iPhone Gems: Top 12 Twitter Apps Reviewed | iLounge Article

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iPhone Gems: Top 12 Twitter Apps Reviewed

Over the past year the popularity of the Twitter micro-blogging service has continued to increase dramatically. With this growth, the Twitter service itself has expanded to offer new communication and social features. Mobile devices such as the iPhone continue to be popular platforms for accessing and sharing information on Twitter, and there continues to be a healthy landscape of Twitter applications for the iPhone, offering new features to keep up with the evolution of the iPhone and Twitter itself.

This week we take a look at the Twitter applications available for the iPhone. Unlike last year’s comprehensive review where we covered every application that had anything to do with Twitter, this time around we’re focusing on actual full-featured Twitter client apps—those that can be used to provide full access to Twitter’s most commonly-used features—rather than single-purpose apps that merely post or search Twitter.

 

There have been some significant changes in the last year with many of these applications in order to keep up with the evolution of the Twitter platform and provide access to new Twitter and iPhone features such as Twitter Lists, geotagging, video recording, and Push Notifications. Further, many features that were previously less common among Twitter applications have now become almost standard, including features such as camera and GPS integration, offline access, and support for multiple accounts.

 

About Push Notifications

Another new development since we last looked at Twitter applications was the introduction of Push Notifications in iPhone OS 3.0. Ideally suited for social communication services such as Twitter, Push Notifications can be used to alert you to new mentions or direct messages from other Twitter users. It’s worth noting, however, that Push Notifications require a server on the Internet to send the notification from Twitter’s servers to your iPhone. At this point Twitter has not implemented their own Push Notification server, and as a result, relatively few applications provide Push Notification support. Those that do are relying on their own servers to monitor the user’s Twitter account on their behalf and send out notifications as required. Users should be aware that these notifications are not coming directly from Twitter, but rather from the application developer’s web site, which must be authorized to access the user’s Twitter account.

It’s also worth noting that third-party apps such as Boxcar ($2) and Tweet Push (free) can be used to provide Push Notifications for your Twitter account even if you’re using a Twitter client that doesn’t natively provide this capability. Many iPhone Twitter clients can be called from other apps, allowing dedicated Push Notification apps to automatically open your Twitter client of choice when a new notification is received. This means that while integrated Push Notifications are a nice bonus, the lack of them certainly isn’t a deal breaker when choosing a Twitter client.

Birdfeed 1.2 from System of Touch
UPDATE (03-11-2010): As of March 10, 2010, Birdfeed has been discontinued and removed from the App Store. The application has been re-released as Brizzly for Twitter (free), a redesigned Twitter client that interfaces with the Brizzly.com online reader service. The new application retains a similar UI design to its predecessor and adds support for posting pictures to Brizzly or Flickr, saving searches online, Twitter Lists and integration into Brizzly.com specific features such as Brizzly Guides. It should be noted that, unlike most of the other Twitter applications we’ve reviewed, Brizzly is not a direct Twitter client, but interfaces with Twitter through the Brizzly.com service.

Rather than trying to be all things to all users, Birdfeed ($3) focuses on providing a simple and clean user interface with a focus on the key features that most Twitter users are likely to need. A main menu provides quick access to the user’s timeline, mentions, direct messages, and favorites as well as options to view their own profile, tweets, or perform a search. Twitter timelines are presented as a series of conversation bubbles which you can tap on to view more details. Birdfeed also nicely provides a timestamp bookmark whenever new tweets are loaded so you can see where you left off in your Twitter stream.

 

When composing new tweets users can add their current location and post photos from the camera or saved photo library using either yfrog or TwitPic. Posting videos is not supported. Birdfeed provides URL shortening automatically via tr.im. Although Birdfeed cannot save multiple drafts, the tweet in progress is saved until it is either sent or manually cleared.

