Review: SaneBox – Stop Drowning in Email!

sanebox-review


Your email inbox is one of the most necessary yet frustrating parts of your work life. It’s okay to admit it, you’re not alone in this boat.

Regardless of whether you are an employee, a business owner, or a solopreneur, email remains the primary method of interaction in modern business. Add to that your personal emails, forums, newsletters, and the occasional spam mail that makes it through your Gmail filters, and managing your inbox becomes a time-sucking endeavor.

Numerous books, methods, and software programs have been dedicated to solving this problem, and none are perfect, but SaneBox may be the closest thing to the perfect solution that there is.

What Is SaneBox?

SaneBox is a ridiculously simple yet extremely effective filtering system for your email inbox which works for almost any major email system, including Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and more. Instead of numerous folders for every conceivable client or subject (which sometimes makes things just as difficult), SaneBox keeps things simple. In it’s simplicity, it transforms your inbox powerfully.

How Does It Work?

saneboxfoldersread

  • SaneBox not only works simply (and simply works) after it’s installed and slightly trained, but the setup is just as simple. You simply enter your email address and go through the standard email confirmation ritual, and boom. You’re pretty much done.

  • After SaneBox is installed, you just have to pick which folders you want to use. There are two categories of folders, described as “folders you read” and “folders you use”. The “read” folders are automatically sorted collections of similar emails like news, bulk, and so forth, while the “use” folders include handy things like reminder functions and @SaneBlackHole, which I’ll discuss shortly.

  • By default, only your inbox and @SaneLater are active. This is the simplest division of “more important” and “less important”. As you add other folders, up to 5 layers of importance can be applied to your mail, depending on your needs.

  • The only thing left to do (other than figure out how best to spend your newfound extra time) is to train the program with an occasional tweak. In other words, if an email is placed in the @SaneLater folder but should have been in the Inbox, you simply drag the email to the other folder and SaneBox will remember these actions and adjust accordingly.

  • If you are thinking that this is an unnecessary program because of Gmail’s built-in features like Priority Inbox and recently released Tabbed Inbox, then you are only partially correct, and it’s a small part. As explained on their blog, the difference is that SaneBox works. I use Gmail myself (and honestly I think that the combination of Gmail’s features and SaneBox is the best thing since sliced bread), and although it does a fairly good job of sorting things, it still misses some things repeatedly and weirdly. SaneBox does it right, every time. I suppose they just have better algorithms, but whatever the reason – it works.

  • The “read” folders are (each one begins with @Sane…) Later, News, Bulk, Archive, Top (like Gmail’s Priority Inbox) Top2Box (helps to correct between Top and Inbox), NotSpam (non-spam emails rescued from the spam folder), or you can make custom folders with your own rules.

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  • The “defer” folders include @SaneBlackHole (drag to this folder to never see these types of emails again), @SaneTomorrow (hides the email and sends it back to your inbox the next day), @SaneNextWeek (hides and sends email to your inbox on the next Monday), and custom folders.

  • @SaneReminders is another useful angle in this software. Forwarding a mail to tomorrow.9am@sanebox.com will put the email back in your inbox the following morning at 9am. You can also send to tuesday.5pm@…, 3days@…, oct.31-11.55am@…, and so forth. The most common use for these reminders is to see if the recipient opened the mail. If you CC or BCC the “date and time”@sanebox.com and the recipient doesn’t open the email by that time/date, you will get the email back in your inbox. If they open it, you don’t see it again.

  • SaneBox can also link to your Dropbox or Box account for attachment file storage. With this enabled, you can choose to have attachments from emails sent to a specific folder in your DropBox/Box account and a link added to the email heading. You can also choose whether the original attachment is deleted immediately from the email account or after a certain period of time. You can also customize the backup to apply to only certain types and/or sizes of attachments.

screenshot-sandbox

  • Sanebox can also connect to your social networks if you like, which helps to improve its accuracy even more by learning more about your friends and your patterns with their emails.

