The new app is definitely a massive upgrade over its predecessor, with features more akin to the Android app than the mobile web version of Gmail. One of the biggest changes is that now multiple accounts are supported – although there’s no universal inbox as you’d find in Sparrow.
The interface has also been improved, with larger and easier to read fonts and nice animations more akin to Google’s recently well received Google+ mobile app. Stuff like threaded conversations are handled extremely well, with nice styling that fits both Google and Apple’s style.
The app is also well interfaced with the other Google apps on iOS, including Google+ and Google Calendar. That means you’ll be able to reply to Calendar invites directly and take actions from Google+ notifications.
Still, the app doesn’t feel quite finished yet. It’s a bit stuttery in places and getting from one place to another isn’t as easy as it could be. Even going from one message to another is harder than it should be, replacing a single swipe gesture or tap with quite a few steps.
Where the app should be an essential iPhone 5 accessory, it’s instead relegated to a 2nd class choice. If you’ve already ponied up for Sparrow, I’d probably suggest you continue to use it. In contrast, if you haven’t paid for Sparrow then the native Gmail app is a lot better than it was before and is definitely worth a try.