In a day of time consuming tasks and bloated software solutions from
mega-sized software companies it is refreshing to find a simple, time-saving, LITTLE gem
of a software package like The Bat. I know that the name sounds funny but stick with me on
this one this is one serious package. First off, the download is under 1.5 MB. That is not
a typo. The installed size of the program is just over 1.7 MB making it one of the most
hard drive friendly e-mail clients you are likely to download or install. But don't let
the size fool you because in this case good things definitely come in small packages.
The installation was a breeze. Also a breeze is the configuration of as many e-mail accounts as you want to check. All you need to know is the incoming (POP3) and outgoing (SMTP) addresses your ISP uses. Importing messages and address books is also a snap and The Bat supports more different packages and formats than any of the big guys do. I imported my entire Netscape Messenger mail database and address book in less than two minutes. As a matter of fact, from the time I installed the program till the time I used it to check my messages for the first time took all of ten minutes.
It has it's own dialer which detects the dial up networking settings you are using and you can dial in, check you mail and disconnect without ever launching your browser. Secondly, the program is absolutely crammed with features, many of which you will not find anywhere else. One of the really neat ones is the Mail Ticker. It is like a stock ticker that visually displays the total number of messages, and the header from each message in a scrolling bar. Another is the templates feature. Sure some other programs have templates with limited features but The Bat's templates actually save you time in using your e-mail. A different template is set up for different actions and each template is fully customizable. For instance you want to reply to a particular message so you highlight the message and click reply. The editor window opens with all of the addressing and subject lines filled, the first line reads Hello <Who You Are Replying To>, On <Date Message Was Sent> you wrote: <quoted text from message> (all of which is different colored text) and the cursor is placed here ready for you to type your reply. It might not seem like much but I figure that I save at least 20 minutes a day in typing time just by using the default templates. It is something you have to try to believe how much easier things get when automated.
The program is a SPAM Killer too. I have seen a lot of different approaches to message filtering but none are as easy as The Bat's. You receive a message from someone you don't want messages from, or with a subject you don't have an interest in etc., simply right click on the message and select create Filter from the context menu. It really is that simple.
About the only downfall the program currently has is an inability to display HTML formatted mail. But I have been assured by the creators of the program that this is coming soon.
Overall this is an excellent choice as an e-mail client whether you have single or multiple mail accounts to manage. It is packed with features, easy to use, well supported and inexpensive.
You cannot go wrong with The Bat. Give it a try and I am sure you will agree.
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