I’ve never had a computer without a copy of Microsoft Office Outlook. As you know, Windows ships with either Outlook Express (XP and earlier) or Windows Mail (Vista), which leaves many users with little need to look elsewhere. Until now.
e-Capsule Private Mail HD offers security that Windows solutions simply can’t and with a price tag anyone can afford.
Installation & Setup (5 out of 5)
e-Capsule Private Mail HD setup is fairly simple, and the installer is easy to understand.
Default installation directory is set to your ‘My Documents’ folder; this is part of e-Capsule’s ‘Zero-Footprint’ claim. [See images 1 and 2]
Immediate setup of your new ‘Profile,’ with features similar to those found in Microsoft Outlook. These profiles allow different users with different email accounts/contacts/filters, and so on. [See image 3]
After naming your profile, the next step is straight on to your details and which server Private Mail is going to pull your messages from. A checkbox labeled: ‘Leave the messages stored on the email server’ will display. This is well placed; many other mail clients require a bit of menu-hunting to find this useful option. [See images 4 and 5]
Prompts pop up about security certificates which is something few know anything about. I skipped through it, as they are very easy to add later. If you’re not sure, you can check the help for more information. [See images 6 and 7]
That’s it. Just hit ‘Receive e-mail’ and you’ve completed the basic configuration. You can also set up spam/message filters and add security certificates at a later date, through the Tools -> Options menu. [See image 9]
User Interface (4 out of 5)
The interface of is good, clean, and functual. e-Capsule Private Mail HD loads fast and doesn’t hang. If it’s getting a timeout message from the mail server, the ‘Cancel’ works instantly, without crashing the program. [See image 7]
The design does have one thing that could be improved, though people think differently so you may disagree. I think the icons could be made a little clearer and simpler, or possibly be text based, but this is honestly all I could find wrong with it. Anyone will pick it up in no-time.
For layouts, you can choose from three and they change when the reading pane, folder list, and mail list are on your screen. This sounds simple, but different configurations give priority to different windows. For example, you can make the preview window larger by giving it the entire bottom section, thereby letting you read most emails without having to open them in a separate window.
Another great layout feature is how file attachments are handled. [See image11] They are presented in a box below the message in the reading pane, and there are also tabs along the top of the message that will open images in Private Mail, allowing easy previewing. The box below the message with the attachments will open them using the default application for the file type.
Product Features (4 out of 5)
As I see it, this is a mail client like any other, just more secure. That’s how it’s marketed and I’d agree. More about that later, though. [See image 9]
e-Capsule Private Mail HD has all of the basic features you’d expect, including spam filters, email filters, profile accounts, address book, backups, digital signature, and so on. [See image 6]
It all works well. The digital signatures deserve a special mention, and are a substantial part of this application. With e-Capsule Private Mail it’s very, very easy to create and manage Digital Signatures. It’s easier than any other client. I’ve never before seen them implemented well, but e-Capsule has done a good job. If you’ve ever tried to get a digital certificate and make it work in Microsoft Outlook then you will know what I mean.
Features aside, there is something strange about the way it handles HTML links. I was unable to find what caused this problem, which sometimes seems to cripple outgoing links in email messages. Also on this note, there is no quick way of checking the link URL before clicking the link. I only had this problem on my Vista laptop running Firefox so I don’t expect this to apply to every user.
Security & Privacy (5 out of 5)
We’re all expecting gold stars here, and e-Capsule Private Mail HD has several. Particularly notable are the encryption of mail/user databases and the generation/use of digital signatures. This is all done to a very high grade of encryption and yet doesn’t hinder use of the product.
Private Mail has been built from the ground up to leave no traces on your system, thus it uses only Windows DLLs and files which were there before Private Mail was installed. All other data is built into the executable and application directory, which is in your My Documents. This removes the dependence that other mail applications such as Microsoft’s Outlook Express have on Internet Explorer and Explorer. This independence effectively removes the application from the system slightly; it is self-contained.
Enterprise Information Security Systems & Technologies (EISST), makers of e-Capsule Private Mail, also suggests that Private Mail is ‘invulnerable to viruses and Trojans’ due to the file encryption. This is a very interesting claim and would be useful if true. Unfortunately, I’m unwilling to test this claim.
Price to Value (5 out of 5)
There are free email clients but not with the stability and simplicity of e-Capsule Private Mail HD. For a minimal investment you can protect all your emails and contacts within a stable, secure application. Compare the cost of this to clients such as Microsoft Outlook and the value becomes apparent.
Performance (5 out of 5)
e-Capsule Private Mail loads fast, uses low system resources, and has not crashed in over 6,000 messages. Selecting all messages is also fast. There are no problems with MS Vista or XP SP2. [See image 8]
There is an issue with links management as mentioned above, but this is as likely to be caused by using Firefox as the main browser. At the moment, I’m uncertain about the cause.
Help & Support (5 out of 5)
The help files offer good picture-by-picture guides to setting up many of the key features and there’s support on hand if you happen to get stuck. It’s a breeze to set up though, so it’s likely you won’t use the help.
Customer services are mainly based through a ticket-based help desk; with adequate response times.
I would only improve the top buttons (possibly add text to better distinguish between Send and Receive) and the link handling in email messages. Currently it does not show you the destination URL, and you can only find this out by following the link–not perfect. I also had problems with opening certain URLs.
e-Capsule Private Mail HD is a great email client with plenty of features. It offers fantastic data security at a low price.
What more could you want?
Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird