Apr 23rd, 2010

Another day, another twitter client. Twicca is an app that taught me you can be just as great – if not better – than your competitors while you’re still in beta. I’ve been using the client on and off as my main Twitter app for the past few months, and I’m nothing short of impressed.

The first thing many people notice about Twicca is its minimalistic interface: you get all of the information you need to see without the added and unnecessary clutter. There are no themes or elaborate color settings to be had, but the carbon black finish of Twicca really gives off a classy look and feel. Without trying to make this review sound like I’m describing a car (at least, not more than I already have) it just has an elegant appearance to it that not many other apps do.

Twicca is packed with features. You won’t get multiple accounts (this is still beta, though, and is frequently updated) but it has nearly every other function that you can think of. Creating, viewing, and managing lists is easy yet still a breeze to do, trending topics can be viewed by different spans of time, and you get full retweet support showing not only who’s retweeting stuff in your timeline, but who you’ve retweeted and what tweets of yours have been retweeted, as well.

twicca timeline

For an app to be in beta stage, Twicca goes above and beyond my expectations as far as how polished it is, but there are still some setbacks. One VERY minor annoyance I’ve had was the fact that not everything is in perfect English. I cannot really justify taking points away, though, seeing as how English isn’t the developer’s first language (and really, it probably isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be). The minimal style really does show in how speedy Twicca performs.

Even while loading up uncached profile images, scrolling through and loading up tweets is not a painful process at all. I do wish tweets would load up a bit quicker, though. The downloading times makes it hard for me to load anything more than 20 tweets at a time – even on WiFi. This might vary for others based on phone and network conditions, but it’s been a consistent problem for me across multiple platforms and connections.

One obscure feature that I love was the ability to see if a user is following you by going to their profile. Two arrows facing right and left shows you if you are following that person, and if they are following you, respectively. It’s a very small point, but there aren’t many ways to see this information in other apps unless you scroll through a seemingly endless list of followers (and perhaps you guys can call me out on how lame I am for caring so much about who’s following me in the first place).

twicca compose

Something else that I like is the ability to color code tweets from several different people. Starting out, I didn’t think this feature would prove valuable for me, but it’s such a lifesaver when you have hundreds of tweets to go through and you need to be able to discern valuable tweets from those you know to be bad lemons (seriously, some of you just aren’t “getting” Twitter).

There are even some smaller details that makes me appreciate Twicca that much more, like the ability to expand a shortened URL (so you can see what site the link is pointing to without having to open it – great for those of you following people that are known to post “undesirable” material). I am disappointed that there is no option to view pages within the app itself, but at least they’ve extended this functionality to images (and you can even rotate the images – not sure how useful that is to some of you, but I’ve never seen this implemented before). Twicca does come with a widget, but it’s not much to gawk at: you get 5 icons that take you to your most used views in the app. It does show you if there is new content available to check out in any given “core” timeline, though.

The Pros:

  • Quick, minimalistic interface
  • Tons of settings and preferences to customize
  • Color coded tweets helps you separate the “haves” from the “have-nots”
  • Deep penetration into multiple pieces of information, such as native retweets and followers
  • Plugin support provides great extensibility support
  • There’s really only one “con” to be had

The Cons:

  • Slow to load tweets on any setting other than “20”

The Bottom Line:

If you were to snatch my phone away from me, install Twicca, and then proceed to convince me that it was still in beta, I simply wouldn’t believe you. It definitely looks and feels like an app that’s been in development for quite some time, and it’s only going to get better. The impressive and unique set of features all converge into a great download for someone looking to breeze through their timelines with ease. You can put it this way: pay for a Twitter client that doesn’t go as deep as Twicca does, or just download Twicca for free. Yea, it wasn’t hard for me to make that decision, either.

Be sure to check back frequently as we’ll be bringing you more reviews of some of the premier twitter apps that the Android market has to offer. If there’s a review for an app you want to see in particular, let it be known in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already.

Other posts in the Twitwars series: Twidgit Lite, Twidroid