 

Birdfeed also provides the ability to search Twitter, including finding tweets near the user’s current location and browsing through trends. A search history is maintained, and searches can be saved locally on the device. Custom searches saved from the Twitter web site are not available. Birdfeed also lacks support for some of Twitter’s other new features such as Twitter Lists and the new direct retweet feature. Retweets in Birdfeed are always sent from the user rather than as a direct forward, although Birdfeed allows you to choose from four different retweet formats. Users can also post or e-mail links to a tweet, and in-app e-mail is supported for sending out links via e-mail. Support for Instapaper is also provided to allow you to save links for later reading, and Birdfeed provides integration with services such as Favstar.fm and Tweeteorites when viewing user profiles.

 

When Birdfeed was initially released it was appreciated by many users for its nice clean design, particularly when compared to many of the complicated and cluttered Twitter iPhone apps that were common at the time. Birdfeed maintains this clean and simple design and actually takes some unique approaches, such as using a main menu instead of the bottom menu bar found in most other Twitter apps. It’s worth noting that Birdfeed seems to have lagged behind on adding newer features such as video support, Twitter Lists and saved searches. Birdfeed also notably lacks any support for landscape mode. Although many casual Twitter users may not care about some of these features, and may prefer Birdfeed’s simple and clean design, it’s worth considering whether the $3 asking price is justifiable when compared to more full-featured alternatives. iLounge rating: B-

Echofon / Echofon Pro 3.0.2 from naan studio Inc.

One of our favorite picks from last year, Twitterfon, has since been renamed Echofon and split into two versions: the standard Echofon remains free, but is now ad-supported. A paid version, Echofon Pro ($5), removes the ads and provides global Push Notification support. It’s also worth noting that users can upgrade from the free version to the Pro version via in-app purchase, which saves users the trouble of having to install the Pro version separately and reconfigure all of their settings.

Over the past year Echofon has continued to advance with a facelift and support for numerous new features, including Twitter Lists, new-style retweets, saved searches and video support. Echofon displays the standard bottom menu bar to allow you to choose from the main timeline, mentions or direct messages as well as browsing lists and performing searches. All links are active in the main timeline, allowing you to quickly open a link by tapping directly in the timeline, however this can also make it difficult to get to the detailed tweet view as you need to be careful to tap away from any active links. Replies can also be shown in a threaded conversation view, and links can be saved to either Instapaper or Read It Later.

 

Echofon provides full support for Twitter Lists, including the ability to manage your own lists—renaming, setting privacy, and adding and removing users. You can also view any lists that you happen to be following, lists that you are included on, and choose to follow and unfollow other lists.

When composing new tweets, Echofon provides the ability to post photos and videos from supported iPhone devices, geotag tweets and shorten URLs via bit.ly. Although Echofon only supports TwitPic and Flickr for photo sharing, it is notably the only Twitter app we’ve looked at that provides native Flickr support. Although the current tweet in progress will be saved until it is specifically cleared or sent, there is no ability to save multiple drafts. Landscape mode is also available when composing tweets, although not in any other view.

 

Echofon provides advanced search capabilities, including an integrated map view for nearby tweets and support for storing and using saved searches from Twitter.com. Tweets and links can be sent out via e-mail using the in-app e-mail feature and Echofon provides support for both the old quoted style of retweet and the new direct retweet feature.

 

Echofon supports multiple themes and an adjustable font size for timeline views, and users can also choose to have nearby tweets automatically highlighted in the timeline. Echofon is also unique in its ability to sync unread tweets with its Mac Desktop version, Firefox extension or even Echofon on another iPhone or iPod touch. The free version of Echofon provides push notifications from other Echofon users; global push notifications require an upgrade to the $5 Echofon Pro. Push Notifications can be configured for Mentions, Direct Messages or both, and you can also configure a daily sleep time during which no push notifications will be displayed. Users of the Echofon desktop version can also choose to suppress Push Notifications when the desktop client is in use. Multiple accounts are supported, and push notifications, sync settings and themes can be configured separately for each account.

