iPhone Twitter app roundup
So you have an iPhone and you use Twitter, but with the plethora of Twitter applications available in the App Store (including one that just went official), which do you chose? TiPb is here to help with a Twitter app roundup! Now this is not your typical top 5 or top 10 must-have, best Twitter app list. This is about options and alternatives, and Ally, Leanna, and guest writer Alli Flowers have chosen the following 12 to review and help narrow your search:
- Twitter for iPhone
- SimplyTweet 3
- Twitbird Pro
- Twittelator Pro
To see what we had to say, follow us after the break!
Twitter for iPhone
Previously known as Tweetie, Twitter for iPhone [Free - iTunes link] is the official Twitter application from Twitter. It is full featured and easy to use. Swiping a tweet will get you reply options, and tapping the tweet will allow you to view attached photos or url’s. The swipe to reply seems so natural, and it’s uncluttered. Likewise with Tweetie’s settings - you know exactly what you’re looking at and what will happen if you turn something OFF or ON.
If you're looking for a Twitter client with fast and reliable push, Twitbit [$2.99 - iTunes link] is the app for you. However, an excellent push notification system isn't the only thing appealing about Twitbit. The UI is very clean and clutter free. On the bottom toolbar, you will find tabs for your timeline, mentions, messages, lists, and more. Twitbit comes with 4 themes: Gradients, Dark, Plain, and Chat.
The two main complaints about Twitbit is the lack of "quick reply" from the timeline and no option to "reply all". The most impressive feature is how quickly notifications are pushed to your iPhone. Notifications are received within seconds of them being sent.
The developers of Twitbit regularly release updates and do an excellent job of replying to users and adding requested features.
Tweeterena currently comes in 3 flavors; Tweeterena Lite [Free - iTunes link], Tweeterena [$0.99 - iTunes link], and Tweeterena Pro [$3.99 - iTunes link]. The free version is ad-supported while the $0.99 version is sans ads. Tweeterena Pro will get you the following features, which the cheaper versions leave out:
- Multiple Account Support
- Facebook integration
- Custom Backgrounds
- Quick watch user functionality
- Friend grouping
I spent most of my time with the Pro version. As far as I’m concerned, Tweeterena (Pro version or not) has little improvement since I last evaluated it. In terms of functionality, it doesn’t offer anything some other clients offer for a lower price or even free. My biggest issue with Tweeterena was honestly the general layout and color schemes. They just don’t work well. You get funky shading that just doesn’t look right over the backgrounds. Also, custom backgrounds are somewhat very misleading. You don’t get to customize your background throughout the entire layout, only in the compose screen. So to me, that just doesn’t cut it when several other clients that offer that allow it through the entire thing. And lastly, the settings are split up. Part are found in-app and part are in settings, which to me makes no sense. My honest opinion is that there are much better clients out there for cheaper that are a much better value.
Osfoora for Twitter
Osfoora [$2.99 - iTunes link] offeres a clean UI with all the features anyone could want. “Borrowing” from Tweetie, Osfoora allows you to pull down to refresh in any view. While Osfoora has been my primary Twitter client for about a month, my main complaint is that you must tap on a tweet in order to Reply All. Otherwise, tap/hold will get you the typical reply options. I have two favorite things about Osfoora. One: it does a super job of showing conversation threads. Two: the Osfoora developer is extremely active on Twitter, and very responsive to user requests.
HootSuite [$2.99 - iTunes link] is a cute little twitter app that also supports Facebook integration. If you use ow.ly to shrink your links, HootSuite will display your stats of shared links.
Unlike most Twitter clients, HootSuite uses columns instead of tabs as method of switching between your timeline, mentions, DM's, etc. To switch between columns, just swipe left or right from your current column. The advantage to columns is that you can add and remove and organize custom columns so you can taylor your experience Twitter to you.
HootSuite is missing one important feature: conversation view. Reading conversations is a huge part of my Twitter experience, so I find the lack of support very disappointing. HootSuite also does not support push notifications. Other than those two missing things, HootSuite is an excellent Twitter client.
SimplyTweet 3 [$4.99 - iTunes link] was honestly one of my favorite clients I reviewed. It’s drop dead simple to navigate around and very similar in style to Tweetie 2. Along the bottom you have all of your essential functions.
One thing I really enjoyed about using SimplyTweet 3 was how fast it was. SimplyTweet also supports all your essential functions. A major plus of SimplyTweet is built-in push. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was extremely quick. And the conversations view is something I really wish other clients would start implementing.
Final thoughts on SimplyTweet 3? It’s an extremely decent twitter client. At $4.99, it’s a bit steep compared to some other respectable options. Either way – if you’d like built-in push bundled with a twitter client with a great UI and easy to navigate interface, SimplyTweet may just be for you.
