There is no "phoenix" browser ... it is now "firebird".
I use phoenix, I like it because:
-tabs are awesome (and crazybrowser, an IE extension that gives it tabs isn't as nice).
-its faster at rendering html
-it follows standards
-no popups (built in blocking)
-easy to manage preferences
-has more advanced preferences that you can set without h4x0r1ng the registry
-you can change the size of all text, great for reading things from far away / screens with really high resolutions
-multi platform (same browser in linux / windows / macos (never used it in macos))
reasons I don't like it:
-it takes longer to start
-some builds are awesome & uber-stable, others have serious crash causing bugs
-some pages just don't work (launch.com didn't work for me a while back, not sure about now)
-plugins can be tricky to install / there is no automatic plugin installer like IE
sorry about the digression from the topic, now for mail:
I use thunderbird at the moment - it is based on mozilla mail, but doesn't rely on mozill abeing your web browser - they are pretty much doing to mozilla mail what phoenix did to mozilla.http://www.mozilla.org/projects/thunderbird/
As it is based on a totally working mail client, it is stable, and it has a lot of features. It hasn't done anything really annoying, or phenomonally spectacular for me. Hasn't crashed yet.
I've heard that the junk mail filter is phenomonal too.