Review: NEO Pro
NEO Pro 3.0
Caelo SOftware Inc.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Caelo calls NEO an e-mail organizer or second-generation e-mail client.
Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is as an adjunt to Microsoft
Outlook or Outlook Express. NEO doesn't send and receive your e-mail
(though you can send e-mail from its user interface. Rather, the goal of
NEO is to make it easier to work with the e-mail you already receive by
providing a user interface whose indexing, search, and organization
tools are far superior to those of Outlook.
For starters, NEO Pro goes through and indexes all your e-mail for
near-instant full-text search. The indexing also includes senders,
categories, attachment types, and status. If you want to find messages
with a particular type of attachment from a sender, it's trivial. NEO
can use these indexes to provide all sorts of different views of your
mail. For instance, the Correspondent view lets you drill down into
anyone you've been conversing with and see the messages you've exchanged
Another nice touch is the separate incoming filing of bulk mail. NEO
recognizes newsletter subscriptions and shunts them off to a separate
virtual folder, so they don't get mixed in with high-priority mail.
If you have a lot of folders, you'll also appreciate the ability to
filter the folders shown in the folder tree by string searches.
Categories are much better integrated with NEO than they are with
Outlook (where they're so hard to get to as to be pretty much useless);
NEO makes it easy to move messages into categories, filter on
categories, and so on.
Because of the volume of e-mail I send, receive, and keep (currently my
archive is just about 450,000 messages) I'm brutally hard on e-mail
utilities. Installing NEO was simple, but the initial synchronization
with my primary PST file took multiple tries spread over two days and a
few visits to their support pages (which are extremely well integrated
into a product; if something goes wrong, you'll usually get a hyperlink
directly to a Web page that can solve the problem). After some tweaking
to the program's data engine settings, all was well, and changes from
Outlook are reflected in the NEO Pro interface within a few seconds. The
application adds some memory load to the computer, but less than that of
Outlook itself, and the CPU impact is negligible. The speed of NEO, on
the other hand, is great! Searching for messages goes very quickly, and
between the free text search and other filtering controls (age, status,
and so on) it's easy to pick out the needles from my overly-large
Overall, I'm impressed with NEO Pro as an adjunctn for Outlook. It
corrects some of Outlook's most obvious failings (such as the dismal
native search and poor category support) and adds enough new
functionality to be more than just an add-on. If you'd like to see for
yourself, you can download a free trial from the company's Web site.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.