 

Echofon continues to be one of the most full-featured Twitter clients available for the iPhone, providing good support for advanced Twitter and iPhone features in a reasonably attractive design and a free price tag. Further, Echofon’s unique features such as Flickr support and Desktop app integration will definitely appeal to many users, and it is rather impressive that so much functionality is offered in a free, albeit ad-supported, version of the application. The only real concern we had is that the free version’s limitation on receiving push notifications only from other Echofon users may present a confusing inconsistency for many users, although Push Notifications can just as easily be disabled in this case. While the free version offers great value and earns our high recommendation, it is more debatable whether the removal of ads and the addition of global Push Notifications justifies the $5 asking price for the Pro version in light of alternative less expensive Push Notification options. iLounge rating (Echofon): A-. iLounge rating (Echofon Pro): B+

HootSuite / HootSuite Lite 1.0 from Hootsuite Media Inc.

HootSuite is an iPhone Twitter client targeted primarily at users of the HootSuite Professional desktop solution. Users can choose to sign in to their existing HootSuite account, create a new account or simply add Twitter accounts directly without connecting to the HootSuite service. HootSuite is available in two versions: The full HootSuite ($2) provides support for unlimited Twitter accounts and built-in statistics tracking. The free HootSuite Lite version is limited to three accounts and does not provide stats.

 

Compared to other iPhone Twitter clients, HootSuite provides relatively basic functionality at this point, with its strongest focus being on its desktop integration. Different streams are shown in a menu layout for each account, with a menu bar at the bottom allowing quick access to stats, search and settings options. The timelines themselves are presented in a standard view and users can swipe left and right to quickly switch between timelines.

 

When composing new tweets, users can post photos or shrink URLs. No support is included for more advanced features such as geotagging or posting videos. Thanks to its own back-end service, however, HootSuite does provide one unique feature: Users can compose tweets and schedule them to be sent automatically at a future time and date.

 

Search support includes trends and the ability to save searches locally. When browsing trends users can view more descriptive information about each trending topic. The current version of HootSuite provides basic functionality compared to other iPhone Twitter applications and offers nothing particularly special except for its “Send Later” feature and its integration with the HootSuite service. It will likely be worthwhile for those users who are already using HootSuite or use Twitter professionally and have a need for more advanced statistical tracking, but there are much better options for users who are looking primarily for an iPhone Twitter client. iLounge rating: B-

SimplyTweet 2.5 from MotionObj

When we reviewed it last year, SimplyTweet ($5) was a basic Twitter application that provided very limited functionality. Since then, it has evolved dramatically from that humble beginning into a full-featured Twitter application with more advanced features and even Push Notification support while still retaining its focus as a simple Twitter application.

SimplyTweet provides the standard three streams for friends, mentions and direct messages as well as a search option. Users can choose from several attractive themes to display timelines. New tweets are highlighted and viewing and reading tweets works in the usual way. SimplyTweet provides a landscape view for both reading and composing, a threaded conversation view and user profile and follower management. Links can be saved to Instapaper for later reading.

 

When composing new tweets, users can post photos or videos, add a map link to the current location and shorten URLs or shorten text. Oddly, the iPhone camera can be used to take pictures, but videos can only be uploaded from the saved photo library. SimplyTweet can be configured to share photos and videos via yfrog, Posterous, TwitPic/TwitVid, TwitrPix or img.ly. Long tweets can be automatically posted to Posterous, in which case the first 130 characters or so are posted to Twitter with a link to the Posterous page. Tweets can also be saved as drafts and retrieved, edited and posted later.

 

SimplyTweet does not yet provide support for some of the newer Twitter features such as geotagging tweets, new style retweets, or Twitter Lists. Searching and trends are supported, and searches can be saved, but only locally within the application itself.

