I’ve tried a number of Twitter clients for my iPhone now. Most of them have something that makes them stand out, and all of them have flaws. Here they are, a little mini-review:

Twitter for iPhone

dan taylor

Twitterific (and lite version)

This was my client of choice for a long time. The design is brilliant, and fluid. The paid version has no annoying ads (actually they weren’t that annoying) but I know most of my friends didn’t bother paying for something they could mostly get for free. It makes direct messages and replies very obvious when you’re scrolling through, and gives a nicely laid out bio of people when you go searching for their user info. The feature I got most used to was that it would refresh the stream, but leave the view where it left off, so I could continue reading. I didn’t realise it was a feature until I started trying other clients. The built in web browser is good. And a day or so after thinking “they should make the default twitter page it uses the mobile version”, they did it.

Things that could make it perfect: a way to follow/unfollow from the interface. Search?

Twinkle

This could be a good client. I know some friends of mine quite like it. It emphasises sharing media, and ties in with an online service when you post photos. I stopped using it after about ten minutes because the interface looked like they let someone at it with crayons. Plus side: it’s free.

Things that could make it perfect: make a similar client with a completely different user interface

Tweetsville

By the same people that made Twinkle, this app was the client I thought I was looking for after trying Twinkle. The interface is much improved (in fact, you can streamline it even more if you want) and can even be customised to put the things you find most important in easy reach. It does search, trends, retweets and all the regulars. It lets you follow from within the app, and check out a persons tweets without opening a browser (another feature I didn’t know I wanted till I tried it). The browser is a little simpler if I recall (I’m getting to that), but nothing I missed. It’s about \$5 which is a lot cheaper than Twitteriffic Premium. Really it could be perfect except for a few show stopping flaws.

Things that could make it perfect: keep the stream where I left it. I have to scroll back through to find my place and then read up. Not cool. The other thing? Stop crashing! I truly thought this was the one for me, but it just stopped working one day, and won’t open for me anymore. I’m not doing a full restore of my phone just for one app… Sorry Tweetsville. I’ll try again if you update.

Twitterlator (and lite version)

I’m not sure why only Twitteriffic has a light version that’s just as pleasant to look at as the “pro” version. With the other clients I’ve tried, the free version seems synonymous with “we didn’t try very hard with the interface”. Twitterlator is no different. So I skipped the lite version and tried the paid one. And it’s OK. It’s not drop dead gorgeous, but it’s not as butt ugly as the lite version. And it’s got the usual trimmings. It actually seems more feature-packed than some of it’s brethren, but it comes across as clutter to me. The interface is not very intuitive either. Double-tap on a tweet to get details of the persons mentioned in the tweet. Click on a tiny icon to access a URL that’s mentioned. I think it might be deliberate, but interracting with it just seems clunky and slow. I kept trying this when Tweetsville fell over, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Things that could make it perfect: improve the interaction stuff. make it fluid and smooth and easy to grasp (single clicks, swipes etc.).

Twitterfon

I can’t remember why I’m not using this. A few of the Twitterers I follow have mentioned it in the last couple of days. I went to try and use it tonight to remind myself what I found lacking, but it’s got the same annoying crashing problem as Tweetsville. An article linked below suggests it’s something that can be worked around till a fix is pushed out, and maybe the fix could work for Tweetsville too. I’ll take another look at this when the fix is made.

Things that could make it perfect: work

Tweetie

My network raved about this app. Stephen Fry said it was the “best yet”. Unfortunately I have to agree. I say unfortunate because it’s got a number of shortcomings, but is still probably my current client of choice. Mainly due to it’s remarkable “not-crashingness”. It is fast - I’ll give it that - and it is very intuitive and clean. I like clean. It does trends and searches (including #hashtags), and lets me follow and unfollow from in the app. I can check out anyone’s recent tweets, and manage multiple accounts (not strictly necessary for me, but a nice feature) and the browser is as good as any other.

Things that could make it perfect: Let me use a less “bubbly” look. I hate it in the SMS app, and I don’t need it in my tweets. I’m getting used to it, but that’s not the same as liking it. Let me start where I left off. This is doubly annoying, because to get back to where I was, I have to load it page by page like I do on Twitter. I might as well use the web site.

The apps I’ve listed here aren’t exhaustive (‘cause we need thirty eight Twitter clients for each platform)1 but they are the main ones that people use. If your favourite isn’t covered, I’m sorry - tell me about it in the comments. If one of them has a killer feature that I haven’t mentioned, let me know below. If you think I’m wrong, or think it’s unfair that I’ve reviewed apps that I can’t actually get working, tell me what you think of them.

Hopefully this info can help you get started finding a client you like. Check out the articles below for more info on some of the clients I’ve mentioned.


  1. and none for FriendFeed?