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-   -   Review: BBSmart HTML Email Viewer - Version 2.3 - BerryReview (http://www.blackberryforums.com/bbf-reviews/95572-review-bbsmart-html-email-viewer-version-2-3-berryreview.html)

Entropy666 09-17-2007 05:12 PM

Review: BBSmart HTML Email Viewer - Version 2.3 - BerryReview
 

UPDATE: 20% discount available for BerryReview readers at this link

BBSmart SmartView Email Viewer - BerryReview

Rating: 9.5/10
Version: 2.3

Link: Home
Cost: $24.99
Compatibility: v4.0.2 Blackberry OS or higher

The developers of BBSmart have been quite busy since our last review and have added many new features to the application which warranted a new review. We were so impressed with the new version of BBSmart that we awarded it the BerryReview Editors Choice Award. The new version adds new features such as email templates and better integration that make it a must have on your BlackBerry. The only complaint we still have is speed but they have really sped up the new version. Read the full review after the jump

NOTE: As we mentioned in the last review the developers had to work within the bounds RIM has set to make this Email Viewer work. RIM strips out all HTML, except for hyperlinks and image links, from your emails before the email even gets to your device. Thus the only HTML you will see in this email viewer is images and improved human friendly links.

Installation:

Installation of BBSmart is actually quite easy. There are two versions one for 4.2 OS device owners and one for all other devices. Once you install the software you will be prompted every time you open an email with a message along the lines of "Do you wish to view this email with BlackBerrySmart Viewer. Your options are obviously yes and no but they also give you the option to never be asked this again. This will remember you selection and apply it to every other email you open.

Configuration:



The configuration options of BBSmart have come a long way since the original release. The new options make this a true email application without any sacrifices. The first option allows you to choose if you want images to be displayed in your email. The second lets you set BBSmart as your default email viewer for every email. The next option is very useful since it allows you to view the full details of an email in every email which was missing in previous versions. The last of the display options allows you to show the full hyperlinks instead of shortened versions. The next set of options relate to the font display of your emails. You can choose to have a different font size and if you want to font to always be bold which makes it easier to read.

The next set of options are a stroke of brilliance on BBSmart's part. You can set a different look for emails from every different email account you have coming to your BlackBerry. This means that you can make your Gmail email look different than your Yahoo email. There are quite a few options in this regard. You can set different background colors, fonts, text sizes, and font colors. It even has a nice preview area where you can see your changes as you make them. The next portion of the config allows you to set the connection settings for BBSmart.



It has built in support for BES, TCP, and WAP and it automatically configures the best connection. In a step towards saving free memory on your BlackBerry you can also set how often the Image cache clears on your BlackBerry.



The last options relate to the PIM (personal information management) integration in BBSmart. As we will mention later, BBSmart allows you to make a task and calendar entry out of an email. In this section of the config you can further specify how you want that to work. BBSmart allows you to configure if the subject and/or body will be included in the task or calendar entry that you create from an email.



The email templates part of BBSmart is also located in the configuration options. You have to hit the menu button and then select SmartSay options. From there you will see 3 preset templates and you can add more very easily by hitting the create new button. You can also edit the templates using the menu->edit option. The SmartSay application is very well thought out and even allows you to customize the order of the templates by moving them up or down using the menu.

Interface:



The interface and the logo of BBSmart have gotten a redesign but that is just aesthetic. Once you open an email you will automatically open the BBSmart viewer if you have it as your default viewer. If you do not have it as you default viewer you must click the menu button and select BBSmart View.



Once you are in the interface all the functions are included in the menu and many of them can also be accessed by a shortcut key. This is one of the major improvements in Version 2.3. All of the shortcut keys are shown in the menu for reference including many that were not in earlier versions. Look at the screenshots above to see what I mean. Most of the options are self explanatory such as reply and forward but others add a very nice level of customization. You can save an email as a template for SmartSays. You can also return to the regular native email client. You can also show and hide images and view folders from the application. As I mentioned before you can add the email as a task or calendar item based on your configuration options.



There is a very nice feature that I glossed over above which is called SmartNote. This is a feature that BBSmart has added that allows you to write a comment or note about the email and set a priority level for it . I do wish they would improve upon this function a bit by allowing you to view all of your notes in one place. They also have smiley support in the email , as you can see above, so it shows graphical smileys when you receive them in an email.

Hotkeys and controls:

As I mentioned before this is one of the areas where BBSmart has done some serious work. The new version 2.3 supports hitting the "B" key to go to the bottom of the email and the "T" key for going to the top. It also has support for using the spacebar to go down one screen at a time. Unlike other email viewers this does not skip and jump all over the place.

Images and Links:



The one thing I noticed in the new version of BBSmart is that emails are no longer plagued with spacer images. It seems that the developers at BBSmart have found a solution to block these spacer images from downloading. Other than that the formating for images has also been improved. I do wish there was the option to click on the image to view it full size.

