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TheBat! Email client 

TheBat! V.8 is the latest incarnation of a versatile shareware email client which is available in both Professional and Home versions.

All email clients are not equal. TheBat!, which has evolved over a number years, provides a wide range of user features and a high degree of protection from malicious attacks and junk mail. Furthermore, for users of the Professional version there is Voyager which is a portable secure email client which can be launched from USB or portable media on a Windows computer.

TheBat! is a 35MB download from ritlabs.com and is readily installed as a 30-day trial version. Its left hand vertical pane then shows the mail folder structure with the right hand upper pane showing the emails in the selected folder while the lower pane showing the contents of the particular email highlighted in the pane above.

A series of pull down menus shows the available options for handling, marking and archiving received mails as well as the wide range of settings and tools that are available for sending mails.

Using the Folder pull-down menu it is a simple task to set up folders, sub-folders or even sub-sub folders into which messages can be dragged and dropped (or copied) as one sets up a convenient message base structure that meets your needs. As well as outbox and sent mail etc. folders there is also one for Trash. This is particularly useful as it gives one the opportunity to retrieve messages that have been deleted in error.

Furthermore, even when messages are deleted from a folder they can still be accessed via Folder/Browse Deleted Messages until one actually compacts that particular folder. While this can be a useful facility to enable one to go back over past (and almost forgotten) email history, compacting all or part of the message base at intervals will prevent it becoming excessively large..

The search facilities are extensive and enable one to employ a wide range of criteria including (or excluding) particular words in the message header, body, sender etc. fields in the messages in the folders that you have selected. Date and size range are also options.

TheBat! Can handle a number of different email accounts, via IMAP, POP or MAPI protocols. This provides a useful way of keeping work and private emails apart and yet conveniently together under one umbrella. This is made relatively straightforward as it can import messages and contacts from a number of other email clients. Furthermore, there are built-in HTML and image viewers which are claimed to invulnerable from attacks.

In addition to the search facilities, the tools menu provides access to the scheduler and fast templates which, as one gains experience with using the program, will enable one to automate and speed up the way one works. This is an important issue because, although it is easy to get started with TheBat!, it takes time to be able to take advantage of its wide range of features.

In addition, this email client incorporates a wide range of privacy and security options such as PGP and S/MIME via internal implementation or Microsoft CryptoAPI. While these will not be of value to every user, there will be many who will find them of value although, as must be appreciated, choosing the right options and setting them up is a task for the advanced user.

The registration key for the Home Edition, which is for non-commercial use, can be purchased from ritlabs.com for £20.34 while the Professional version (for commercial use) is priced £45.54. The major difference between the two is that the latter incorporates the encryption features as well as users being able to download and use TheBat! Voyager for mobile use.

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Features12
Performance12
Value12
Ease of use12
Design12
OverallTheBat! Email client rated 80 out of 100

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