Gmail has always offered an odd mixture of lightning fast AJAX navigation and frustratingly slow load times, depending on what you’re doing. The worst offender, by far, is the initial load when you first open the page – sometimes the loading bar flashes by in a second, others it chooses to sluggishly crawl without any apparent intention of ever finishing.
Whether you’re affected by Gmail’s mysterious moodiness or live in non-urban, non-broadband or otherwise slow internet connection areas (or access your mail via your mobile), this Gmail Labs feature might be useful: while Gmail crawls to a full boot, Inbox Preview allows you to take a quick plain text look at your latest ten inbox mails. You can’t access them but at least you might be able to make a snap decision on whether it’s worth switching hastily to your inbox once Gmail is up and running or stopping the mail boot altogether.
You can enable the feature by heading to the Labs section of Gmail and look for “Inbox Preview”.