Hands-On with Newton for Windows 10

Posted on August 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Windows 10 with 46 Comments

Hands-On with Newton for Windows 10

I may have found my new email app: Newton for Windows 10 combines the minimalist look and feel I want with an efficient workflow that really puts it over the top.

There’s just one gotcha, and it’s going to be a showstopper for many: Newton isn’t free. In fact, it’s quite expensive.

Newton, sometimes called Newton Mail, is a product that’s been available on Android and iOS for years—literally, it debuted way back in 2013—and it’s developed a loyal following. Newton is also available on the Mac—the “simple, clean and beautiful” design of the Mac version is the basis for the Windows version—leaving only a web client (that would work everywhere, including Chrome OS) missing in action.

But what Newton does deliver on Windows 10 is something that’s been sorely lacking from any Windows email client, whether you’re talking about the tinkertoy Mail app that’s built into Windows 10 or the over-the-top complex Outlook 2016 that business users are saddled with. That is, Newton is clean, simple, and efficient. And the learning curve is small.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I recently complained about Outlook 2016 because I reevaluate software regularly, and I brought this pig of a product up to see if anything had changed for the better. It had not, at least not enough to make me ever want to use it. And I was struck by how terrible this application was compared to superior implementations like Outlook for Android and iOS.

I’ve been using Google’s Inbox client, on the web on Windows 10, and in mobile app form on Android and iPhone, and it’s just hard to find a native application that works as well on Windows 10. The built-in Mail app is a joke, as I’ve noted, with gigantic touch-friendly controls whether you’re using touch or not. And I’m not normally a fan of third-party mail apps. Especially those that aren’t available everywhere. Consistency matters too.

But Newton. Oh, my.

Here’s what Newton delivers.

A “simple, clean and beautiful” user interface. As Newton claims, this app is nicely minimalistic. Is, in fact, even more minimalistic than the Inbox web app I currently use and prefer.

Efficient. Thanks to simple and easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts (CTRL + ENTER to send, “E” for archive, “ESC” for close, and so on), touch typists such as myself will find Newton to be the most efficient email client they’ve ever used. This thing is wonderful.

Configurable. While some configuration options are missing (see below), you can tailor this app’s behavior in important ways. For example, I prefer to return to the inbox view after I archive or delete an email. That’s not the default, but you can change it.

Full-featured. Newton includes all the basics you’d expect, but also supports Windows 10 features like push notifications, plus Read Receipts, Send Later, Snooze, Connected Apps, Sender Profile and Undo Send, among other advanced features. Chances are this will meet your needs.

There are mobile clients. As noted, there are Newton clients for both Android and iOS, and for the Mac. And unlike with Outlook, they look and work just like the Windows 10 version.

It’s a Store app. I often complain about the lack of high-quality Store apps, but Newton is a great exception. It’s only available on Windows via the Windows Store. This will help anyone trying to “modern up” and will someday contribute to Windows 10 S being viable. Which it is not, yet.

Newton, alas, is not perfect.

The biggest issue, and this is one that people have been complaining about on other platforms for years, is that there is no way to resize the text or otherwise scale the app display. It’s worst in the inbox list, which I can live with. But in this era of high DPI displays, there is no excuse for this shortcoming.

Second is the cost. When you first download Newton from the Store, what you get is a 14-day trial only. After that, you need to pay. And not just once: The cost is $50. Per year.

I know.

Still. This is very interesting to me. I will keep testing it.

Newton for Windows 10 is now available from the Windows Store.

 

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Comments (46)

46 responses to “Hands-On with Newton for Windows 10”

  1. Jason Liao

    I cannot imagine paying $50/year for an email client. For comparison, Office 365 is $90/year for five installations.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Jason_Liao:

      That $90 a year isn’t honestly buying much in the long run. It’s paying for the simple maintenance of Office, a mature product with nowhere left to grow. The code in Office was paid for years ago.


      As for this software, it’s under active development. Note that this is a new platform for them!

      • Daekar

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        I think you'll find that the Office team is doing a great deal more than twiddling their thumbs, and that the service is under active development just like other living software.

      • Wizzwith

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        LOL what are you talking about?  Office 365 is under constant development, new features all the time, and even whole new apps.  In fact much of the code base was recently rewritten to allow the base to be more multi-platform amongst other modernizing. 

        Heck the 1-5TB of storage alone is well worth the price - most other services will charge the same cost JUST for 1TB of space.

      • Stooks

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Lol!!! Office is 10000x more feature rich than this app. This App makes gmail and craigs list look good!


        You get nothing for $50 a year with this. This will turn out to be another mistake like Evernote when they got rid of their free version.