Pros:
  • HTML viewer for BlackBerry
  • Speed and size improvements
  • Email Templates AKA SmartSay
  • Email notes AKA SmartNotes
  • Complete support for hotkeys and email functions
  • Configurable themes for each email account
  • Option to not use the viewer as the default email viewer
Cons:
  • Speed improvements would be appreciated
Verdict:

The improvements in BBSmart Version 2.3 are amazing. They have added so much functionality yet cut the size of the application in half. The new email template system allowed me to uninstall an application I had just for that purpose. The ability to add emails as a task and as a calendar item is very useful and I use it every day. As I said in the cons above the only problem with BBSmart is speed but they are improving that with every revision. The best part is that every upgrade is free for registered users. Its like getting a free program every time they add a new feature. If you get many HTML emails I would highly recommend BBSmart as your email program of choice. BBSmart has upped the ante for Email on your BlackBerry and they are improving with every new version.

eZainny 09-23-2007 06:34 AM

Hello All,

Just an update on the promotion. We are only planning on running this until the end of this month so get in quick! :)

Cheers,
eZainny.

TotalDistinction 09-23-2007 03:54 PM

Thanks for your review. I just purchased the product and am satisfied so far.

The product can be a little more speedier when loading pages but wasn't an appreciable distraction to prevent me from buying the product.

I do appreciate the PIM integration the most and is probably the single biggest feature for me having purchased the product (vs. empower which I also evaluated).

Reading HTML email is a lot more pleasant. Now, I have to go back to some websites and change my email notification preferences back from "Text Only" to "HTML" :-)

eZainny 09-30-2007 06:33 AM

Hi All,

Last day of the promotion! See first post for details :)

Cheers,
eZainny.

hanstoppable 10-11-2007 08:28 PM

I'm gonna keep checking this thread until that promotion comes back. By sheer force of will I'll make it come back. Yes. This is my plan.

Entropy666 10-12-2007 10:43 AM

Keep checking. Thats all I can say... But stay tuned

dooks88 10-13-2007 11:48 AM

this is good software. my main gripe is the speed. i'm not sure that is something that can be improved upon or not though.

noeffectx 10-14-2007 07:46 AM

I wonder if connected to wifi the speed would increase? anybody use BBSmart SmartView Email Viewer with 8320?

tnx

eZainny 10-14-2007 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noeffectx (Post 703691)
I wonder if connected to wifi the speed would increase? anybody use BBSmart SmartView Email Viewer with 8320?

tnx

Hi noeffectx,

Unfortunately, it's not possible at present for any third-party application to make use of the WiFi connection on the 8320's.

For the next release we are planning on adding in quite a few speed improvements in other ways :)

Cheers,
eZainny.

noeffectx 10-14-2007 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eZainny (Post 703724)
Hi noeffectx,

Unfortunately, it's not possible at present for any third-party application to make use of the WiFi connection on the 8320's.

For the next release we are planning on adding in quite a few speed improvements in other ways :)

Cheers,
eZainny.

Actually all my 3rd party installed on my 8320 does worked with wifi only connection. I turned off my mobile network connection and only use wifi, beejive, email, google maps, and gmail app all worked.

Entropy666 10-18-2007 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hanstoppable (Post 701131)
I'm gonna keep checking this thread until that promotion comes back. By sheer force of will I'll make it come back. Yes. This is my plan.

Hanstoppable:

We now have a 15% discount going for BBSmart
Correction: How To Get The 15% Discount Off BBSmart | BerryReview

hanstoppable 10-19-2007 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Entropy666 (Post 708589)
Hanstoppable:

We now have a 15% discount going for BBSmart
Correction: How To Get The 15% Discount Off BBSmart | BerryReview

It's like Christmas in October.

J-Mac 10-23-2007 05:56 PM

I have a few questions about this application. I have a different HTML reader installed and it has several idiosyncrasies that bother me. Mostly I'd like to know how BBSmart handles the same issues:
  1. How does BBSmart handle scrolling?

    Currently I cannot scroll as my track ball is configured to scroll. I have it set to scroll a few lines at a time, but my present reader jumps a full page at a time and sometimes it misses an entire line or two - no way to see those lines unless I switch to plain text.
    .
    .
  2. Does BBSmart use the standard Blackberry messaging shortcuts?

    My current reader uses some but not all of Blackberry's shortcuts. E.g., T for Top and B for Bottom work fine. Space Bar scrolls down a page at a time, but Shift-Space also scrolls down a page at a time instead of scrolling up - that is no good! There is no shortcut that allows me to jump up in the message at all, other than T to go to the top.

    I also cannot scroll up a lot of the time. It does scroll up but it jumps a lot, and quite often it does not let me scroll up at all - I get to a certain point and after that it keeps jumping back down. I really hate that issue.

    So, does BBSmart allow me to use the Space bar to jump a page at a time down and up? How about the other standard BB messaging shortcuts?
    .
    .
  3. Does BBSmart have any effect on outgoing messages?

    My current reader automatically places an advertisement in place of my signature on outgoing mail, which is disgraceful, IMO, for an application whose entire purpose is to facilitate reading of Incoming mail!
Thanks.

Jim

eZainny 10-28-2007 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J-Mac (Post 714252)
I have a few questions about this application. I have a different HTML reader installed and it has several idiosyncrasies that bother me. Mostly I'd like to know how BBSmart handles the same issues:
  1. How does BBSmart handle scrolling?

