Sparrow: A New Mail Client for the Mac

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been using a new mail client for the Mac called Sparrow. It’s a beautifully-designed, simple and fast e-mail application. As most of us spend most – if not all – of our day reading, writing and responding to e-mails, an application that makes this a slightly more pleasant experience is worth mentioning.

Sparrow’s interface can perhaps be best described as “iPad meets Desktop” – its compact, minimalistic UI is reminiscent of Google’s own iPad-optimized Gmail interface, with a hint of Twitter’s new Mac app thrown in for good measure. Everything in the app is lightening quick, and the UI never seems to get in the way. I’ve used many other desktop mail applications, including Outlook, Thunderbird, Postbox and Apple’s own Mail.app, and Sparrow is the first such app I am considering switching to for 100% of my e-mailing.

I am a religious Gmail and Google Apps users, and have always loved Google’s web interface for mail. I switched from Outlook over two years ago and haven’t looked back. The threaded conversation view, the keyboard shortcuts, and the highly responsive interface had me at “hello”. However, over the last year I’ve noticed Google’s mail performance – for both free Gmail as well as paid Google Apps accounts – has become very inconsistent, sometimes bordering on intolerably slow (others have noted this issue as well). Since Sparrow caches all of your e-mails locally, it always responds quickly, making the Gmail’s poor performance a thing of the past. Best of all, it supports all of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts (and if you aren’t already using those, start).

Officially launched in the new Mac App Store last week, Sparrow has already hit the #2 spot in the app store’s Top Charts (behind, of course, Angry Birds). In version 1.0 Sparrow supports only Gmail and Google Apps e-mail, although full support for any IMAP server is coming in a future update. If you’re a Mac user, I encourage you to give Sparrow a try – you won’t regret it.

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Comments

  1. Jack, why would you prefer this to the Mac native mail client? Mail.app handles Google IMAP just fine and, if you wish, can store a copy of your mail on your machine. I’ve not seen anyone really address this in all the (generally good) publicity about Sparrow.

  2. It really comes down to the UI. Mail.app is a perfectly fine mail application, but it has too many features, too much “chrome”, it’s too slow…Sparrow really just takes the essentials and gets them right.

    I would compare Sparrow to the way people felt about Firefox when it was released against the backdrop of Netscape Navigator. Yes, Navigator was capable of doing the same things Firefox could, but Firefox was notable because, by dropping so many bloated features from Navigator, it became faster and easier to use. It was a breath of fresh air with its simplicity and ease of use. The same is true of Sparrow.