  • There are three pricing levels and you get a two week free trial (no credit card required!). The “snack” level is $6 monthly or $48.96 for a 2 yr subscription, and it includes 1 email account, 5 reminders monthly, 5 attachment stores monthly, and 1 additional folder (beyond the standard @SaneLater, @Sane Archive, and social integration). The “lunch” level is $15 monthly or $138.96 for a 2 yr subscription. It includes 2 email accounts, 250 reminders, 250 attachments, and 5 additional folders. “Dinner” is $50 monthly or $468.96 for 2 years. It includes 3 email accounts, unlimited reminders and attachments, and 9 additional folders. Referring a friend gets you both a $5 credit.

Things We Loved

  • @SaneBlackHole. Everything about this program is great, but this feature is my favorite. Some of us sign up for too many things with the good intention of actually reading the newsletters, and unsubscribing is a pain. Drag an email to this folder, and you’ll never see another one from them again. That simple. Love it.

  • The reminders function is amazingly versatile, and its use in checking for opened mail on the recipients end is brilliant.

  • It really works well. Not only in its functionality but in its purpose. It has taken much of my email burden away, and it did it quickly with practically zero learning curve or time invested.

  • You receive a daily summary of emails to make sure that you haven’t missed one because of not checking a certain folder, and the opportunity to train those emails right then. This is nice as you get used to a new system to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

saneboxicon

Things We’d Love to See in the Future

  • It’s hard to find much that hasn’t been thought of with SaneBox when it comes to inbox management. The one feature I would like to see is integration with Evernote, but that’s really unnecessary with the Evernote web clipper and Clearly Chrome features.

  • The price could be a bit more affordable for the everyday emailer. For a professional solution (and their target market is professionals) it is completely reasonable, but full functionality is a little pricey for someone who isn’t writing it off their taxes.

Who is SaneBox for?

I know I seem to end a lot of reviews this way, but SaneBox is for practically everybody, but the most grateful users will be those who are professionals and use email extensively. If you don’t use email that much then you are the exception, but I know very few people who fall into that category.

If you are like the rest of us whose business lives and dies with email, then you should give SaneBox a try. With their 2 week free trial that doesn’t require signing up with a credit card and then cancelling if you don’t love it (every other company out there should take note), there is absolutely no reason not to. I can almost guarantee you’ll love it, though.


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Wally Peterson is a freelance writer and aspiring beach bum with a face made for blogging. He lives 60 seconds from the sand (walking time) on the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.
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Discussion

  1. Philip on the 18th August

    This page is pretty deceptively “advertised” considering I followed a link that for an article showing how “seven out of ten people use e-mail wrong.” : Instead you get a review of this sanebox e-mail sorter. which is a little bit sneaky there and put me off it to start with but for some reason it being Sunday and i have nothing better to do with all this time from not having to devote myself to an insane amount of time to sorting though my e-mails as these review/advert type pages seem to say normal people do.

    The actual product looks pretty useless aside from the reminders feature which offers to let you know if someone has read your e-mail now i’m not certain how sanebox would do this as i though that was something achieved by using delivery receipts which can be not replied to or blocked on the whole by many e-mail servers and generate more pointless traffic pretty much doubling the e-mails you get assuming you get mail on a one to one basic for sending and receiving a reply. Though as i have said i do not know who Sanebox does this it would be intresting to know how it is done without the use of delivery receipts or embedded images in the e-mails sent which can also be blocked outright by sever settings.

    Another thing that looks a bit worrying is the ability to connect to your social media ” which helps to improve its accuracy even more by learning more about your friends and your patterns with their emails.” which looks like a great way of targeting ads and other things with e-mail content.

    So all in all this does not look good as product it kinda seems like it is asking for money and non even a small amount for a unrestricted “Dinner” level account so this does just look like a money grabbing attempt as a product. Add to this the way i got onto this page in the first place and it just seems even worse.

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