PROS / Zoho's free email service has no ads anywhere in the user interface.
CONS / There is no way to import contacts from your social media sites.
VERDICT / Zoho Mail gives you a clean, ad-free interface, but it seems to sacrifice a lot of features that come standard with other free email services to promote its paid services.
Zoho Mail is a business solutions service, with a lot of features that are aimed more at enterprise users than personal email users. Most of its services are paid, but Zoho Mail also offers a free email service for personal use. While the free option is a decent email platform, it's clear that this isn't where Zoho's focus is, and the free email service suffers a bit as a result.
Zoho Mail makes its free email address service a little hard to find over the business email services on its site. In order to get a free Zoho email address, you have to click through a few pages from its main page to get to the mail services. Even then, Zoho tries to point you toward its business email accounts. There is an option for a free personal email account, though, and after you select it, it's easy sailing from there.
Once you sign up for your free Zoho Mail address, you'll find a nice, clean interface. The most noticeable thing about Zoho Mail is that there are no ads. This is almost unheard of in the world of free email accounts, and it is an extremely attractive characteristic.
Apart from that, Zoho Mail is about as plain and ordinary as email services get. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A simple, intuitive interface is arguably the most important thing for an email service. The features are listed along the side of the interface: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Links. For the most part, these standard features work well.
Zoho Mail only offers 5GB of email storage for its free service, which isn't much at all. Although it's enough that you don't have to worry about deleting emails for a while, you'll find before too long that you need to delete emails to get some space in your inbox. This isn't a very socially oriented email service either. You don't get a video chat feature, which the best free email services provide, nor is there any social media integration. You can't import your contacts from social media into your email account.
It seems that Zoho Mail has reserved all the premium features of its mail service for paying customers. The free side is most likely an enticement for enterprise users to get a feel for how Zoho Mail works before ponying up the dough for the full-blown business suite. While this is understandable, the result is a platform that falls behind the best free email services in terms of features and convenience.