The Internet giants--Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo--undoubtedly lead the Web-based e-mail race, but that isn't stopping Global Mail Exchange (GMX) from releasing a compelling alternative. This solution for home users and small- and medium-size businesses supports POP3, IMAP, and SMTP protocols and lets you forward up to ten e-mail accounts to your GMX account. Add in a sleeker and better-organized user interface that combines the best aspects of each of its rivals, and GMX becomes a real competitor. However, a 5GB limit on storage could be a deal breaker for some.
Web Mail with a Desktop Feel
Creating a GMX e-mail address was a cinch; even though the company claims to have more than 10 million users, it touts the availability of your favorite e-mail names, which may be taken by users on other providers. We had no problem finding a username with just our first initial and last name, which is always taken by the more popular Web mail services. You can choose from two suffixes including @gmx.com and @gmx.us.
Running on Ajax, the GMX Web mail interface provides a Microsoft Outlook look and feel. The blue-and-white portal is self-explanatory: A left-hand sidebar contains a list of folders, including Inbox, Outbox, and Trash. The standard controls, such as Compose, Forward, and Reply, appear along the top of the window. You can easily organize your e-mails by creating a folder (which appears in the left-hand window) and dragging messages to it. Similar to Yahoo Mail, messages appear as tabs, so you can easily flip among open messages in one window.
Those who like to add some spice to their messages will enjoy the ability to add photos and emoticons. The user-friendly interface is compatible with Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows and works across browsers, including Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Additionally, GMX Web Mail does a stellar job of incorporating office tools. The Organizer is a fully functional Web calendar that lets you easily add appointments and invite guests to events via e-mail. The Address Book allows you to keep track of all your contacts in an organized fashion. The ability to organize your contacts by dragging and dropping them into different groups is an addition we wish other Web mail providers would include.
An E-mail Portal
Thanks to what GMX calls its Mail Collector, all messages from existing accounts--any POP3, IMAP, SMTP account, or Web Mail service such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail--can be forwarded, collected, and sorted into separate folders in your GMX mailbox. Setup is simple; to configure a Web-based account, simply input your e-mail address and password into GMX. We appreciated being able to send e-mails from GMX using any of our other addresses.
GMX's Web site brags about its spacious 5GB mailbox, of which 1GB can be used to as a virtual hard drive to store photos, music, or videos. Additionally, each e-mail can have attachments as large as 50MB. However, compared with other Web mail services, that's not much: Yahoo Mail has unlimited storage space, and Gmail offers around 10GB. Though 5GB of storage will leave enough room for 10 million e-mail messages, we wish there were an upgrade for more space, especially if you're importing a number of e-mail addresses into the Mail Collector and you tend to receive lots of messages with high-resolution images or other large attachments.
Virus and Spam Protection
GMX doesn't skimp on security. Every incoming e-mail, including messages retrieved in the Mail Collector, is automatically inspected for viruses and other malware. Additionally, the company provides seven antispam modules, including a Spam Server Blocker, GMX Anti-Spam List, and a Global Anti-Spam List.
GMX Global Mail Exchange Beta Verdict
Those looking for a Web-based e-mail client similar to what they're used to on the desktop and that can pull in e-mail from multiple accounts will like GMX Global Mail Exchange Beta. Though its limited 5GB of storage space is a potential issue for those with a large inventory of messages, GMX's stand-out features, including its desktop look and feel and Mail Collector function, make it a strong option.