Sparrow is a elegantly designed app that shows great potential to replace the built-in Mail app in Mac OS X.
Visually, the UI is clean and elegant and I really like how it has a minimal footprint on your desktop; especially on my Macbook Pro where real estate is scarce. Also, If you have used the desktop version of the Twitter app, you’ll notice some design elements which are eerily similar.
In fact, I think this app is designed for laptops with trackpads in mind. Besides the minimal footprint, the app also has a nicely implemented multi-touch gesture support. If you do a 3-fingers swipe across the main window, the message panel slides out from under the main window. Swipe left and it slides back under. 3-fingers swipe up or down in the panel to load the next and previous email respectively. I do wish they would have a functionality when I can pinch or reverse-pinch to change the size of the fonts in the message.
One of the other things I like is the Quick Reply feature. When reading a message, just click the top-right ‘reply’ button and the message slides down to reveal a reply box just below the header. Type and send. If you click on the little icon inside the window, Sparrow opens up your message in another window, ready for your text input.
This app supports gmail as well as IMAP email accounts in the latest version (1.1) and of course, multiple accounts. However, I do find it a little strange it doesn’t come with a unified inbox which is extremely useful for people like me, who have multiple emails. I hope to see this implemented as an option in the future. There’s also a “mark as important” opton for your messages which for some reason, work better for gmail accounts than me.com ones.
There are solutions and there are elegant solutions. Sparrow mail client belongs to the latter. If you’re getting a little tired of Apple’s Mail app (like I am), then this is one app you need to look at. It’s available on the Mac App Store and there’s also a lite version which is ad-supported.
In summary, here’s our verdict of version 1.1:
Light and snappy interface. Elegantly designed.
Support for IMAP and gmail
Multi-touch gesture support (3 fingers swipe to show preview)
Extra points for Helvetica as the default font when replying mail
We don’t like:
No junk mail filtering
No mail rules
No unified inbox
Rather limited options in preferences
We don’t know why:
It’s called “Sparrow”. Isn’t “pigeon” a slightly better title for an email app?