If you like TweetDeck on your desktop, you might very well be happy with TweetDeck [Free -iTunes link] on your iPhone - especially since it’s free. I love being able to view my tweets in columns (similar to Twitter lists). It can save you time when you don’t really want to look through your entire follow timeline - especially if you follow a large number of people. All the basic features of any Twitter client are included in TweetDeck, and I really can find no fault in it. Columns begin zoomed out so that you can scroll left and right between them, and when a column is chosen, it zooms in so that you can scroll up and down through the tweets. TweetDeck’s columns work the same way as the views on every other client, but with a little more flexibility in that you decide exactly who you want in each column. Not much variety in design - you can choose from “dark” or “light.”
Twitterrific was the first Twitter application released with the launch of iPhone OS 2.0. So it has been around for a long time and has seen many improvements and won many design awards. Twitterrific is available in two versions: a free, ad supported version [iTunes link], and a premium ad-free version [$4.99 - iTunes link]. Neither versions include push.
Those design awards were well earned as style is what Twitterrific does best. The UI is beautiful and you can easily change font size with a tap of a button on the timeline. Twitterrific includes 3 themes: Raven, Snowy, and Basic. It also offers the unique option of left-handed controls. Twitterrific is an excellent full-featured Twitter client with a wonderful design.
Another client that showed up on the Twitter scene not too long ago that pleasantly surprised me is Twitbird Pro [$2.99 - iTunes link] Not only is Twitbird Pro rich with features, there are tons of customization options, including changing your wallpaper throughout the entire app, which I enjoyed. Twitbird Pro has a very unique conversations view which was implemented extremely well. Twitbird Pro also has built-in push services. There’s a slight catch though. The push that comes with Twitbird Pro only supports push between Twitbird Pro users. If you’d like global push from all Twitter users, that’ll cost you $2.99 for the upgrade in-app. I did not buy the push service, so if anyone has any hands-on, sound off in the comments about the reliability/speed. Boxcar supports Twitbird Pro, so I just set Boxcar to open Twitbird Pro and had no issues. My verdict is that TwitBird Pro has tons of potential. The implementation and layout is almost there, but not quite.
Twittelator Pro [$4.99 - iTunes link] was the first truly great Twitter app for iPhone. There are so many options it can sometimes be confusing. Perhaps when iPhone 4 is released, there will be a real purpose to having sounds on new tweets, but for now it’s a feature that you can’t take much advantage of, and due to the lame nature of the sounds… you probably wouldn’t want to. Nonetheless, Twittelator Pro does everything: sounds, themes, conversations, photos, geotagging, you name it. For some reason, scrolling quickly to the top in Twittelator Pro is disconcerting. One tap goes up a page, two taps goes straight to the top. It just seems like one option too many. Replying to a tweet in Twittelator Pro can be a trial. Double tap the time shown on the right to quick reply, tap the avatar for the full set of options beneath the user’s profile.
Echofon for Twitter is one of the few Twitter clients that offer push notifications. The free, ad-supported version [iTunes link] only pushes mentions and DMs from other Echofon users. The "pro" ad-free version [$4.99 - iTunes link] sends notifications from all Twitter users.
If you are looking for reliable push notifications, Echofon is not for you. I highly recommend test-driving the free version before purchasing the ad-free version to see if push meets your standards. If you're a FireFox or Mac (or both) user, one great feature of Echofon is that it syncs unread tweets across all platforms.
One thing that some people may love and others may hate is that conversations are viewed with oldest on top. This is obviously the most natural way to read a conversation, but I find it a bit awkward because it goes against the Twitter style.
Other than my disappointment with push notifications, I view Echofon to be a great Twitter client.
My last client was Fluttr [$2.99 – iTunes link]. I somewhat decided to review Fluttr last minute. I was browsing the app store and the layout looked pretty slick.
Unfortunately, I don’t have too much to say at this time. Every time I tried to test it out, I got tons of API errors and it never wanted to load my mentions (see screenshots).
From what I could get out of it, it had the same problem TwitBird Pro has with mentions. You have to click back to the home screen in order to access anything. To me, it’s a bit redundant, as you shouldn’t have to do that for main functions. They should be easily accessible all along the bottom. The UI is put together very nicely and I think it’s a client to definitely keep an eye on. A few good quality updates and it could be a good contender. It does have several features including lists. If I could have used them without getting errors, I may have been more willing to give it more time on my main iPhone home screen. The bugs are what keep me from recommending it as of now. Either way – jump down for screens!
Given the packed field of competition amongst Twitter clients, the winner will have to have something very special. Something way beyond push notification or themes. I know several people who continue using the first Twitter client they tried when they got their iPhones. Some of us (like the three of us bringing you this roundup), keep trying new Twitter apps in search of that je ne sais quoi. We’ll know it when we see it, I’m sure. But we have to keep trying them all, and discovering which tiny things we love and which we dislike, waiting for that one perfect app that puts all our favorites together in one beautiful package. Which one is right for you? Heck if we know - we can’t even decide which is right for ourselves. But this is truly a case of it being the trip and not the destination that makes it all worth the ride.