We tested N1, the open source extensible mail client

E-mail clients have a certain power of attraction. It doesn’t matter whether or not we’re happy using the Gmail web interface or are advocates of Apple Mail. If a new client appears, we’ll go out and try out what it has to offer.

N1, developed by Nylas, is one of the latest but not yet officially released. For now we have to resort to a system of invitations if we want to try it out. I have had access and I think it might be interesting to comment on what N1, the open source extensible email client, offers.

A good interface as a starting point

We tested N1, the open source extensible mail client
We tested N1, the open source extensible mail client

The interface of an application is something very important nowadays. Today, if an application doesn’t enter our eyes, there’s a good chance we won’t even give it a chance to see what it offers.

In the case of N1, the interface is very carefully designed , it focuses on offering a very readable typography, clean design and focusing on what is interesting. Also, as an extra, it offers a dark mode that many people like so much. Especially since we can already activate the dark mode for OS X.

The N1 interface is the first thing that will catch our attention: clean, simple and with a clear legible typography

Giving a few more strokes of the interface, when configuring the view we can choose between one in which the messages are shown in list. Or another one in which in a similar way to Mail we have a list of messages and a display of the selected message.

In addition, when you move the cursor over each message, icons appear to file or delete a message directly. Small details similar to those of other customers.

N1, what makes it different?

Switching clients just for the interface? Well, it could be one reason but Nylas wants me to find others. The first is that it is a compatible application not only for OS X, it will also be available for Windows and Linux. I find that interesting because one of the reasons I use the Gmail web interface is that I want to have the same experience on any platform.

N1 allows you to install plug-ins to extend its functionality. For example, offering an integrated translator for both reading and writing emails

Extensible? Yes. N1 offers a system of plug-ins that allow you to grow, gain functionality in a relatively simple way. Through technologies such as JavaScript, NodeJS, Flux, Electro and React you can introduce functionality such as a translator, anti-phishing verification and much more.

View full gallery ” N1, the extensible mail client (10 photos)

For most users this won’t be a big deal right now, but the developers could do a lot if they have enough knowledge to, using N1 as a base, make it their custom mail client. Of course, those plugins could later be enjoyed by the rest of us if they shared them.

In addition, the N1 supports services such as Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, and IMAP accounts.


N1 is an interesting client with a good foundation for growth in options and a performance that even under development still has nothing to envy from other similar applications. It is true that at times there are some jumps or excessive load time but it promises.


However, those of you who use the web interface of your mail service may not change. Although N1 allows you to configure your keyboard shortcuts like Gmail, for example. If, on the other hand, you use Apple Mail or Outlook, besides being able to use the same shortcuts, you may be interested in N1 for the same idea of enjoying the same client regardless of whether you use Linux, Mac or Windows .

We’ll have to see how it evolves but for now I like what I’ve been able to prove. I’ll keep using it for a few days and see if I can be convinced. To be honest, I’m hoping for an OS X version of Spark.

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