    Currently I cannot scroll as my track ball is configured to scroll. I have it set to scroll a few lines at a time, but my present reader jumps a full page at a time and sometimes it misses an entire line or two - no way to see those lines unless I switch to plain text.
    .
    .
  2. Does BBSmart use the standard Blackberry messaging shortcuts?

    My current reader uses some but not all of Blackberry's shortcuts. E.g., T for Top and B for Bottom work fine. Space Bar scrolls down a page at a time, but Shift-Space also scrolls down a page at a time instead of scrolling up - that is no good! There is no shortcut that allows me to jump up in the message at all, other than T to go to the top.

    I also cannot scroll up a lot of the time. It does scroll up but it jumps a lot, and quite often it does not let me scroll up at all - I get to a certain point and after that it keeps jumping back down. I really hate that issue.

    So, does BBSmart allow me to use the Space bar to jump a page at a time down and up? How about the other standard BB messaging shortcuts?
    .
    .
  3. Does BBSmart have any effect on outgoing messages?

    My current reader automatically places an advertisement in place of my signature on outgoing mail, which is disgraceful, IMO, for an application whose entire purpose is to facilitate reading of Incoming mail!
Thanks.

Jim

Hi Jim,

Apologies about the delay in replying...I haven't been checking this thread as often as I probably should :oops:

To answer your questions

1) Scrolling behavior is always going to be a little bit different with our email program. This is primarily due to the fact that the content being displayed now isn't just "raw text" that the native viewer displays - it's HTML, and HTML layouts aren't simple. My best advice here would just be to try out our application and see if the scrolling situation is to your liking.

2) Yes, all your standard shortcuts should be there. We haven't had anybody tell us otherwise yet, so if you find one missing please let us know! :)

3) No, we don't add advertising signatures to your outgoing emails like some other programs do. We respect that people don't want to turn their email into an advertising billboard for somebody else.

If you want, you can download a free trial of our software to play around with it. Just head to our website BBSmart - Software for your PDA and follow the "Try for Free" button.

Cheers,
eZainny.

Danabw 12-04-2007 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eZainny (Post 718933)
Hi Jim,

Apologies about the delay in replying...I haven't been checking this thread as often as I probably should :oops:

To answer your questions

1) Scrolling behavior is always going to be a little bit different with our email program. This is primarily due to the fact that the content being displayed now isn't just "raw text" that the native viewer displays - it's HTML, and HTML layouts aren't simple. My best advice here would just be to try out our application and see if the scrolling situation is to your liking.

2) Yes, all your standard shortcuts should be there. We haven't had anybody tell us otherwise yet, so if you find one missing please let us know! :)

3) No, we don't add advertising signatures to your outgoing emails like some other programs do. We respect that people don't want to turn their email into an advertising billboard for somebody else.

If you want, you can download a free trial of our software to play around with it. Just head to our website BBSmart - Software for your PDA and follow the "Try for Free" button.

Cheers,
eZainny.

I'm a recent purchaser of this program, and like it very much. One question...when viewing a normal email, the shortcut keys work. When viewing a meeting invite, they don't work. Is this a defect, or is there some reason why the shortcut keys can't work when viewing a meeting invite?

Thanks.

P.S. Scrolling is very smooth on my Pearl, though it will pause briefly to get more content in longer emails. Overall performance is good...emails are formatted and ready for view quickly.

ronx 12-10-2007 06:35 PM

any chance for a 20% discount for Christmas? ;)

Entropy666 12-11-2007 12:19 PM

You never know :) email eZainny

eZainny 12-12-2007 01:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danabw (Post 762769)
I'm a recent purchaser of this program, and like it very much. One question...when viewing a normal email, the shortcut keys work. When viewing a meeting invite, they don't work. Is this a defect, or is there some reason why the shortcut keys can't work when viewing a meeting invite?

Thanks.

P.S. Scrolling is very smooth on my Pearl, though it will pause briefly to get more content in longer emails. Overall performance is good...emails are formatted and ready for view quickly.

Hi Danabw,

Sorry about the late reply! Completely missed checking this thread :)

I actually just checked then and whenever I receive a meeting invite BBSmart Email Viewer doesn't open it - does it try and open it for you?

-- In other words, I'll look into this for you and see what I can find!

Danabw 12-12-2007 07:39 PM

What I meant is if I click on a meeting invite in the mailbox to open it...thanks.

davistld01 12-16-2007 06:54 PM

There was a thread on this and another BB forum that asked what the essential apps on a BlackBerry are...and I had to post that the BBSmart Viewer was the one app that I simpy refuse to do without on a BlackBerry.

I purchased the program while on my 8300 Curve...and couldn't wait a day until I had PM'd Neil to request another activation code so that I could use it on my new 8310. I am probably going to get an 8820 also very soon...so I'm sure I'll be firing off another PM for yet another code for that one also.

Although I am a huge BlackBerry fan...I am not a fan at all of how the emails are stripped and displayed. The BBSmart Viewer enhances the HTML emails so that they are clear and readable...and it rocks!! A "must have".(y)


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