Gmail 2.0 is great on iPhone. I have no complaints. The buttons are big and easy to tap. Threads are compact when I need them to be, but expand nicely when I want to catch up on a conversation. The extra From: addresses that I set up in Gmail on the desktop are all present in the iOS app, which effectively allows me to use Gmail as my One Email App To Manage Them All as long as all my email is forwarded to one place (which it is).
The app feels pretty fast, and beats the pants off of searching within Apple’s own Mail app. In fact, I’ve moved the Mail app onto my fourth home screen and moved Gmail right into the dock. It’s that good and the push notifications are reliable enough.
Gmail 2.0 on the iPad mini is pretty, but text is a little small, and the interface can feel a little cramped after a while. Portrait mode isn’t really optimized for reading messages, and I constantly want to hide the messag list and have my current e-mail take up the whole screen – but I can’t. The same thing goes for the compose or reply window, which is permanently stuck as a pop-up with tiny text. I didn’t really expect a different UI for the iPad mini, but the device has been out for long enough that Google could have adapted with options for text size. I’ll still use the iPad version of the app because I really love the search capabilities, but it does seem like Google was only thinking of the bigger 9.7″ iPad when they designed this app.
I was really excited about the announcement of Gmail 2.0, and even Gmail still isn’t a native app (like Sparrow for iPhone), it’s great to see Google taking their iOS offerings more seriously. I’m loving the clean design and desktop-class features – I just need the design to adapt a little better to the iPad mini’s form factor.
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