Although Microsoft is the company that Mac users love to hate, Entourage has always been a shining beacon of light amongst the company's sometimes inconsistent Mac-based output.
Consistently impressive, the client is something of a jack-of-all-trades, offering an interface and features that borrow from Outlook Express and the professional-level Outlook (both of which are Windows-only).
The interface works well - it's accessible enough for relative beginners, and flexible enough for power users. It enables you to experiment with view options, set up filtering rules, and create schedules for sending and receiving email.
The built-in address book is comprehensive, although there's sadly no direct integration with Apple's Address Book. Importing mail is a cinch, however, and a large number of third-party applications are supported.
Exporting is a problem, because of Microsoft's decision to use a proprietary database format to house your emails. In fact, of those applications on test, only Mail claims to be able to directly import Entourage email.
The database format is also problematic, in that the database occasionally gets damaged. While Entourage includes repair tools, we strongly recommend regularly backing up your database, in case it can't be fixed. Clearly, saving emails (or mailboxes) individually would be a superior system.
Other problems include a sporadically sluggish interface, and the glaring fact that Microsoft no longer sells Entourage separately from Office.
Even the most die-hard Microsoft fan would think twice about shelling out over £300 for an email client. However, if you are thinking of buying Office, Entourage should successfully fill your email client needs.