 

The most significant distinguishing feature in SimplyTweet is its support for Push Notifications—a feature still uncommon among Twitter applications. It’s worth noting, however, that Push Notifications in SimplyTweet are not configurable; you are simply notified of all new mentions or direct messages unless you disable Push Notifications for the app completely from the main iPhone Notification settings. While this default Push Notification configuration will probably be acceptable for many users, it would be nice to see at least a few basic configuration options such as those found in Echofon. That aside, SimplyTweet is a nice Twitter client with an attractive interface and will appeal to users who want a nice, simple Twitter client with built-in Push Notification support. iLounge rating: B

TweetDeck 1.3 from TweetDeck

TweetDeck (free) for the iPhone stems from a companion desktop application of the same name, and its design is heavily influenced by its desktop sibling. Rather than the standard multi-page UI that most Twitter apps have adopted, TweetDeck uses a customizable column paradigm instead, with each stream separated into its own column. Users can move between columns either by swiping left or right or tapping on the Columns button to display a zoomed-out column browsing view. Although TweetDeck starts users out with a default set of columns, every view is fully customizable, so users can choose which streams they want to view, and add additional customized streams for saved searches, Twitter Lists, or local groups.

 

A total number of updates from all columns is shown in the bottom left corner, and tapping on this button brings up a detailed list of the number of new items in each column. You can skip to the appropriate column by tapping on its name in the unread items listing. TweetDeck synchronizes columns with its desktop counterpart via a separate TweetDeck account, but it’s worth noting that not all column types are synchronized at this point: For example, local groups and locally saved searches sync, however Twitter List columns do not.

 

A number of features are available when composing new tweets, including URL shortening, sharing photos or videos, geotagging and posting from multiple accounts. Users can choose to post geotags as map links, coordinates, or natively add their location using Twitter’s new built-in geotagging feature. Although TweetDeck doesn’t support multiple drafts, the current tweet in progress is saved until specifically cleared or posted. Landscape support is provided in the composing view, but is toggled using a button rather than the device’s accelerometer.

 

TweetDeck provides the ability to view lists within its column, but unlike other Twitter applications does not yet provide any built-in capability for managing Twitter lists. Likewise, saved searches can be pulled down from Twitter.com and placed in a column, but new searches cannot be saved up to the Twitter site. TweetDeck is also unique for providing built-in support for reading and updating Facebook status as well. Multiple columns can be configured to view different Facebook users, and new tweets can be posted to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously.

It’s worth pointing out that TweetDeck’s synchronization with the desktop application is limited to sharing saved columns between devices; unlike Echofon, read tweets are not synchronized with the desktop. TweetDeck comes across as a more “professional-grade” Twitter application for power users—those who want to focus more on specific subsets of their timeline and Twitter searches rather than just general, casual Twitter use. It also focuses more tightly on viewing information from Twitter, lacking many of the account management features that other applications offer. Earlier version of TweetDeck also gained a reputation for being notoriously unstable, but recent versions seem to have improved on this. This app is worth a look for power users or those who use Twitter as part of their business, but casual Twitter users will likely find it a bit intimidating. iLounge rating: B-

Tweeterena Lite / Tweeterena / Tweeterena Pro v3.2 from Andrew Weekes

Tweeterena is available in three flavors: A free Lite version which is ad-supported, a $1 standard version and a $4 Pro version. The lite and standard versions are functionally identical other than the presence of ads in the lite version. The Pro version adds a number of extra features including multiple account support, Facebook integration, additional themes, configurable image services and local friends list support.

 

The standard version of Tweeterena provides the usual set of Twitter features, with timeline views for friends, mentions, direct messages and favorites accessible from a menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Each timeline view displays a different heading color or theme to distinguish it from the others. A search button is also available which provides the standard Twitter search features, including searching for nearby tweets and viewing trends. A list of recent searches is available, but no support for saved searches. Users can also choose from one of five different themes.

 

The standard version of Tweeterena allows users to share pictures or videos using only TwitPic or TwitVid, respectively. The Pro version provides the ability to configure sharing using other services including img.ly, yfrog, Posterous and TwitrPix. Users can also share their location in tweets via a map link or a profile update, but native Twitter geotagging is not supported. URL shortening and text shortening via Twitlonger is also supported when composing new tweets, and translation features are included as well. Landscape mode is also available when composing tweets.

