Five reasons why I don’t read mail on the Nokia 770

I hardly ever read my mail on the Nokia 770. I tried many times, sometimes forcing myself to do so to figure out why, but it just doesn’t work for me. The email application on the tablet simply doesn’t match the way I read my mail.
Here are the reasons why.
I receive around one hundred messages a day, after messages from lists have been filtered. Most are simply informational and are deleted once read. Some require me to perform some action and are kept until I have done my duty. A few deserve some thought and an answer.
I usually handle my mail in the same order. First a quick scan of the mailbox reading and deleting. The remaining messages require some action and some time, and they’re handled in order of importance.

Unfortunately, scanning the mailbox is impossibly slow.

Rendering a message can take from 5 to 30 seconds. Even a two line plain text message takes a noticeable while to show. A longer message, maybe html formated, takes a long time to load. All in all, just moving through the mailbox is slow and tedius.

Deleting while reading doesn’t work right.

I delete maybe two out of three messages right away. There is, however, no easy way to delete a message and move on to the next (unread) message. In the mailbox view there is a delete button on the toolbar, but in the message view its gone, even though there’s room for it on the toolbar. To delete a message from the message view, I have to use the menu, which besides the extra clicks also closes the message view and returns me to the mailbox view.
A simple thing as “delete and show next” becomes a rather complicated series of actions involving multiple windows and 10-12 taps on the screen. It is too cumbersome and too slow.

No easy “batch” delete or archive.

If I have many messages to delete or archive, I have to do it one message at a time. There is a way to mark several messages for batch deletion or archival, but that too involves menus and submenus and soon becomes slow and tedious. There really should be some easier way to mark a message, for example by clicking in the column where the mark is displayed.
Writing mail works well.

Sending mail, however, is more problematic.

The setting for the SMTP server used to send mails is attached to the mailbox, not to the Internet connection used to send the mails. Few SMTP servers allow connections from all the places I could imagine bringing my tablet, and none should.
As a result it can be hard to get rid of the message so painstakingly scribbled in the metro. There are several solutions, but none satisfactory. The simplest is to always send through the same connection, but that will almost certainly be via the phone, i.e., the slowest and most expensive connection. Another work-around could be to have separate mailboxes for each connection, but that too will soon become tedious, as you use the device in still more places. Need to send a mail from the airport, create a new mail-profile. Of cause, you can just change the SMTP setting each time you change location, if you can remember them all.
The only real solution I can come up with, is to make the SMTP server setting a part of the connetion rather than a part of the mailbox settings.
My work-around has been to enable SASL authentication on my own mail server, and use that from everywhere, but how many in the intended target group has that option.

Imap-support is too weak.

I use IMAP almost exclusively, so I can read my mail from a variety of places, and with many different mail readers. The force of IMAP is that I always see the same messages an folders, and if I change something in one place
I will see the updated view from the others.
The email application on the Nokia 770 breaks that very important feature of IMAP. It just uses IMAP to retrieve massages, but it doesn’t properly synchronise the local view with the server, in case I have made changes from somewhere else, and it doesn’t record changes made locally on the IMAP server. Most annoyingly, when I send a messages from the 770 I want it to appear on the Sent folder on my IMAP server.
The application also doesn’t support remote folders, so an archived message on the 770 will not be archived on the IMAP server. The folders on the tablet don’t correspond to folders on the server.
It totally defeats the very purpose of IMAP.
In the end I’m better off using a web based mail reader, but then, what is the purpose of the email application on the tablet? It can only work if its the primary mail reader, but it is much too simple for that.
So the five reasons are:

  • Browsing and sorting is too slow.
  • Deletion while reading is too cumbersome.
  • Batch operations are very tedious
  • Sending mail from many different locations is difficult
  • IMAP support is way too weak.


7 responses to “Five reasons why I don’t read mail on the Nokia 770”

  1. Email app is being fixed. Check out:

  2. I’ve seen that, but now they got my feed back too 🙂

    I really should check to see if all the points are in bugzilla.

  3. The best way really is to find an smtp server that supports smtp auth over ssl and subission on port 587. That should work from basically anywhere, and is supported by the mail client.

    I use one of our smtp servers to relay outgoing mail for all my accounts.

  4. I have added SMTP auth via SASL on my own mail server, but how many people will be able to do that? The tablet is not a tool for system administrators, after all.

  5. Teemu Harju avatar
    Teemu Harju

    I use email on my 770. But then again I use Gmail via the web browser. I haven’t even tried to configure the mail application after seeing all these comments about it.

  6. Just a tip: you can use the gmail smtp, regardless of the network connection.

  7. You can use gmail smtp everywhere, but it’ll automatically rewrite the “From:” header to your gmail address.

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