Mac users may well be familiar with the Sparrow email client and, after what seems like an endless wait, the app has made its way onto iOS for use on iPhones an iPods. All Sparrow is concerned with is IMAP email accounts – the likes of Gmail and MobileMe – so if you’re looking for a client to take care of your POP accounts, you’re going to need to look elsewhere. What Sparrow does focus on is providing you with a unified inbox for multiple email accounts and a range of tools that make it easy to interact with your messages.

A large number of the actions you would generally perform with your emails can be achieved with a swipe – if you’re a Twitter user with an iPhone, this is something you will be familiar with. Just swipe and you can delete, archive, label and star messages quickly and easily. A downward swipe can be used to refresh your inbox, again, just like with Twitter. Email conversations are grouped together in threads and this allows for easy navigation and management of mail.

If you are using Sparrow to manage both business and personal email accounts, you can make use of aliases to help keep this separate to some extent. To make email senders easier to recognize at a glance, contact images are displayed next to emails. When you are composing emails, your most frequently emailed contacts automatically appear the top of the contact list – it is simple touches like this that make Sparrow a pleasure to use.

The current lack of support for POP email accounts is understandable, even though it may be a slight annoyance for some users hoping to easily access all of their accounts in one place without the need to set up forwarding. However, the fact that an email client – which by its very nature is home to communication you will want to be alerted about – does not support push notifications is a serious oversight. This is something that needs addressing as soon as possible.

Sparrow 1.3 changes include:

- POP support
- Folder mapping issues

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Once push notifications are added to the app, this will be a great replacement for the built in Mail app of iOS, and it’s still worthy of attention in the meantime.