I have previously written about my preference for GMail over MobileMe mail (note: mail only). Apple, however, recently released a new beta version of MobileMe mail. I will admit, it is an improvement, but not enough for me to change my opinion that Gmail is better.

New features

The view is much improved, now designed to take advantage of widescreens (the iPad). The best layout, in my opinion, is to have the left column show messages, and the right column to display the actual messages.

Apple claims that MobileMe loads faster, and I think they are correct. The “classic” version is really slow, which makes any web-based email experience a literal drag.

One nice feature is the one-touch archive button (which Gmail has had forever). At least Apple caught on, but it is kinda slow.

There is also the ability to add “rules” to your inbox. Messages containing a certain subject will automatically go into a specific folder. Or messages from a certain person will go to a certain place. Frankly, I am too paranoid to take advantage of these rules.

Lacking two essential features

My biggest gripe is that it is too messy to quickly reply. The “classic” version had a quick reply button–a little dialog box popped up–letting you reply in seconds. The new version still opens a new window when you reply, which is obnoxious. In Gmail, the “conversation” is simply continued, and it sure looks nice.

Speaking of which, Gmail is still easier to read. Even in the new widescreen format, messages are shown on the right. Unlike Gmail, which will break down the emails into a fluid conversation, MobileMe keeps in all the ugly lines on the left, and all the various previous emails. It can be hard to read, and it just looks ugly.

Bottom line: Gmail still reigns supreme. I still use MobileMe to sync all my various Mac devices, and to ensure I can track a lost iPhone (and erase it remotely). But if you are just trying to decide which email to use, stick with Gmail.