Strong opinions, weakly held

Is a desktop email client in my future?

I haven’t upgraded to OS X Lion yet, but when I do, I’m curious to try out the new version of the Mail application. I have been a dedicated user of Gmail for years, but I’m wondering if I might find using a desktop application more productive.

A couple of months ago, I switched from Google Reader to the latest version of NetNewsWire Lite. For years I was having trouble keeping up with my feeds, but since switching to the desktop application, I’ve had no problem staying on top of them, even though I have just as many subscriptions. I’m still not sure why. The desktop interface is snappier, but the keyboard shortcuts in NetNewsWire aren’t any easier to deal with than the ones provided by Google Reader.

I’m wondering if switching back to a desktop app for mail might not have the same effect. The thing that keeps me using Gmail is the conversation management. If it works as well in the new Mail app from Apple, I’m going to give it a real shot. I’m curious to find out.


  1. Have you tried Sparrow? I always feel like that should unite the best of both worlds, yet I never feel as productive in it as I do in Gmail’s web interface.

  2. I’ve never tried Sparrow. I did use MailPlane a few times but it never stuck.

  3. +1 for Sparrow. I have 4 Google apps mail accounts and it is nice to have all of that conversation in one location instead of 4 browser windows.

  4. If you do try Mail again, be sure to customize the toolbar and add the Archive button. Neven Mrgan pointed it out and it really filled the one thing thing gmail had over Mail for me.

  5. I’m on Lion and on a large monitor, Mail in full screen is too big. More precisely, messages are too wide. I’d prefer to set some reasonable max width. But, the new conversation view is rather nice.

  6. The new mail is much better than the old mail. But Gmail is still king of the hill when it comes to conversations. For example, if you’re used to seeing your replies in a Gmail conversation, you’ll miss them in Mail.app. It’s like they completely forgot that conversations aren’t just things you listen to other people have…you’re also a participant in them!

  7. Not including my email in the conversation is a total deal breaker.

  8. Also, try out the latest Thunderbird with the Thunderbird Conversations addon. It mimics the Gmail behavior fairly well.

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