A lot of people never feel the need to switch to a third-party mail client on the iPhone, since the stock app is pretty good and offers most features you are ever likely to need on a mobile device. The iPad is a different story though. The tablet variant of the stock Mail app in iOS offers more features than its iPhone counterpart, but one might argue that its interface has room for improvement, especially on a large-screen device. If you want an email client for your iPad with more ‘oomph’ when it comes to the UI, Birdseye Mail might be a great option. This app is a client for Gmail and Gmail Hosted accounts, with an interface optimized for the iPad, and support for a handful of gestures. Furthermore, the app also analyzes each mail to offer you relevant options for it. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Since Birdseye Mail can only be used for Gmail accounts, logging in to the app is really easy. There is no lengthy configuration procedure, and all you have to do is to enter your Gmail or Google Apps email ID and password. A few graphical instructions are shown upon sign in, after which you are taken to the main page. These instructions can be viewed later as well by taping help from the gear icon menu.
Birdseye Mail works only in landscape mode, and the main page of the app complements that design choice. Every label set up in your account is shown on the home screen, represented by large, folder-like icons. To compose a new email, just hit the small pen icon in the top-right corner. Photos can be attached to messages from within the app, and Birdseye Mail accesses local contacts to let you add people to the recipient list easily.
When it comes to viewing email messages, Birdseye Mail is pretty unique; messages are shown in the form of an endless stream of cards. These cards display a part of the email’s text, along with any images that might be present. From the stock Settings app, you can toggle on the ‘Swipe Up To Delete’ gesture, and choose the time to mark a message as read after opening it.
To navigate to mails from a certain day in any folder, hit the small time display at the bottom of the screen and choose the desired date. Another great feature of Birdseye Mail is its ability to distinguish between personal correspondence and newsletters. For spam and publicly sent mails, you get option to easily unsubscribe and visit the source website. There aren’t too many of these smart actions available currently, but the app’s developers are open to suggestions in this regard.
Birdseye Mail also lets you open various file types received as attachments in the app itself. The formats supported by the in-app viewer include Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and several others. You can also open these files in another app that can handle them. Inline images are supported in messages from trusted senders.
Like many other email clients for iOS, Birdseye Mail lacks push notifications. This might be a deal breaker for some but if you check your Gmail account very frequently anyway, maybe you can overlook this shortcoming. Apart from addressing this, adding support for other email services can make this app one of the best email clients available for the iPad. You can install Birdseye Mail on your iPad for free using the link provided below.
Update: The app isn’t publicly available yet, and will be released on 8th February, 2013.