Sparrow For Mac review

Big Dan

EQ Forum Moderator
Sparrow Screenshot - clean.png
Sparrow Mail is a Mac only mail clients that is primarily geared towards Gmail users, though it can handle any IMAP account. Upon installing from the Mac App Store and launching the app you're asked for your name, email address, and password. Setup is a breeze it automatically adds the required incoming and outgoing servers. Once that's done Sparrow syncs all mail from the server giving you the ability to search your messages much faster by searching locally (on your machine). The initial sync can take some time depending on the size of your Gmail account.

Sparrow's interface is very reminiscent of both the iPad mail app and Twitter for Mac. Simple and uncluttered. You have shortcut icons on the far left for inbox, starred, sent, drafts, and trash. At the bottom of this column is a little tag popup where you can find all your Gmail labels or IMAP folders. The middle pane is your message list and the third pane is a preview of the message. As with most mail clients double clicking a message opens it in a new window.

The full message and preview view both offer Gmail's normal conversation view with the most recent message expanded and the rest collapsed. It made this die hard Gmail user feel right at home.

My favorite feature is aliases. Sparrow has built in support for Gmail's send mail as feature. In most other mail clients you have to use work around to send mail from another email address that forwards into your Gmail account.

Sparrow also dubs itself a "Social Email Client". The only thing social I see is that it has the ability to integrate with Facebook and pull avatars for email addresses. This of course assumes that the email address you're emailing is associated with a Facebook account. For people with multiple email addresses that's a problem. It doesn't matter much and I didn't bother enabling Facebook integration.

Where Sparrow is lacking is address book features. I'd like to see it integrate and sync with my Gmail contact list. Right now it appears to pull from OS X's built in address book which I have setup to sync with Gmail but not every one has that setup.

Additionally, I'd like to see Sparrow integrate with Gmail's chat features to make it the full Gmail experience.

All in all Sparrow gets two thumbs up from me. I'm holding off on buying the full version until OS X 10.7 Lion is released in July. Lion's resigned mail app looks very similar. I'd like to see what that has to offer before buying into Sparrow.
featured_screen_mail.png v. 5 To be released July 2011​

It should be noted that Sparrow offers a light version for free which includes ads and limits you to only account. This author found it more than sufficient and a good enticement to upgrade to the full version.