If you are a GMail user and constantly find yourself going to the web interface for GMail to check for new mail, and want a quick, lightweight and easy solution to access your email from the convenience of your Mac OS X desktop, then MailTab is just the right application for you.
MailTab is a freeware application available from the Mac App Store. It does one thing, and it does it well: shifts your GMail web interface to your desktop. And since it is a desktop application (but sits in the status bar), it has support for notifications.
Since the only mail service supported by MailTab is GMail, there are no settings involved at all. All you have to do is enter your username and password, and you are ready to receive mail.
The default refresh period is 1 minute, but you can change according to your wish. I don’t know what protocol MailTab uses, but it seems that it is definitely not IMAP, otherwise we would have push mail support rather than a refresh mechanism.
When a new mail is received, a notification sound is played, and the icon in the status bar gets tagged by a red star, denoting the arrival of new mail. I could not find any preferences to change the sound used or notification mechanism (no support for Growl etc).
Something that irks me about MailTab is that the developer chose to go with the GMail native look and feel rather than standard OS X interface. Being a purist, I kind of dislike a non-native application sitting in my status bar. Same goes for the status bar icon. The grey-black color is sort of a default for status bar icons, but MailTab’s icon is white.
As far as mail-related operations are concerned, composing new mail, marking messages as read, deleting, marking as spam, archiving, all of them work pretty much in the same way as they work on the online interface.
MailTab also lacks support for multiple accounts. To use a different account, you must first sign out of the account currently logged in, and then enter new credentials.