Review: Spark for Mac
If you would have asked me about Twitter apps back in 2010-2012, I would have droned on for 13 hours naming off any and every decent (or better) Twitter app for a number of platforms. I would have told you intimate details about every pro, every con, and every thing else in between. But Twitter turned into a giant cesspool, controlled by a three-headed dragon, of which, none of the heads could make good decisions. So here we are in 2016. What does an obsessive person such as myself have to turn to now for a fix? Email apps.
But isn’t email dead? No. That’s a stupid statement.
If your job is one of those cool Silicon Valley shops that has migrated to mostly chat and other non-email email replacements, good for you. Truly. Conversation and communication apps are my thing under the larger umbrella. But for the sake of today’s focus, we’re going to talk about email.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room – it’s not broken. There’s this notion that email needs “fixed”. In reality, email is what it is. It’s not a real-time conversation medium. It’s not a social network. It’s a basic, at-your-own-pace communication method.
Now, one could argue that email apps themselves are broken. Take for example the stock Mac mail app. It’s ok. Considering the amount of engineers and money Apple has on staff, it’s pretty appalling and embarrassing mail.app is the best they could come up with, graphically speaking, UX speaking, and feature wise (or lack thereof…to all of the above). That’s where apps like Spark come in.
So how is it?
To be clear (and fair), this is a 1.0. I’ve been using the beta sine it was released Monday (Nov. 21st) night. Also to be clear – I may be a tad overly excited given how long I, and the other email junkies/Spark hopefuls have been waiting (literally, months).
Upon first firing up the app you’re met with a clean, slick interface that is, I truly believe, one of the best on the market. Some other notables that come close but aren’t as well put together include Airmail and Nylas. Everything seems like an immense amount of time was spent on each and every pixel. It’s simple and well thought out without being too simple.
On that same point – power users and Airmail junkies who use and love Airmail for the immense amount of customizable options, Spark isn’t for you – yet. Airmail has way, way more features and fine tuning available to the end user. Again, this first version of Spark hits the ground running with a small but solid feature set that includes:
- Smart Inbox – Receive notifications only for important emails (generally spot on)
- Quick Replies
- Smart folders (based on keywords and customizable)
- Multi-state swipe actions. (up to 4 – 2 either direction)
- Multi-account support (just about any account you can think of)
- Per-account signatures (w/ HTML support)
- Touch Bar support
The lack in features may turn some away. And that’s fine. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that one size fits all or that one app can accommodate all types of workflows. It can’t. Spark can’t. No one is perfect. But Spark is pretty damn awesome at what it does do.
For me, the time has come to move other email apps to the trash (for now) and issue the command above. There’s no looking back. Sure, I’ll try out new updates here and there because it’s what I do. But the search, the chase for that fix, has been obtained. Spark has finally come along and hit enough of the right check boxes for me while combining said features in an interface I put at the top, seemingly ending the great chase for “the one” in email apps. For that I’m truly relieved, though, disappointed. Part of the excitement in something like this is in the art of the chase.
Get it starting today in the Mac App Store – Mac App Store Link
Note: Readdle’s choice of GIF for the Mac Beta signup was on point.