If you’re looking for a Twitter client for Android, you’re spoiled for choice. There’s a ton out there, and lots of them are very, very good. We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular, breaking them down by Appearance, Advanced Features and whether or not they are Power-User Friendly. Which one came out on top? Read on to find out!
Just a note: even though we looked at 9 apps, not all of them were included in the test. There’s a limit to how many you can thoroughly test for one article, so I cut the field down to size subjectively – I cut the ones I don’t like!
Two of the apps I didn’t test came as pre-installed clients on the test phone – Swift and Peep. Both of them are good, but not great, covering the basics, but not much else. I also looked at Twidroyd, but didn’t like the interface and found it a little buggy. HootSuite was also looked at, but again, I didn’t like the interface or the two-step process for managing messages. Last, but not least, we checked out Seesmic. I’m not a fan of this app, but gave it a fair test anyway. Again, the two-step message process annoyed me, as well as the fact that feels a lot like the official Twitter app – but less intuitive.
In the end, we were left with four apps: Plume, Twitter, TweetCaster and Twicca
Appearance is a hard one to pin down as it is so subjective. Even so, there are usability issues at stake that make one app just that little bit easier to use than another.
Plume: this app looks smooth, with nice customization options and small buttons that are actually very easy to use. You’ll be able to add a significant dose of color to this Twitter app, and there’s lots of other customization options. On the downside, the More option feels amateurish and it’s none too fast, but if you like to pimp your Twitter, this app is sure to appeal. 8/10
Twitter: the official Twitter app is clearly labeled and easy to use. It’s got a quite a sober, grown-up look, which is a real change from earlier versions, which looked downright childish. It hasn’t got many skins or visual changes available, but it is very easy to navigate. If you’re looking for a more straightforward, serious look, the official Twitter app will be perfect for you. 7/10
TweetCaster: TweetCaster is a hard one to pin down. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the interface, which is brightly colored and slightly cartoony. It also uses a wide variety of menu types, which makes it feels a little chaotic. Add that to the visible ads across the bottom of the screen and, as far as appearance goes, TweetCaster doesn’t do too well. At the same time, it’s simple to use and its options are easily accessible from the timeline. Even so, this ease of use doesn’t really compensate, so from me at least, TweetCaster loses a few points. 6/10
Twicca: Twicca is by far my favorite app in terms of appearance. There are only two themes – light or dark, but tweets can be color coded and the whole app has a lovely, minimalist approach. Menus and options are well integrated and the timeline is easily visible and nicely designed – top marks! 9/10
Plume: None of these apps really skimp on advanced features, but Plume is really something. Between notifications, available languages, picture hosting services and sharing, this app has more options than you’ll know how to handle. Pair that with easily managed geotagging and SSL access (to make tweeting extra safe) and this app really impresses. 9/10
Twitter: Again, the official Twitter app is not top of the class. Geolocation was hard to manage, and there’s not a lot to the notification options available. As far as image hosting and URL shorteners go, Twitter is pretty average. It’s not all bad though – the official app does have good trend following options and you can scan your phone contacts to find new people to follow on twitter. 7/10
TweetCaster: TweetCaster is another middle of the class student when it comes to basic features. Images, URL shortening and notifications are all more or less ok. It does have a few things that its competitors don’t, however, namely video support (for built-in uploading to TwitVid), universal update (timeline, mentions, lists, etc.) and a cool shake to update option. Probably the jewel in TweetCaster’s crown is the tweet filter, however, something that the competition don’t offer at all. 8/10
Twicca: Like everything else about the app, Twicca keeps things simple. All the apps options – and there’s lots of them – are really easy to access, clear laid out and easily visible. Among the strong points are notifications and sharing options and, of course, easily toggle-able geolocation. 7/10
Are you a Twitter power user? Well, if you manage more than one account, need to tweet on a very regular basis, or need to manage multiple lists, you probably are. And that means that you’ll need a twitter app that’s got just a little bit more. How do our apps line up?
Plume: this little app starts off well. For a start, you can add multiple accounts, and modifying your profile is no problem at all. Unfortunately, however, Plume seems to struggle at peak times, and despite fantastic overall configuration options, there’s not much you can do about your lists. 7/10
Twitter: Twitter’s own app fails miserably at the first hurdle – you can’t add multiple accounts! That’s a pity, because you can properly modify your profile from the app, as well as managing lists and followers. It’s not the best app if you need serious control over your tweeting however – it’s just not as powerful as other apps. 6/10
TweetCaster: TweetCaster seems to have it nailed – multiple accounts, profile editing, list and follower management all come naturally to this app. There are a host of other useful features too, such as quick follow, a Tweet filter, refresh all and some excellent follower tools. 9/10
Twicca: this is another app that does it well. Multiple accounts, in-app profile and list editing and a whole host of goodies hidden in the settings make Twicca really impressive. Unfortunately, managing followers isn’t quite as easy as with other apps – although it can be done – but in the general context of this app’s abilities, it’s something we can overlook. 9/10
As y0u can see from our test, none of these apps are exactly slackers. Even so, on this occasion, Twicca comes out on top, closely followed by Plume. TweetCaster‘s downfall is its appearance, while Twitter dropped on an overall lack of advanced features. That said, people use Twitter in very different ways, and one writer’s cons can be another user’s pros. If you’ve got the time, check them out yourself. If not, stick with Twicca (if you like lots of configurability) or Plume (for a nice balance between form and function) and you can’t go wrong!