  2. cholly

    Looks great, but $50 a year? If I didn't have an office 365 account this may be something I would think about.

  3. RonH

    $50 per year. Can't you get Office 365 for 1 year for that price when it is on sale?

  4. Stooks

    "I brought this pig of a product up"


    And this is why I don't or won't subscribe to this site. Between the snarky bias and technical inaccuracies (all the time) I simply see no reason.


    What kind of 2005 machine are you running Outlook 2016 on? It like all other MS Office application flies open in sub seconds on my modern computers with SSD's, enough RAM and modern CPU's. It has for a while now, 3-5 years. Even back when I had a spinning drives I never felt that Outlook was horribly slow. Yes slightly slower than this simplistic craigslist looking email package sure, but once open it was just fine.


    It also flies on my MacBook and the 2016 version is pretty close to the PC version finally and fully supports outlook.com finally.


    I find there are two types of email users. The very light users who should be using webmail and the real email users and for that Outlook 2016 is simply the very best product.


    Also who in their right mind would pay $50 a year for this email client??????????


    Office 365 Personal for $69 or less on sale (I paid $50 last year) gives you Office 2016 and 1TB of OneDrive.

    • Wizzwith

      In reply to Stooks:

      >> "And this is why I don't or won't subscribe to this site. Between the snarky bias and technical inaccuracies (all the time) I simply see no reason."

      Yep, that's why I'm not re-subscribing. Well really just the inaccuracies (which have gotten increasingly more frequent), and absolutist opinion all the time instead of reporting on useful, factual stuff; the snark I don’t mind. :)

  5. Paul O'Flaherty

    At home, the Windows Mail app serves 98% of my (admittedly simple) needs just fine and, unlike many others, I actually like the Focused/Other views as for me it does a good job of hiding the dross and highlighting useful/important mail. It also works well if I undock and need to use touch - and I don't think the giant touch friendly controls are wasting any more space than the giant borders shown in the Newton screen shots.

    When I do hit annoyances and limits in Windows mail (e.g. handling attachments can still be a bit of a chore) I just fire up Outlook 2016.

    In a work environment I want the power/features of Outlook 2016 such as categories, search folders and rules.

    To me, Newton looks like it is too expensive for home use (especially if you already have Office 365 Home) but is not powerful enough for a (corporate) work environment.


  6. Zimm

    FYI I loaded the trial and within 2 days they offered me a 10 dollar discount to buy, which I did, nice simple knowing when something is read without having to agree to a read receipt is very nice as well.

  7. Cain69

    I stopped caring after I read ".... Per year."

  8. wright_is

    $50 for a mail program like this is about right. $50 a year is a rip-off, especially when comparing it to Outlook, which costs, what, $8 a month, as part of the complete Office suite, plus 1TB of storage, 1 Skype Out... And that is, if you haven't split it across 4 users, for us, it works out at around $20 a year as part of the office suite, or its "individual" price of probably under $2 a year and Outlook is a lot more powerful.

    Keyboard shortcuts - Outlook has had them since the mid 90s and they haven't changed (Ctrl+N for a new email, Ctrl+R to reply etc.).

    As to Outlook 2016 being inferior to the Android version, well, at least I can add and modify contacts on the desktop version! And, in general, I see the Android version as an emergency option, until I can get to a fully featured client to work properly, with a real keyboard.


    A question, how does it know when emails have been read? That is, AFAIK, only available on Exchange accounts and some web mail systems might support it, but only for "internal" mail or others using the same system (E.g. external Exchange servers). Does this only work on such services, or does it also work on other mail service, that don't offer that feature, by including a "hidden" pixel-graphic for tracking, in which case it would be breaking the recipients privacy - with Outlook, for example, you can chose whether to let the read-receipt be sent back or not.

  9. jgraebner

    I downloaded this and kicked off a free trial yesterday, but I don't know if I can stick with it. First, I will note that I also downloaded the Android version yesterday and it is absolutely great -- easily the best Android email app that I've tried yet. I might be tempted to spend the money just to keep using it there. While the price on this is steep by modern standards, I'm not opposed to spending $50/year to get a drastically improved experience on something I use as often as email.


    The Windows version just doesn't seem to be well adapted to the platform, though. In fact, the design is pretty typical of what you get when Mac developers try to develop for Windows. For example, it took me a moment to figure out where the settings were and the old fashioned File/Edit/View menu hidden under a "more" menu item is just plain weird on a store app.


    While Paul complained about the standard Windows 10 Mail has "gigantic touch-friendly controls whether you’re using touch or not", Newton has the exact opposite problem. I'm using it on a Surface Pro 4, but it is borderline unusable without a keyboard and mouse/touchpad.


