When the Twitter app for iOS is free, why would you pay $5 for a Twitter client? Well, if you are a Twitter addict and are constantly checking micro-blogging network, it makes sense to ensure you have the best possible Twitter experience–and that’s what Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7 offers.
Developer Tapbots has completely remade the app for Apple’s new operating system, and this actually lets it bring a few cool functions. The whole app has been given a makeover to make it fit better with iOS 7’s look and feel, and changes to the multi-tasking system now let Tweetbot 3 update your timeline in the background.
Fluid & Fast
As a social network, Twitter is about getting quick, short updates. It demands little of your attention span and encourages the user to move on to the next thing. Ideally, that’s what an app for Twitter should do too – get out of the way so you can quickly go through all those updates. Tweetbot 3 shines when it comes to this basic task like no Twitter client before it.
Once you have it set up with your Twitter account (and you can add multiple ones if you want, for managing different handles), the app is fast and fluid. The animations feel perfectly at home in iOS 7, whether it’s the quick-changing screen or the speed at which the compose window drops down when you tap the icon.
By default, it follows a simple colour scheme of black text on white background. Tap any tweet and it’s highlighted as white text on black, and a quick actions bar pops out from below to Reply, Retweet, Favourite, Copy link and so on.
Swipe left on any tweet and you’ll be taken to its individual pane, where you can see details like the number of faves and retweets, the replies, time, and which client it was sent with. Tap a photo and it opens it in a lightbox. It’s the little things that make this app a delight – you can drag the picture in any direction for the physical effect of it being dragged with your finger and out of the screen. Priceless!
The bottom drawer has three static icons: Timeline, Mentions and Direct Messages along with two customizable icons. In these two, you can set them to be Profile, Search, Lists, Retweets, Favourites or Mute Filters.
There’s one slight flaw though. The app turns the normal square profile picture into a circle, cropping off the parts that don’t fit. And this isn’t just restricted to the timeline, it also is the default view of how you will see that person’s profile. So when someone puts a banner in their display picture, you won’t be able to see what’s at the corners, in case there’s something important. Even the MakeUseOf logo has been butchered! I wish Tweetbot had at least given me an option to see the default full image in the person’s contact card.
Still, on the surface, Tweetbot 3 is a beautiful app for any Twitter user with its readability and design.
Robust & Feature-Packed
But it’s not just for the novice user, and Tweetbot 3 has a lot of features for the pro. However, these features are not exactly intuitive to access.
The aforementioned Mute Filter is the exception, which is simple and one of the best things that could happen to a Twitter client. With just a few taps, you can mute people, keywords, hashtags or clients, along with setting the duration for how long you want to mute them. When those annoying Twitter contests start, you will be very glad to have this feature.
Tweetbot 3 also lets you save composed tweets as Drafts. After you have finished writing you tweet, tap the Close icon, where Tweetbot will ask you whether you want to delete your draft or save it. Would have been nice to have a tutorial here!
Then there’s the Media Timeline. As a feature, I really love this, where Tweetbot basically shows me only the images and videos shared in my timeline, along with the associated tweet. It’s a unique way of browsing Twitter. But activating it is a pain. Scroll to the top of your timeline and you’ll find options to change the Timeline view from List to Media, which is located right under the Compose button. Every single time, Tweetbot first accidentally registered the Compose button. It kind of spoiled the whole Media Timeline experience for me, but hopefully it gets better with usage.
But perhaps the power user’s best friend is that Tweetbot 3 now automatically updates the timeline in the background so every time you open the app, you don’t have to manually refresh and wait.
And yes, Tweetbot plays nice with third-party apps like Pocket, Instapaper, Droplr and others, letting you choose the service that works best for you.
Is It Worth It?
All put together, there’s no doubt in my mind: Tweetbot 3 is the best Twitter client on any mobile device at the moment. Sure, there are a few elements that are unintuitive and take some time getting used to, but once you make that effort, the reward is worth it, since you get a robust, beautiful and fast Twitter app in return.
The bigger question is whether it’s worth $4.99, or even the $2.99 that it currently retails at as part of a promotional offer. If you are someone who uses Twitter frequently, then it’s an emphatic yes. You’d be a fool now to download this app on your phone. For casual users, there are a few free alternatives, but once you want a more powerful client on your iOS 7 device, Tweetbot is the way to go. It’s the best $5 you will spend on the App Store.
Download: Tweetbot ($4.99)
Will you be downloading Tweetbot 3 or sticking with your current app? Is there some other client that you think is better? We’d love to know in the comments below.