 

Tweeterena lacks support for some of Twitter’s other new advanced features such as new style retweeting, Twitter Lists and geotagging. It is also conspicuously missing the ability to forward tweets via e-mail, a feature available in most other current Twitter clients. Although web links can be sent via e-mail, these do not use the in-app e-mail feature, but instead exit the application to open the iPhone e-mail app directly. Conversation threading also appears to be broken in the current version—attempts to link back to previous tweets in a conversation thread consistently pulled up incorrect tweets that had nothing to do with the current conversation.

Although the standard version of Tweeterena presents a nice user interface, it is lacking too many other basic features to be worth considering, even for its $1 price tag when compared to free apps that do considerably more. The Pro version offers some additional flexibility, and the Facebook integration alone may appeal to some users, but it’s very debatable in our opinion whether this tradeoff for missing Twitter features is worthwhile when compared to less expensive, or free, alternatives. iLounge rating: C

Tweetery 1.0.1 from Skyward Interactive

Tweetery ($2) promotes itself as “Twitter made easy” and maintains a focus on simplicity. It provides basic functionality for viewing your standard Twitter timelines and posting new tweets, but provides no capabilities to speak of beyond that. Notably absent is support for Twitter search, saving drafts, landscape mode, multiple accounts or threaded conversations.

 

Tweetery provides an in-app browser for viewing links and the ability to e-mail tweets and links out via the iPhone’s in-app e-mail feature. Photos can also be shared using TwitPic. Despite its limitations, Tweetery does offer one unique feature in the form of a Mute option: Users can be muted from appearing within your timelines until you specifically un-mute them.

 

Beyond that there’s really little to say about Tweetery. It performs basic Twitter functions reasonably well, and if it were a free app it might be worth considering for users looking for something really simple. At a $2 asking price, however, it’s a bit too simple to be worthy of any kind of recommendation. iLounge rating: C

Tweetie 2 v2.1 from atebits

The second-generation of the acclaimed Tweetie client, Tweetie 2 ($3) was released on the App Store last summer as a completely new application, requiring existing Tweetie users to pay for the new version rather than receiving it as a free update. Tweetie 2, however, represents almost a complete rewrite from the previous version, while still maintaining the features and UI design that made its predecessor so successful.

Tweetie 2 supports all of the advanced Twitter features, including support for Twitter Lists, saved searches, trends, nearby searches with integrated map support, multiple accounts, native geotagging, Instapaper integration and full landscape mode.

Tweetie presents the usual three timeline views, plus a search button. A search field appears at the top of each timeline allowing the displayed tweets to be quickly searched directly within the app, rather than sending a request back to the Twitter servers. Refreshing the timeline is done by scrolling up even further—a UI feature introduced by Tweetie that other apps have now begin to implement as well.

 

Tweetie also provides a unique gap detection feature in the timeline, showing a visual gap between sections and allowing users to load tweets that they may have missed while offline. When composing new tweets, users can take photos or video with the camera or share from the photo library, add geotag information, and shrink URLs with any one of a variety of URL trimming services. Tweets can be forwarded either as quotes or using the new Twitter direct retweet service. Links to tweets can also be posted or shared via e-mail using the in-app e-mail feature, or saved to Instapaper or Read It Later.

 

From the timeline view, swiping left-to-right in a tweet will display a set of options that can be accessed directly, without having to open the detail view, such as viewing the user’s profile, marking the tweet as a favorite, or replying to or forwarding the tweet. Tweetie provides the standard Twitter search capabilities and can also save and view searches from Twitter.com. An integrated map can be shown to display nearby tweets.

 

Tweetie offers integration with a large number of third-party services for photo and video sharing and URL shortening, as well as profile-based services such as Favstar.fm and Tweeteorites. In addition to the pre-configured services, Tweetie allows users to specify custom image or URL shortening services simply by specifying the API endpoint for the service. Tweetie also provides support for Mobilizer services such as Google Mobilizer when viewing web links and integrates with TextExpander for the iPhone to allow text-based shortcuts to be expanded.

