The official Twitter app has launched. The question is how it compares to other (and in some cases very good) Twitter apps on the market, whether it can beat the other apps or if it’s at the very least in the same league as other Twitter clients—and that’s what you’ll find out in today’s test review.
NB: Apologies for the screenshots, which were taken from the German version of the Twitter app.
Features & Use
The official Twitter app provides all the most important functions you would expect from a Twitter client. You can read, answer, and retweet Tweets, send DMs, you have access to lists, you can insert images and URLs, as well as display Tweets from your Timeline on Google Maps, which is a feature I’m quite partial to.
Furthermore, you can synchronize your Twitter contacts with you telephone contacts, similar to what the official Facebook app provides.
Twitter also offers two Widgets with which you can access Tweets via your Homescreen. Again, this is similar to what the official Facebook app offers.
However, the official Twitter app provides access to only one account, so if you’re looking to use several accounts it may not be the right thing for you.
There are other Twitter clients that offer more features than the one I’m reviewing today; however, this sometimes makes them a bit confusing. Twitter is definitely not confusing, but still provides you with quite a few useful options.
Screen & Controls
After you start the official Twitter app for the first time, you can decide if you want to synchronize your Twitter contacts with your phone book. You can choose between:
Synchronize with existing contacts
Do not synchronize
How well the app will function depends on your Android version. A Milestone with Android 2.1 will allow you to access a contact’s Twitter account if you choose to synchronize, but only if the contact is identified and linked-to correctly. There doesn’t (yet) appear to be a manual option for linking to contacts.
“Sense” allows you to set up synchronization, but you won’t be able to access Twitter via your contact infos. You can, however, access a Twitter account – provided that it has been linked to correctly – using the Quick Contact feature, i.e. by clicking on the friend icon and selecting it in the menu.
You’ll find all the most important information on Twitter’s homescreen:
You’ll find an animated bird in the lower margin, which, when you click on it, provides you with the “Today’s Top Trends” option.
You’ll find two small buttons for retweeting and searching within Tweets or for people in the upper margin.
"Tweets" leads you to your Timeline, and you can read status updates, click on links, retweet via a menu (similar to “answer” in the Quick Contact feature in Android 2.1), favorite, and forward. You’ll find the “Refresh”, “Tweet”, and “Search” buttons in the upper right margin. Tweets with Geotags can be displayed in Google Maps via the menu button/”Show on map”. By clicking the icon at the top left, you can switch around between “Tweets”, “Mentions”, and “Favorites”.
By clicking on “Lists” all the lists you’ve subscribed to will be shown, and you can choose between “My lists”, “Reading”, and “Listed”. You can also create and add new lists by clicking the small button in the upper right corner.
“Mentions” shows you all Tweets which have been addressed to. You can choose to answer these, add them to your favorites, or retweet.
Retweets are divided into three tabs in the upper margin: “By you”, “By others”, “Resent Tweet” (Retweets that you’ve commented on). It isn’t possible to retweet with comments using the official Twitter app.
“Direct Messages” are divided into “Received” and “Sent”. A quick menu also allows you to answer, forward, and delete your DMs. “My profile” shows you Tweets sent by you, and via the menu button you have the option of changing your profile picture.
You can display “Today’s Top Trends” by clicking on the bird in the lower margin; three tabs allow you to choose between “Current”, “Daily”, and “Weekly”.
You can write a Tweet by clicking on the corresponding button in the upper right corner of the homescreen, or within your Timeline. A little window will open up in which you can write your text. Your location will automatically be retrieved; if you like, you can also switch this function off in the upper margin. You can also upload images via a button in the upper margin, or take a picture that you’d like to upload and send it to your contacts (@xxx) by selecting them from your Twitter friends list. The menu button also allows you to “Attach URL” and “DM”, as well as go back to the homepage.
You can access “Settings” via the menu button on the homepage. You’ll find the following option listed there:
Synchronize Twitter data (on/off)
Various settings related to messaging
Animate background (on/off)
Upload images service (TwitPic or yfrog)
Abbreviate URLs (bit.ly or TinyURL)
Even this is only the first round, the official Twitter app is already a pleasure to use and provides a few great features. I’m still missing a few things (Retweet with a comment or link to a contact manually, for instance), but the app is nevertheless so good that it may very well replace a few of my other Twitter clients.
Speed & Stability
Twitter runs very smoothly, no problems or crashes to report.
Twitter can be downloaded for free from the Android Market.