For a while now I’ve been using [Sparrow][sparrow] to access my email both work and personal since they’re on Gmail or Google Apps. Unfortunately a recent update that added support for other IMAP client has slowed Sparrow down lots and meant I’m in the market for a new email client again.
I’ve wanted to try [Mailplane][mailplane] for a while since I’ve heard it recommended lots so this seemed like a good opportunity.
Mailplane is really just a standalone interface for the browser version of Gmail or Google Apps. Since you can access it from the web in the same format why on earth would you pay for an application that just adds OSX chrome to the web interface?
Well it adds more than just OS X chrome to the web interface. Mailplane also allows fast switching between any number of Gmail/Google Apps accounts (which you an sort of do online) along with a number of other nice refinements.
### I like
As I mentioned above Mailplane lets you use any number of Gmail/Google Apps accounts and switch between them quick. I have 3 accounts that are used regularly so this is/was a great feature.
Mailplane also supports all of the standerd Gmail shortcuts so if you’ve already learned them you’re not going to be thrown off by proprietary shortcuts. You can also access a quick view of all the shortcuts by pressing ‘?’.
As an [Omnifocus][oflink] user I also appreciated the addition of a plugin that allows Omnifocus to link directly to emails in Mailplane. No more looking for emails reference by a TODO item.
Update: June 1 2011 – Looks like this was supported all along and I just missed it. If you’re a Things user then you’ve got the same email functionality as Omnifocus listed above. In fact the [blog post](http://mailplaneapp.com/blog/entry/things_app_quick_entry_autofill_for_mailplane/) indicates its been there since 2009 so I obviously needed to look harder.
Mailplane also allows you to optimize attachments automatically after they are dragged in to the application window. Not something that Gmail offers and it’s a time saver if you’re attaching things often (like I am with comps of Web designs).
Hate the ads in Gmail, well Mailplane has an option to hide the ads so you don’t have to see them anymore.
Finally like many other OS X apps Mailplane integrates with Growl, if you like that sort of thing. I turn off all notifications of new mail (no badges, no Growl, no sound…) since all notifications do 95% of the time is distract you from productive work.
While Mailplane ascribes to the ‘one thing well’ mentality I’d still like to see the other Google applications integrated. It would be great if your web browser didn’t fire up when you can to look at your calendar. Sure you can have the quick calendar tab just like in Gmail but it’s still a bit of a jarring experience to head out to the browser.
Account switching and loading time can also be pretty slow at times. It’s certainly not something I find really bad but you’ll have to wait a 10−15 seconds while accounts load at times.
Since this is just a wrapper on the web version of Gmail/Google Apps I miss Vimium. Really Vimium is a Chrome feature/plugin that adds Vim keys to the browser. Since I use it often/all the time I miss it in the web interface. Mailplane/Gmail has it’s own set of shortcuts that can do almost the same thing so this is really picky and if you’ve never used Vimium this isn’t going to be an issue for you.
If you’re looking for the ‘right’ email application and most of your email is through Gmail/Google apps then Mailplane is certainly worth a serious look. I’m not sure if it’s the right option for me but it’s certainly really close.
I paid for all of the applications myself but most of the links above are affiliate links.