There was a time when webmail struggled to gain users' attention, but no more. It has become a standard and everybody has at least one inbox to check periodically. The undisputed leaders of the market, Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, have shared the market leaving little room to a new competitor. And yet GMX managed to sneak in offering its users a bunch of options unavailable in the aforementioned webmail titans.
Global Mail Exchange (GMX) brings a lovely AJAX interface and ease of use to satisfy any home-users' needs. According to the holders of the service 11 million members enjoy the benefits and functionality of the webmail. And judging by the features sported the number cannot but grow in the future unless the main competitors decide to do something about it.
The capabilities of the new player on the webmail market are quite astounding as it allows the collection of third-party email accounts in a single inbox. This means that the contents of inboxes from popular and in some cases less popular webmail services can be viewed directly from GMX. It supports POP3, IMAP and SMTP protocols as well as mobile device integration for ultimate portability.
As for the space available for the inbox, GMX boasts 5GB, which is more than a home user can handle. The surprise comes when it gets to the maximum size of an attachment as this webmail permits sending off data packages of up to 50MB.
Through its amazing look and feel, GMX permits working on several emails at once, as well as sending them from the third-party inboxes gathered with the use of Mail Collector. Although everything looks simple, this webmail service provides the user with flexibility on many levels.
It features an organizer to help in better planning the daily tasks. This service allows drag and drop for moving the events to a different time and date, plus a full set of options designed to alert, define a recurring event, set discussion topics or start and end time and date (you can make it an all-day event as well). Even more, events can be exported/imported with the greatest ease into CSV format.
As each webmail today sports an address book, GMX aligns to this standard by providing the user with a rich palette of options and settings in this sense. All contacts are well-managed by arranging them into categories/groups. For each of them GMX makes available three default sets of information categories covering personal, business and other type of details, but the flexibility of the entire service shows its presence by permitting the creation of new categories, as the user sees fit.
The info on a contact includes email address, phone number, instant messenger IDs, physical address, company, position, country, city, etc. There is practically a field for everything, and should there be anything else to add, there is always a “More Information” box where you can put it.
A unique service available in GMX Mail is file storage and sharing. Here the user has the possibility to hive away different files organized in preset folders. 1GB is at your service to store documents, music files, photos, videos or attachments. Adding new folders and subfolders is not restricted at all, this adding to the functionality and flexibility of the feature.
The top restriction for uploading the files is that they should not exceed 500MB and, of course, for fast jobs a good Internet connection is required. Multi-file uploading is possible so that waiting for an upload to finish is eliminated. However, keeping connected to the service is an absolute must.
Everything on file storage sounds great, but testing the capabilities proved there was still work to be done in this area. Users may feel uneasy about the fact that there is no progress bar showing the status of the transfer or at least its speed. All you get is a screen notifying that files are being transferred and advising to wait; the only options at hand are closing the window (which in our case did not work) or canceling the entire deal. On the bright side, it worked great with files of 20MB in size and lower.
Getting back to the webmail service provided, flexibility supposes configurable settings, and this is exactly what GMX provides. Everything is so straightforward that every user should feel at ease with setting everything up.
The possibilities for Email section are a no-brainer and include choosing the amount of time messages should be preserved in a specific folder, adding email addresses that should be forwarded to the current inbox (GMX allows up to 10 addresses), creating your signature, setting up the auto-responder, adding more third-party webmail inboxes to the Mail Collector, and filter rules. There is only one downside to this one: once you create a GMX email address, add it to the list and then delete it there won't be any possibility to enlist it again. The message returned when trying to do this is that the email address is taken and thus no longer available.
The latter are of great interest as they allow you to define rules for managing particular messages. Thus emails with specific particularities can be handled differently, according to your wish: delete automatically, forward to a different address, move to a folder, alter their priority, etc.
Security is an important aspect in webmail so GMX provides spam and antivirus protection. User input for selecting spam is limited to creating lists with allowed and blocked addresses. There is nothing advanced about this and we noticed that some perfectly valid email reached this ominous folder but as soon as we indicated that they were not spam, the service added them to the whitelist, no questions asked. The same goes for spams sneaking into the inbox folder.
A very interesting part of the Settings panel is “Experimental.” The section is similar to “Lab” in GMail account, and it is the part containing the latest features that have not been released yet. They include audio notification at incoming mail, error reporting add-on, enable color themes and image preview. There aren't too many add-ons present, and hopefully they'll multiply in order to expand the functionality of the service even more.
All in all, GMX proves to be a tough competitor for the webmail services on the market simply for the fact that it allows viewing third-party inboxes and because it promises no advertising whatsoever. Ever! Also, the slick looks and ease of use have a huge contribution to its success.
However, every once in a while it may give you a hard time with little things such as lack of file transfer details or deleting an address from Mail Collector (it takes a while to complete this procedure). We even encountered difficulties logging into the account as the password box did not work properly. But it provides features much too important and useful to trip on the small, though sometimes nagging things.