Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has rebranded as Mailstrom and is no longer a free service. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
If you ever consider basic email just too strenuous or possibly outdated, there are alternatives. Shortmail uses a Twitter-type interface to format your email account inbox. Shortmail has lasted a few years, but it's still missing far too many features to completely replace your current free email service.
Composing new emails is extremely simple with Shortmail. You simply address the message to someone from your address book, which you can import from your social media and external email accounts. You can choose to share the message as a tweet or keep it private between you and the recipient.
The difference between Shortmail and its competitors is the limit placed on each message. Each message's maximum amount of characters allowed is 500. A huge drawback is that you can't send or receive attachments of any kind. Attachments are a necessary staple in typical email services.
The 500-character limit is a boon and a bane. The benefit is that these limits force you to be direct and then motivate you to respond quickly. If your recipients are on the go, they can respond to you without wading through several paragraphs of information. The downside is that you can't receive emails from other services that are over 500 characters. Shortmail tells the sender to reword their sent email so it is compatible with your service. Very few people are patient enough to actually do that. It's best to not use Shortmail as a corporate account, as you may upset the wrong people with an incompatible service.
If you are attached to your phone but are rarely near a computer, this may be the best free email service. Shortmail's interface is designed for mobile devices. Using the Shortmail app, which takes advantage of POP3 and IMAP support, you can use every one of the service's features. It allows you to reply to one person or start a conversation with several people. As new messages come in, you can see the history of the conversation all on one screen. In essence, Shortmail is a glorified instant messenger. It currently only runs on iOS devices.
Shortmail is built for simplicity and ease of use. You simply need to sign in using a Twitter account to get started. However, the simplicity keeps it from being one of the best email services, as you may not receive intended emails because they passed the 500-character limit. The social media angle combined with quick email is a step in the right direction, but there are too many drawbacks to using Shortmail as a primary email account.