I now have used Powermail 5 for a couple of days and there are a lot of things to like and a few to lament.
Overall, the focus of the program has changed to make it more accessible to novice users. I now can recommend the use of Powermail to anyone who wants a powerful, fast, and effective e-mail client. While PM starts off simply, there are many excellent features waiting below the glossy interface for you to take advantage of and grow into.
As always, my POP, SMTP connections have been rock-solid. Even multiple MB files have transitioned without a hitch. As usual, Powermail gives good feedback as to its activity with your mail accounts. The ease with which it will switch between locations is great, allowing you to use different SMTP servers for example when you switch from the office to the home (which is required by most ISPs these days).
With the addition of SpamSieve, the best Spam filter on the Mac platform has been seamlessly integrated into the best e-mail client. This is a welcome upgrade, considering that the older method of using AppleScripts to designate spam was a bit more cumbersome. Furthermore, placing the spam folder at the end of the list eases the visual clutter. Since I had SpamSieve already trained from my earlier use of the program, the new integration was seamless and effective.
The new toolbars in PM5 take some adjustment for folks like myself who liked the compact and orientable predecessor. It's a visual transition akin to OSX versus OS9... New users won't notice this though, and you can now customize the toolbars in Powermail.
As always, the filters of Powermail are very fast and very simple to set up. The filters and the subsequent reactions of PM5 have been beefed up with more choices. Now, conditions and reactions can be added and subtracted individually instead of the old system where reordering or changing filter actions was more cumbersome. So if you like auto-filtering mail, Powermail has the goods.
The Foxtrot search technology is blazingly fast as ever, even if you throw in some wildcards to broaden your search. Lookups in a 16,000+ e-mail database take less than a second on a 3-year old laptop. If it's in there, Powermail will find it fast.
In closing, I found the new version of Powermail not only better in terms of features but also easier to use for novices. If you do not mind paying for a quality piece of software, then download Powermail and see if you like it better than its competition.
Lastly, while $25 for an upgrade may seem steep, it's not out of line with most programs today. Consider that CTMDEV actually does a lot of work within a given version (at least 3 in PM4)... and the last time we had to upgrade was in 2002. Compare that to Quicken, VirtualPC or other commercial programs where yearly upgrades are more expensive and usually bug-related. I happily paid for my upgrade, companies like CTMDEV should be supported.