    The on-screen controls are tiny, including having to use really tiny arrows at the top of the page to go to the next/previous message instead of swiping. I also seriously miss the availability of pinch-to-zoom capability, which is available in the standard Windows 10 client as well as pretty much any web-based client. In the inbox view, bringing up commands like delete or archive from view require either right-clicking or selecting the messages via a little tiny target point just to the left of the sender. Swipe actions would be extremely welcome here.


    I do get what they are trying to do with the minimalist design, but I'm not entirely sold on the aesthetic that they went with. The gray and white design scheme seems rather drab (and, frankly, kind of Mac-like) and there is way too much unused space on the screen. As Paul noted, some control over fonts and font sizes are a clear omission. I'd also like to see some options to customize color settings. I do really like the customization options for the quick actions and tool bars, although I'd definitely like an option to adjust the size of the icons in order to make them more usable on touch screens.


    I see a lot of potential in the Windows app, and the Android app is superb, but I suspect I'm going to end up going back to the regular Windows 10 Mail app by the time the trial is over.



  10. navarac

    I read/write/save/forward/delete email. I can do that with what I have - Outlook (O365) and the Mail App. No way am I paying an annual fee to do something I can do anyway. Better to use the $50 to convert your Windows 10S to Pro !

  11. ZT X

    It boggles my mind that Paul is praising this expensive and needless app as a good example of a Windows Store app, since it looks like a lazily converted Centennial Mac port that doesn't use native Windows controls and totally disregards the Windows 10 (or any Windows for that matter) design language. This is a prime example of the crap we don't need more of in the Windows store.


    Paul simply isn't qualified to report about Windows anymore.

  12. markbyrn

    Having multiple e-mail account and multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows), I have to say this app did the trick for me and it has 2fa. Add an account on one device and it's everywhere; what's not to like other than the cost.

  13. msmith42

    I honestly can't decide if this story is intended as click bait or if Paul is being serious. Despite being defaced with a hideous, austere, metro style makeover and jarring full screen 'File' menu. Outlook has actually added some genuinely useful features over the past few years and remains by far the greatest email client money can buy.


    By contrast, this steaming turd of a client looks about as feature rich as the average Windows 8 metro app. It clearly adopts the 'content not chrome' and 'content is the UI' ethos so despised by the average, everyday user. Throwing content on a screen with no UI framework to make it intelligible may be fashionable with a small, vocal group of hipsters and designers, but it leaves the vast bulk of normal users highly frustrated. Add into the mix a bunch of identical looking line based icons that bare no relation to their actual function and we seem to have wiped out every UI design lesson learned over the past 30 years.


    I put my 62 year old mother in front of Outlook 2010 and she easily figured out how to send and open emails. I still rue the day I ever recommended her a Windows Phone device. As for Outlook Mobile on Android... Forget it! Someone needs to remind the Millennial children that took over at Microsoft around 2012 that computers are meant to make life easy, not hard. Most people are not fully IT literate and playing 'hunt the control' and 'guess the function' is not a fun game. Since when did making software as bland, obtuse and unintuitive as possible become a virtue?


    As for taking Paul's judgment on such matters seriously, I gave that up when he confidently pronounced the Desktop interface to be a "legacy UI" that would soon be phased out.

  14. Watney

    I'm testing Newton on multiple devices, Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. So far I've found syncing isn't always reliable. Occasionally, a snoozed message on one device will show in both the Inbox and Snoozed folders on another device.

    Where Newton really shines is on mobile. The Android app is among the best. I especially like the quick reply features (Archive, Delete, and Snooze).

    The iOS app is excellent too, much prefer to Gmail of Inbox.

    I'll keep testing along with Paul. Oh, and @Paul, thanks for the tip, snark and all.

  15. Steve78

    Spark is my email app of choice. Nothing else comes close in terms of the design & UX. Oh and it's free. Mind you, it's so good I'd pay for it. Only snag is that it's not currently available for Windows. Not that I'm bothered.

  16. jheydasch

    Such oddly-strong opinions about this article. All the author did was say "this [email client] is very interesting me. I will keep testing it." Over the last two weeks, I've become a pretty big fan of Newton and everything Thurrott highlighted was relevant to the discussion — including opinions re: alternatives to the product. Regarding Newton, I'm currently of the mindset that you need to give it a try to determine whether or not it's useful and worth the cost but, hey, no worries if you don't want to.

