IT Pro Verdict
Easy to organize emails
Features that simplify emailing
Strong security and spam filtering
Additional cost for support
No cheaper option for email only
No desktop app
With over 1.5 billion users worldwide, Gmail is one of the best known email clients. Besides the free personal version, Google offers a premium version of Gmail as part of the Google Workspace suite of productivity tools.
In our Gmail review, we look at its pricing, features, interface, support, and security in order to help you decide if it’s right for you, and whether it ranks as one of the best email providers.
Plans and pricing
There are four Gmail pricing plans, and each requires a monthly subscription. The cheapest is the Business Starter plan, which costs £4.14 per user a month. Business Standard is the most popular choice at £8.28 per user a month, while the Business Plus plan costs £13.80 per user a month. The Enterprise plan is for larger scale businesses, and requires you to contact Google’s sales team for a bespoke quote.
In terms of storage space, the Business Starter plan includes 30GB of storage per user, which can cover plenty of emails but isn’t much if you want to store other files too. Business Standard includes 2TB, Business Plus has 5TB, and Enterprise has unlimited storage.
The Business Plus and Enterprise plans include Vault, Google’s data retention and eDiscovery software. You can archive and search past data, including emails, even from suspended accounts.
With the paid versions of Gmail, you can easily link a domain name that you own with Gmail to create custom addresses. Everyone in your team can be given an email address using your company’s domain, such as email@example.com. You can also create addresses that function as mailing lists, such as having firstname.lastname@example.org redirect to everyone in your sales team.
Gmail’s smart suggestions are like predictive text for whole sentences. For example, if you start writing “My address is,” Gmail will load up your address, and you simply press Tab to accept the suggestion instead of typing it out. There are smart replies too - if someone asks if you can attend a meeting on Monday, the reply, “Monday works for me,” will be suggested. Though the predictions are not always accurate, it’s more helpful than you might expect.
You can integrate many third-party apps into Gmail. For example, with the Dropbox extension, you can send files and save received attachments to your Dropbox account without having to leave Gmail. The DocuSign add-on allows users to sign documents sent to them and immediately create a reply with the signed document attached. Other popular Gmail add-ons include Asana, Trello, Zoom, and Todoist.
Interface and in use
Google Workspace’s setup wizard is relatively straightforward. You must provide information like the size of your company before you can access the administrator panel and add other users. The more technical part is verifying your existing domain ownership: this may require finding out details from your domain host, but the wizard makes this as easy as possible.
Once you’re set up, the Gmail interface is powerful and intuitive. Emails are grouped into conversations, and you can sort them using either folders or labels. More than one label can apply to an email, so you can categorize emails while keeping them in your inbox. The interface can also be adjusted between default, comfortable, and compact densities, to suit your visual preferences.
One downside is that Gmail’s interface can only be accessed via web browser or mobile app; there is no Gmail desktop app. However, it’s possible to sync it with other desktop email applications, such as Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird.
There’s a help center database and a community forum, where you will find answers to many technical issues. If you need to get in touch with the support team, you can do so by raising a case online or contacting them by phone.
All Google Workspace users have access to the standard support, which offers a four-hour response to high-priority issues. If you’re on the Business Standard plan or higher, then for an additional cost you can upgrade to enhanced support, which offers a one-hour response time. Enterprise users can upgrade to premium support, with a 15-minute response time. Though these are impressive response times and the technicians are knowledgeable, it seems unfair that access to rapid support comes at an additional cost.
Google has tight digital and physical security around its data centers and has regular independent third-party audits. On a user level, Gmail accounts can have two-factor authentication in addition to the usual password access, and it’s possible for an administrator to require everyone to use this.
Gmail also has a powerful spam filtering system based on machine learning, which Google claims blocks more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware. Administrators can customize this filtering, such as by setting up an approved senders list, filtering bulk email more aggressively, or quarantining all spam for administrator review.
One of Gmail’s main competitors is Microsoft’s email service, Exchange. Similarly to Gmail’s place within Google Workspace, it is offered as part of Microsoft 365, which includes the Microsoft Office range of software. The pricing structure is similar, beginning at £3.99 per user a month, and the email can be accessed via the Outlook app on desktop or mobile, or via a browser.
If you are only interested in email and not the other Google Workspace features, then Yahoo Mail might be a better option. You can get one mail account for £2.54 a month, five for £1.27 each a month, or 10 for 95p each a month, and there are bulk discounts if you want more than this. Plus, each email account comes with an impressive 1TB of storage.
Gmail’s intuitive interface makes it easy to organise and compose emails, and it has a range of useful features and available add-ons. Google takes data security seriously, so your emails will be safely private.
Gmail for business comes as part of the Google Workspace suite, but it’s not the cheapest option if you only want Gmail. There's also an extra cost for enhanced tech support.
Overall, however, Gmail is a robust, efficient email service well suited to the needs of many businesses.
Kieron Moore is a freelance writer based in Manchester, England. He contributes to Future sites including TechRadar and Creative Bloq, focusing on subjects including creative software, video editing, and streaming services. This work draws on his experience as an independent filmmaker and an independent TV watcher. He can be found on Twitter at @KieronMoore, usually when he’s meant to be writing.