Well-l-l-l ... yes and no . Gmail is pretty good, I'll grant, but it doesn't always recognize source URLs, and has a [bad] habit of not recognizing email subscriptions. I'll see half-a-dozen to a dozen emails daily that should have come to my inbox.
You must have one of those email addresses that everyone loves
Of the 10 GMail addresses I have, I'm lucky if I see more the one spam email per month in my Inboxes in total and only about 10 misdiagnosed spam in total ever since I had them. But then, I don't really get much spam, (>50/month across all accounts), since none of the addresses could be considered a "normal" name based address, (ie. firstname.lastname@example.org), that seems to enabled me to avoid a hell of a lot.
My wife, however, gets hundreds of the things every month and occasionally one real one would get classified as spam but that hasn't happened for a year or so now, very few of the spam gets through GMails filtering - maybe one a month.
About the only thing that really urks me about GMail is the way they think, for example, p.smith = psmith - if they fixed their system to recognise the period, 90% of my spam would disappear overnight.
Anyway, back to the OP - if you're running Firefox:
- Check Load images automatically
- Click Exceptions and add mail.google.com
This will remove all images from GMail including from buttons that use them, (Newer/Older seem to be the only two), but the alt text will still appear if you hover over them.
Mind you, if you're one of those people that absolutely love HTML emails....then I have no sympathy for the mess that will be left
EDIT: You can do the same thing under Dragon/Chrome.
There's also the Image Block
add-on for Firefox.