  17. theshum

    Question for you all, what are you using for calendaring? Outlook can be a "one stop shop", as clunky as it may be, for email, contacts, calendar, etc. Newton is just email, right? If you're already paying the office 365 annual fee, plus the newton annual fee... it starts to add up. With this workflow, instead of using Outlook for everything on every device, you're using an app for email, an app for calendar, an app for contacts (potentially) and an app for tasks? How is this more efficient again? :)

  18. pachi

    I tried it out too - It seems solid, but it's just TOO barebones for me, especially with the yearly pricing model.


    Very fast, fluid, looks good... I like all this stuff much more than Mailbird.


    Can't even set up the hamburger menu to always expand? mouse back button doesn't function. No multi-window? If I have an email open I'd still like a way to view the list of messages.

  19. Chris_Kez

    Glad to see a high-quality option in the Windows Store. $50 a year does seem steep, but as a business expense it is not outrageous-- as long as they are committed to ongoing updates and improvements. If we want to see high-quality professional apps we need to be willing to pay for them. I'd rather this than use a free mail service that surreptitiously mines my data and sells it to third parties for a few years before going out of business.

  20. George Coll

    I've been using Newton (previously CloudMagic) on my Android device for a couple of years. I have tried many other applications on mobile during this time and continue to go back to Newton. Client support has been fairly responsive as well. Features like Paul describes, such as personal configurations to snooze, make it pretty nice. I will have to give Newton for Windows a try.

  21. yaddamaster

    $50/year per user? lol

  22. Daekar

    I'm sorry, it boggles my mind that Paul doesn't like Outlook 2016. Every time I use the email clients that he appears to like, I look at them and go, "I guess I'll have to make do." I spend a third of my life in Outlook, and I love it. It's one of my favorite pieces of software out there.


    Maybe Paul just doesn't have demanding needs of his mail/contacts/calendar apps?

  23. Sarge

    The is no doubt that Outlook 2016 is not intended for anything really other than the corporate/enterprise user. The ability to manage a complex calendar, nice integration with OneNote for taking meeting minutes/actions items and turn it back around to mail to the attendees is really quite helpful and as mentioned the SharePoint integrations is strong as well. Plugins for WebEx and Zoom meeting services makes setting up web meetings a lot smoother.


    I would be very unhappy if I didn't have Outlook 2016 in my job....

    • Wizzwith

      In reply to Sarge:

      Yep.  As an aside/tip though, Outlook 20xx can be quite useful on a personal/outlook.com account for fiddling with stuff you can't with the web or other clients.  Strictly poweruser stuff though, not anything most people would bother with :)

  24. Gavin Groom

    I'll carry on using Inbox via Google Chrome.

  25. Wizzwith

    Not sure why you dislike Outlook 2016 so much?  I'm guessing partly cause you don't use it the way it was really intended - as an Exchange client for business (not targeted for personal usage).  It does the job just fine; it's complex but the complexity is easy to ignore, and when you need such features, well it can do most anything you'd ever need.

    It's all about perspective though too.  After using Lotus Notes for over 10 years, when I got switched to Outlook, I thought it was the best thing ever (in comparison!) LOL.   I'm pretty ambivalent about my mail clients though, so not very picky. 

    • will

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      I tend to agree without Paul on the overall state of Outlook 2016. I have used Outlook for decades and agree that the power the program has is very useful. The problem I have with Outlook 2016 is the app feels old compared to its mobile counterparts. While they have added functions, they feel bolted on vs improving the UI.


      When Microsoft had the TAP program for Office 2016 I made the suggestion that there should only be ONE version of the Outlook client for Windows. It would operated differently based on your account you use to login and it would turn or/activate different features. Office 365 accounts would enable all the business and collaboration stuff where as a simple IMAP account would just turn on basic email functions. Still feel that is what they should do.

  26. pesos

    Outlook 2016 with exchange behind it is great. Outlook on iOS needs a lot of work.

  27. Delmont

    So, looks like Gmail and secondly, I don't understand why you continue to pound away on Outlook 2016 in the Office Suite. For us in the Corporate/Enterprise world that is what we use and it works great and hooks into SharePoint. Sure for a Home user Outlook is over the top... but that is not the client base it's aimed for.

  28. Jules Wombat

    Too minimal and simple for serious business use. It's not ready enough to compete with Outlook. Most Professional users will need the Outlook feature set.

  29. Watney

    I'm checking to see if anyone has continued using the Newton App. What are your experiences?

    I've had numerous syncing issues. Exchange emails often disappear and only a portion of the thread shows. (The emails are still there; Newton just doesn't render them.)

    I've also had some G Suite drafts get corrupted and stuck. And some snoozed emails haven't synced correctly.

    I haven't given up, yet. How's it working for you?

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