next either, nor are there buttons that skip around either. Long story short, you essentially have to use this app the way it comes or download something else.

Should You Use It?

CloudMagic may not be a new app, but it's not exactly old either. Even with somewhere between 100,000 to 500,000 users, the current version is just 1.0.10.8, so there's time for the app to gain more features in future updates. That said, the out-of-the-box experience is remarkably solid, and it's somewhat refreshing to come across such a usable email client that lacks the complexity of an app such as K-9 Mail. CloudMagic isn't perfect, but it's now one of the first email clients I would recommend to Android users looking for an alternative.

Update: As some readers have pointed out, CloudMagic indexes your email using its servers. Whether you want to trust a third-party to properly manage a copy of your messages is up to you. Here is the company's privacy policy for those who are concerned.