Sparrow is a simple email client that does what it needs to with minimum fuss.
I have used Apple Mail for years. Its worked pretty well. The user interface was good despite having to use add ons to make it display in a widescreen format. Lion, has sorted that issue now.
But one problem I found; quite a critical problem at that. Since the OSX upgrade Mail seems to crash fairly regularly. I have noticed others saying this as well.
I put up with it for a while as I didn’t know what else to use and the thought of constantly having to use web mail via my Google Mail accounts was not that appealing.
As is the norm these days, someone on Twitter mentioned Sparrow, so I took a look.
On first look, Sparrow is very similar to the official Twitter client on the Mac with an extra window extending out on the right to display the actual contents of the currently selected email. It is very minimal, hence the name taken from the tiny bird. (I’m guessing that’s why they called it sparrow…)
It’s very simple to use, not to mention stable. I can’t recall one crash so far in the last few months. Its easy to setup your Gmail, POP3, IMAP, Hotmail, Yahoo accounts, and Sparrow can be up an running in a matter of minutes pulling in all your email.
I also liked the popup message when you received a new mail. I’m not sure Apple Mail did that, but you can turn it off if it becomes too distracting.
The latest version also integrates with Facebook to display your contacts’ avatars which is a neat touch. I couldn’t help thinking I was going to be getting more from the Facebook integration, rather than just pretty pictures. I half expected to be able to see my Facebook email/messages, but I’m sure Facebook wouldn’t be granting others permission to do that just yet.
My only gripe with Sparrow, is the inability to drag and drop emails from one account to another. For example, I have my main work address to which some people send me personal emails. I would like to drag these into my personal gmail account, but unfortunately you can’t.
It’s strange as you can see all your accounts folders, you just can’t copy from one to the other. Thus I’m left with having to use Mac Mail to fulfill this task, before going back to Sparrow to read the mail. Not ideal.
In summary, Sparrow is a solid mail app, that does exactly what it should; lets you read your mail in an unobtrusive manner. Aside from the minor gripes, I am really enjoying reading my email from this little bird.