 

Despite being one of the most advanced Twitter clients available for the iPhone, Tweetie 2 does a remarkable job of keeping the user interface simple and intuitive. The result is an application that will appeal to both the casual Twitter user and the power user alike. iLounge rating: A-

Twit Pro 2.4.2 from iApp Ventures LLC

Twit Pro ($1) is a basic Twitter application that provides a few advanced features. It uses the same general timeline view found in other applications and supports multiple accounts, Twitter Lists, Saved Searches and trends as well as follower and list management.

 

Users can share photos or videos when sending new tweets, although oddly videos may only be recorded directly within the app—they are not available to be selected from within the photo library. Location information can also be added in the form of a map link, but direct Twitter geotagging is not supported. Twit Pro also lacks the ability to save tweets as drafts or e-mail or post links to received tweets. Only the standard old-style RT format is supported when retweeting.

 

The only particularly notable features in Twit Pro are its follower and list management, allowing users to create new lists, modify list memberships, as well as following, blocking and removing followers.

 

Twit Pro also provides the ability to upload pictures to Facebook from directly within the app, as well as a Twitter Directory that can be used to locate new followers.

 

Ultimately, Twit Pro is nothing particularly special, and it’s UI design seems a bit rough when compared to many of the other Twitter clients. For example, when opening a link within the in-app browser, a full-screen view is presented with no title or menu bars, only a small floating arrow button to return you to the previous screen. Other than the bottom menu bar, the buttons through the application come across as very inelegant and do not fit well with the normal iPhone UI design elements. iLounge rating: C

TwitBird / TwitBird Premium / TwitBird Pro 2.4.1 from NibiruTech LTD.

TwitBird is available in three different versions: The standard TwitBird app is free and ad-supported and limited to two Twitter accounts. TwitBird Premium ($2) removes the ads and supports global Push Notifications, and TwitBird Pro ($3) increases the account limit to 16. Beyond these differences, all three apps provide the same core functionality.

TwitBird uses an interface design similar to that found in BirdFeed, with a main menu displaying the various timeline categories rather than a bottom menu bar. Within each timeline, buttons at the bottom are used to mark tweets read, select a background wallpaper, filter unread or all tweets and compose new tweets.

 

TwitBird provides the ability to mark tweets in a timeline as read and then filter the view to show only unread tweets. This feature can be particularly useful since read status is maintained across all timelines—if you read a tweet from a list view, for example, that tweet will also be marked as read in your main timeline. TwitBird also includes a gap detection feature similar to that found in Tweetie and borrows the same pull-down-to-refresh UI feature. Tweets can be viewed individually or in threaded conversation views, and users can e-mail out tweets using the in-app e-mail feature, view links in the in-app browser and save them to Instapaper, Read It Later or locally within TwitBird for reading later. For retweets, TwitBird supports only the standard RT format and not the new integrated retweet feature. The free version of TwitBird places in-app advertising within the detailed tweet views, rather than within the timeline.

 

From the same main menu, TwitBird displays saved searches from Twitter.com as well as search trends and a nearby search feature that includes an integrated map. TwitBird takes the integrated map view one step further by displaying the actual avatars for nearby tweets. The trend view also includes definitions from whatthetrend.com for each trending topic.

 

The usual options are available for composing new tweets, including photo and video sharing, URL and text shortening, and geotagging. Multiple tweets can also be saved as drafts for later editing and sending. TwitBird offers another interesting and unique feature: Users can select the currently playing music track or browse for a specific track in their iPod library to send out a tweet about it, including an iTunes Store link to the track. TwitBird also provides the ability to make voice recordings and share them via Twitter.

 

TwitBird provides support for landscape mode in all views and includes the ability to lock the current view in either portrait or landscape. Similar to EchoFon, TwitBird provides free push notifications from other TwitBird users in all versions; global push notifications require users to purchase either the Premium or Pro versions. Twitter Lists are also supported, including the ability to create and manage lists, followers and user profile information.

