Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sparrow: An Awesome Email Client for Gmail

When I first got my iMac back in January I started using the default email client that comes with all Apple computers.  I found that it was adequate but nothing special about it.  So I started looking in the App Store for alternatives.  I recently come across a great email client by Sparrow.

I was almost turned off by the extremely low 2.5 stars (yikes!) it was rated but then I started reading the comments.  I found that in October there were a lot of comments written up against the application stating that it was crashing, slow, or that it wasn't supported.  When I scrolled down I then found comments from people who had no idea what others were talking about, that the app worked flawlessly.  So what gives?  Why are all these people having issues but others aren't?

My suspicion was that someone is posting false comments and down-voting the application.  The first comment you read is negative and shows "83 of 93 customers found this review helpful".  It's hard to believe that this is true when there are more recent comments within the past couple months that praise the application.  Instead of bypassing this one, I decided to see for myself.

What I found was a very well designed UI.  I didn't experience the issues that others supposedly where having.  Perhaps they were running on older hardware or an older version of OS X.  I found that the application was very responsive and lightweight.  The interface is easy to figure out and just as easy to configure.

Here's what I liked most about the interface:
  1. Gmail integration is excellent.  For those of you who have a Gmail account you'll find that you can label and star emails, see your priority inbox, use one-key shortcuts, and use your contacts.
  2. The application connects to your Facebook account!  This is great for accessing emails and associating photos of people you might not have in your Google contacts list.
  3. Notifications on OS X work great.  A small pop-up is displayed on the top right of my monitor when emails are received.
  4. Sharing is fast and easy.  This email client allows you to integrate with DropBox to share files without having to attach them.  Instead it uploads to the cloud and provides a link to your recipient for them to access it.
  5. The conversations feature of Gmail is also available making it easier and faster to browse mail and respond quickly.
I've been using it steadily for the past 2 weeks and have not experienced any issues yet.  

The only downside to this application was that it cost me $9.99 to purchase.  Which normally isn't bad, especially when it's worth the price.  I don't mind supporting developers who have done a fantastic job. 

Update:  I did recently find out that back in July 2012 Sparrow was purchased by Google.  This is good news for the Sparrow team but probably not so much so for the Sparrow application.  Undoubtedly Google will use the team to work on other projects involving email and let the application degrade.  Which is exactly what we saw when Google released it's upgrades to it's Gmail mobile application a couple days ago.  

For now I'm extremely pleased with the application and hoping that development will continue forward, regardless of what company owns the software.

Got anything better that you'd like to recommend?  Let me know! 

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