Review: Sparrow iPhone Mail Client

Sparrow-LogoEver since seeing so many gushing reviews about this iPhone mail client, I had to take a look at it myself. I was curious what all the hoopla was about, and wether this would live up to the hype. When I saw screenshots of the application, I was immediately reminded of the Gmail mail client (in terms of interface) and liked how Sparrow seemed to use the limited real estate of the iPhone. Since there is also an email client called Sparrow for the Mac desktop – this review will be limited only to the iPhone version of the application.

The Good
1. It’s $2.99 in the Apple App Store. Great price for the quality of application.
2. Multiple email account support. One of the only email clients to support multiple email accounts and the switching between those accounts. This is something iPhone users have wanted for a long time.

3. Swiping to reveal message options. This little feature saves lots of time. Just a simple swipe to the left over a message gives you access to things you can do with a message (like delete, archive, etc).

The Bad
1. Text wrapping sucks. When you type an email and the text goes longer than the screen size, your text will keep going to what seems like twice the size of the screen and then wrap after two words. This is really disorienting when you are trying to type and can’t see what you’re typing.

2. You’ll have a difficult time finding settings. The button that gets you access to setting is under a second tile that you have to swipe away. For an application such as Sparrow, settings should be easier to get to.


The Ugly
1. No push notifications. When you want to find out about a new email message, you’ll have to open the mail client and check for it. If you have a jailbroken phone, you can grab the free application “Sparrow Push” in Cydia to enable this functionality. Expect future versions to include this.
2. This is not a revolution. The interface is nice, but it’s something that we’ve seen in other places. More specifically in the Gmail client. While the hated Gmail client has it’s drawbacks (being free isn’t one of them), the tiled interface looks and feels pretty much the same minus one extra tile.

Final Thoughts

First and foremost – this is a nice email client, but it’s not the revolutionary, radical departure others have been talking about. I think the price is most certainly right for what you get, but you’ll be fairly disappointed with the many drawbacks that come with it. Mail on the iPhone is still an acquired taste and Sparrow proves that more than ever. Let’s hope they continue to improve this because it does have the potential to make mail on the iPhone NOT crappy.