As an inveterate early adopter, I love new software and beta is one of my favorite words. For some time I’ve forwarded all my email accounts through Gmail and make heavy use of its filtering capabilities. I regularly use Mailplane, a desktop email reader for Mac but the notification about Sparrow, a new Gmail desktop client for the Mac, was irresistible to a geek like me. Billed as minimalist, it is true to its description. While I love the clean interface and the simplicity, it lacks some features at this point that I simply can’t live without.

Beta app for Gmail for Mac

Click to see it bigger

Like

  • Clean interface; lots of white space
  • Large preview pane, which you can show or hide
  • Simple and fast
  • Supports multiple accounts
  • Supports Growl notifications
  • Handles threaded conversations

Dislike

  • Doesn’t use Gmail shortcuts; you won’t be able to J and k your way through your inbox. I’m not sure I want to try to learn a whole new set of keyboard shortcuts, which I depend on a lot.
  • No ability to change the font size; this is important when you are, ahem, not as young as you used to be.
  • Help/support only via email at this time; I’d rather read on my own than feel like I’m bothering someone.

Dealbreaker

  • No support for labels. I’m a label/filter freak — 20 of ’em, to be exact and I love the priority inbox. Unfortunately, messages that are in folders or labels are inaccessible, which is … most of my email.

Sparrow won’t work for me now, but I’ll be watching this little app as they plan to add label support, which, according to this Mashable post, is the next new feature.

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