TwitBird is a relatively new entry into the iPhone Twitter client space, but has introduced some impressive capabilities in a relatively polished app. While the UI design of selecting timelines from a vertical menu structure is not typical of most Twitter applications and seems complicated to navigate, some users may prefer this interface, which effectively groups all timelines, searches, lists trends and other options into a single menu. We also share the same reservations about the default internal push notification support as we did for Echofon—notably that the inconsistent experience of receiving push notifications for only some tweets may be confusing. Since Push Notifications can be disabled, however, this should not be a serious concern. The three separate versions of TwitBird do add additional confusion for users in trying to determine what the differences are between each app—a simple two-app free/paid model would make more sense here; the high-end Pro version doesn’t seem to add much value beyond supporting more Twitter accounts. Other than these minor concerns, however, TwitBird presents a solid and well-featured Twitter app that is definitely worth a look for its unique features and UI design. iLounge rating (TwitBird / TwitBird Premium): B+. iLounge rating (TwitBird Pro): B.

Twittelator / Twittelator Pro 3.7.2 from Big Stone Phone

Twittelator (free) and Twittelator Pro ($5) continue to be the two powerhouse Twitter apps that cram almost every possible feature you can think of into a relatively small space, advertising over 150 features in the free version and over 200 in the Pro version. Almost all of the new advanced Twitter features are present, including Twitter Lists, new-style retweets, geotagging, photo and video support and list management.

Unlike many of the other Free/Pro Twitter app combinations, Twittelator Pro differs significantly from its free counterpart in the features it offers. For example, features such as multiple accounts, custom themes and Instapaper integration are available only in the Pro version, to name just a few.

 

Twittelator displays tweets organized into the usual timeline views, with a menu bat at the bottom that allows the user to select views or settings. A More button provides several additional options, and the menu bar can be customized in the same way as in many other iPhone apps.

 

WHen composing new tweets, options appear for adding photos, videos or audio recordings, adding geotag information, and even switching to an emoji-style character set. Content can be shared via a wide variety of different services ranging from TwitPic and yFrog to WordPress and YouTube, although some services are available only in the Pro version.

 

Advanced search features are provided, including an integrated map for nearby searches with tweets displayed using an avatar icon. Users can also search for people or lists from the search interface, or even search for new custom Twittelator themes.

 

With all of the features in Twittelator and Twittelator Pro, the settings screen within the app is extremely long and cluttered, with around 8 pages, or 50 different settings contained in a single scrollable view. Further, features that are only available in the Pro version are shown in the free version as an incentive to upgrade. The settings screen comes across as overwhelming to put it mildly—a hierarchical organization with sub-menus would be much better here in our opinion.

 

Twittelator and Twittelator Pro provide veritable swiss army knives of features, but the feature list combined with the application’s cluttered UI lead us to ask whether this is more than most people need. Certainly there are some very interesting niche features like OmniFocus integration and WordPress posting that may appeal to some users, but in our opinion this doesn’t excuse the fact that the application’s design has struck a very poor balance between the number of features available and the user interface, making it feel cumbersome and unwieldy to use. In short, Twittelator feels like the antithesis of the iPhone itself: An application that does everything you can imagine, but none of it particularly well. iLounge rating: C+

Twitterrific / Twitterrific Premium 2.1.5 from The Iconfactory

Twitterrific was one of the first Twitter clients to appear on the App Store back in 2008 and at the time was unique among Twitter apps in providing a design that emphasized ease-of-use and simplicity over features. Now in its second major version, Twitterrific maintains this focus while adding a few necessary features and evolving the UI design further. Still available in two versions, the free ad-supported Twitterrific and the $5 Twitterrific Premium, the only difference between the two remains the presence of ads in the free version.

Unlike most of the other Twitter apps, Twiterrific takes the unique approach of focusing everything into a single timeline—normal tweets, mentions, and direct messages all appear in this one timeline, color-coded by type. Instead of providing different streams, Twitterrific allows users to quickly filter the single timeline to display only certain specific types of items: mentions, direct messages, favorites, posted tweets, and marked tweets.

 

Similarly, Twitterrific avoids the need for a separate detailed view for each tweet. All links are active from the main timeline, and a pop-up menu is available when selecting a tweet to perform further actions such as forwarding, translating, or viewing conversation threads or profiles. A similar menu is used within the in-app browser when viewing links, and support for Instapaper is also provided. Shortcuts can also be configured from within the settings for quick access to common functions via double- and triple-taps on the timeline. Tweets can also be marked locally for later reference, similar to marking favorites except that they are not shared in the user’s online Twitter profile.

