Off The Point

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Exchange 2010 SP1 showdown: Airmail3 vs. vs. Outlook 2016 vs. Spark

I’m not an Email perfectionist, but as a software engineer I like having a good (read: functional and pretty) experience when using any software written for human consumption. With my recent change to professionally using a MacBook Pro, I’ve had another chance to look at the MacOS email application status quo. The only real yay-or-nay criterium was proper Microsoft Exchange Server support, namely 2010 SP1, due to my professional environment (yes, before you get the pitchforks, I know, It’s ancient but out of my control).

I know that is pretty solid and that was my go-to since I didn’t want to invest a great deal of time into the setup and it’s quite well integrated into the whole MacOS experience. Setting up the Exchange server worked fine, it downloaded all Emails and the grass was green. However, it has a weird and annoying issue: it’s not downloading messages for hours. At some point during the day, I’ll get a ton of messages, hours old. I cannot trigger that download with the get new messages button. is out.

Outlook 2016

Since we are a proper corporation and blah blah, we have Office licenses. So I install it and lo-and-behold, that particular Outlook version is not supported on High Sierra. But Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are working fine. Well, just upgrade, right? No, since the updated version only supports Exchange Server 2010 SP2. Close, but no cigar.


A quick bing (haha, just kidding, Google) revealed that there exists another free and nice Email app for MacOS called Spark. To make it short: I couldn’t get it to talk to our Exchange server, although it should support Exchange server from 2007 onwards. No matter what I configured, it never succeeded in connecting, and, even worse, it never showed what was actually going wrong, just showing a generic it didn’t work.


Enter Airmail. It’s got rave reviews everytwhere and I was excited to see what it could do. It talked to Exchange out of the box, which crowned it as the winner of this comparison. At this point, I was pretty desperate anyway. Just take my money and sync, please. Oh, and it’s pretty and functional. Airmail3 is pretty

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