Two days ago I took a look at CloudMagic's Android email client, and I have to admit, it's a well-designed piece of software. Its blazing fast searching is its claim to fame, but even without this functionality, it's an attractive, holo-friendly app with support for multiple accounts and a unified inbox. But - and for many, this is a big but - the app indexes your mail on CloudMagic's servers. Deal breaker? In that case, here's another email client that might just fit your needs, assuming you have an Exchange account, another service pushed by Microsoft, or a Google Apps account. Nine isn't quite as versatile, but its attractive interface alone makes it worth a look.

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What's Nine All About?

Nine is skewed towards professional use, but there's no reason you can't rely on it for personal messages. Actually, there's one big one. Nine supports various email services, but Gmail doesn't make the list (unless you're using a Google Apps account). There's also no support for Yahoo either.

Supported servers:

  • Exchange Server 2003 SP2/SP3 and above
  • Office 365
  • Hotmail
  • Outlook.com
  • Gmail (Google Apps account only)
  • Other servers supported Exchange ActiveSync

This will prohibit a large number of us from relying on the app right out of the gate, but that doesn't mean there isn't something worth seeing here. Unfortunately, I won't have too much to show you. Since Nine doesn't support any of the accounts that I actually use, I created one at Outlook.com just for the sake of testing things out. So here it is, the one email in my inbox, along with its presence in my notification drawer.

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Nothing here is going to blow your mind, but that's part of the point. Nine isn't flashy, it isn't trying to revolutionize email, and it isn't trying to do more than deliver your messages. If you don't want gimmicks, this is a serious option that presents the necessities without sacrificing style in the process.

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Many of Nine's settings are context aware. That means if you want to edit the way the app handles searching or tweak the options available when composing a new message, you hit the settings button while you're on the relevant screen. It's far from a revolutionary concept, but it works really well here. Dividing preferences up prevents them from getting too overwhelming.

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This is good, because Nine has even more options tucked away elsewhere, and they're pretty in-depth. You can handle what should happen after deleting a message, toggle sender image, enable swipe-to-delete, tweak sync schedule, limit email download size, choose message formats, set custom ringtones, determine sync ranges, and much more. The app supports rich-text editing, syncing calendar and contacts with stock apps, and some unexciting features that are, again, geared towards professional users.

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Should You Download It?

As clean and usable as Nine is, it just isn't the app for your average user. Setting aside the privacy concerns inherent in letting a third-party index your mail, CloudMagic is just more compelling out of the box, even if it comes with far fewer options. The supported services are too limiting, with the lack of general Gmail accounts eliminating this option for most people I know personally.

But that's not the point. Nine is an app for Exchange users, and if you've been struggling to find something that doesn't freak out when trying to access your Exchange account, this app is tailored made to fill that role. Except, there's one more thing - Nine isn't free. You can use it without paying for two weeks, but after that, it costs $9.99 to keep installed.

Thanks, Ben!