Why I Switched to @FastMail from Office365 and Gmail
I have been an Office 365 user for over 3 years, after moving from Google Apps, and then this month I finally moved my personal domain to FastMail. For me, I have a particular pet peeve with emailing solutions, that I need to explain.
Google Apps I enjoyed initially because being part of the google ecosystem you can make use of various google apps and a lot of websites and apps use google as its SSO (to log in and authenticate). Problem is, being an iOS user, Google Apps and Gmail for that matter don't work well with iOS the way I want it to.
You don't get push emails and updates to your contacts, you have to rely on the antiquated pull polling which takes up more battery. So I decided a few years ago to then move to Office365, in the hope that ActiveSync would solve my woes.
Initially I was impressed with ActiveSync but then it became quite obvious that I would have different issues with ActiveSync and iOS, which to me was bizarre considering this should be the bread and butter of Microsoft.
With iOS, while I do enjoy great push email, contact and calendar, it won't sync contact photos. Very strange, it would sync everything else but not contacts. More so, it would always seem to add strange metadata to the notes field of my contacts.
Secondly, it would start adding the addresses of emails that aren't in my contacts, those that I would maybe correspond only once with (i.e customer support) into my contact address book, which is quite annoying, forcing me to have to create a smart folder on my Mac Mail to have to cull the unwanted contacts.
The final straw for me was when I had to pay extra just to have Outlook for my Mac. Firstly, I prefer using my macOS Mail and my native iOS client. If you do want to use Outlook for iOS, you can't even add contacts on there, really bizarre, and Outlook for Mac, well it feels clunky and that it doesn't leverage the latest of macOs, but rather just a poor cousin of the Windows version.
I still persisted with Office365 until at a random meet up, one person told me his story of moving to FastMail. I was a bit skeptical and for me, moving email platforms is akin to moving houses, a pain in the neck, and having to mess around with my personal domain DNS again.
So I took FastMail up on their 30-day trial, and noticed some interesting things. Firstly, the web client is the fastest mail interface ive ever experienced, it was amazing. It was also clean and simple to use.
So FastMail offers push emails, contacts and notifications and guess what, they work flawlessly on iOS. Contact photos sync, no strange metadata on my contacts, no new contacts appearing on my address-book.
Setting up on my Mac, iPhone and iPad was effortless. You can download a profile that you install on each of your devices and it sets up everything for you along with your password, so you don't have to type it in. Speaking of which, it not only supports 2-factor authentication which I insist on with any authentication system, but they even use 2FA devices like YubiKey in addition to other authentication methods.
It also supports syncing calendars with other calendars, such as iCloud or Google, so if you have a work calendar, you can bring it in to your FastMail environment, add, modify or delete and that external calendar entry would be synced back. So I can have my work calendar from within my FastMail environment and not have to have multiple accounts setup on my device.
So its been two months so far, and ive had no issues whatsoever, its super-fact, secure and easy to use. I am a fan of simplicity, clean modern interfaces that provide push synchronisation. Not a lot to ask but if the giants of tech Google and Microsoft can't get it right, then im glad a little Aussie company can do it for me.
Go ahed and check it out, the pricing is great, and you have 30 days risk-free to test it out before committing.