 

When composing new tweets, Twitterrific provides the ability to share photos or videos via the common set of services such as TwitPic and Posterous, to post a map link or update the user’s profile location, as well as integrated URL shortening. Multiple accounts are supported as are locally-saved searches and trends.

 

Twitterrific has generally not evolved beyond the more basic twitter features, but this seems to be by intentional design rather than by omission. No support for new-style RTs, Twitter Lists or geotagging is included, and in reality Twitterrific has not received a major update since before Twitter itself introduced these new features. Users looking for a more full-featured twitter client are likely to skip over Twitterrific anyway for its basic UI, but for the casual Twitter user who wants a simple, uncluttered interface that’s easy to follow, Twitterrific remains one of the better choices. The ad-free version has dropped in price to $5, making it a slightly more reasonable purchase for somebody who really likes the app and wants to get rid of the ads, but since it is otherwise the exact same application, we see little reason not to stick with the free version unless you hate the ads or want to support the developer directly—for all intents and purposes the paid version is basically donation-ware. iLounge rating (Twitterrific): B+. iLounge rating (Twitterrific Premium): C.

 

 

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Comments

1

So.. Maby a dum question, but what is best? A or C?

...
Kinda confused here cuz normally A is best but C is the better one here right? =\

Posted by TimKoem on March 9, 2010 at 5:26 PM (CST)

2

A is better.  Some of the pro versions are given C’s due to their higher price relative to quality, such as when the only advantage is being ad-free.

Posted by greg on March 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM (CST)

3

I am looking for a twitter client for iPhone.
I miss in all apps the funtion of near/within. I want to use near:anylocation not only nearby.
Thanks,

Posted by Miguel Angel on March 14, 2010 at 12:41 PM (CDT)

4

It’s funny. I read this piece because I was a little frustrated that my Twitter client of choice, Twittelator Pro, wasn’t quite working the way I wanted it to. Yet after reading the piece, I feel the need to rise to the defense of this app and protest the low rating it received. It is precisely because it does so much and requires a long scrolling settings page that it is so good and so useful. Sure, the settings can be long and confusing, but this offers more fine-grained control of your Twitter experience. And frankly, once you have it set the way you want it, you rarely have to go back.

I’ve tried other Twitter apps and they are always lacking one or two important features I’ve grown to rely on with Twittelator Pro. Plus, this app keeps improving at no extra charge.

In your opinion, it may not do all things well, but it does them. And until some other app does all these things better, I see no reason to switch.

Posted by Plan-K on April 21, 2010 at 8:53 AM (CDT)

5

I have purchased Tweetie2, Twittelator PRO. I tryed Twitdeck, twitterrific, hootsuite.
I think Twittelator PRO is the best twitter client. Twittelator PRO is updated to newer version, its easy to use and not user unfriendly as tweetie2… I mean tweetie2 is great, but I bought it and pay for it $3 and they announced free version for all iphone users in couple of days. And they have kind of adds even if i have paid for it. Twittelator PRO is far better!

Posted by Zac on April 30, 2010 at 5:43 PM (CDT)

6

My top twitter app of choice is an older version of Echofon.  I’ve gone back in time and use Twitterfon.  It’s brilliantly simple, has multiple account support where you can assign a different theme for each acount. Brilliant. Then for some reason we now have Echofon that may be more featured, but just isn’t in the same league.  There’s many others with me it seems in trying to work out why the developers of this app decided to screw it up so badly?

Twittelator Pro seems to get a raw deal here. It’s a great app.

Posted by Jon on June 30, 2010 at 6:28 AM (CDT)

7

All I want is an iphone app that can search on specific locations like TwitterSearch can eg cooking near:“sydney” within:50km will list tweets that mention the word “cooking” within 50km of Sydney

Posted by Ben on July 24, 2010 at 9:16 PM (CDT)

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