Quick Sparrow for iPhone Thoughts

Federico Viticci of MacStories and his dissertation on Sparrow for iPhone:

I have been using Sparrow as my new email client on the iPhone for the past months, and I haven’t looked back to Apple’s Mail. The way Sparrow puts the focus on quickly archiving and replying to messages, its search capabilities, the design, the photo attachments — these are all features that have contributed to my decision of replacing the app I used for more than four years to manage email on my phone. Sparrow works for me. It makes me faster and more efficient at managing email. But not everyone is going to like Sparrow.

This is the most comprehensive review of Sparrow for iPhone I have seen. It takes roughly sixteen paragraphs before Federico even begins breaking down Sparrow for iPhone, but once he does his in-depth analysis is highly insightful. If you are on the fence, or even mildly curious, about Sparrow for iPhone then this is a must read.

I already snatched up Sparrow from the AppStore and have been playing with it for the past couple hours. My overall impression is that it is very well done app which will only get better. It sure beats the hell out of the so-called Google Gmail app and even gives Mail.app a run for its money.

I am still gathering my thoughts on Sparrow for iPhone, but here are a few quick things to think about: no push notifications, inability to select multiple labels at once, some minor polishing of the UI is needed, and the lack of certain configuration options are detractors but not deal killers. The UI is very comforting and seemingly easy to navigate. I did not run into any problems I could not overcome. The additional “hidden” features are quite nice too, and well worth their addition. I especially like the ability to quickly see an entire conversation thread – it’s a nice touch.

Most folks, I suspect, are going to complain about the lack of push notification support. A quick perusal of the AppStore reviews and you can see the vitriol already. This is completely understandable and something the developers are absolutely aware of. They even setup a page explaining the whole push notification omission issue, something done at Apple’s behest because the feature was present in the beta releases.

While it would be nice to be able to see badge icons or have integration with the Notification Center, they certainly are not absolute necessities. If you really need push notifications then Boxcar can fulfill that need in the interim, or you could continue to use Mail.app solely for its notifications. I fully expect to see many of these issues addressed in forthcoming updates, especially if Apple relents and allows Sparrow to use the necessary API endpoints to facilitate this feature.

Sparrow for iPhone is well worth the $2.99, especially if you live and die by Gmail. Even if you don’t, it is an app well worth purchasing and one destined to live on the cutting edge of AppStore policies.