Twitter For Android: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I love Twitter, that is no secret. However finding the perfect app to access Twitter on my Android phone has been more of a love-hate relationship. Over the past several months I have tried out several different clients. Each one has potential, but I am unwilling to pay for an app to access a free site. This post is a review of the pros and cons of each of the apps I have used. I hope someone finds it helpful.

TWIDROID (@twidroid)
I will begin with the first app I used. This app offers a basic and a pro version. The basic version is free. Overall, this is a pretty simple app for the casual Twitter user. It offers everything you need to tweet.

Best Feature: Picture upload. I use Twitpic for sharing pictures. I chose Twitpic in the setting menu and when uploading a picture I get a status bar. The only downside to this feature is you cannot compose the tweet while the picture is uploading. However, for someone who likes to see a computer working this is great.

Great Features: I may be wrong, but Twidroid may have been the first client to offer auto-complete when you hit the “@” key to reply to a tweet.  This keeps you from having to remember all of you followers user names exactly.  The auto-complete comes up as a pop-up box. Some love it, some hate it. I have no strong feelings, but tend to lean away from pop-up anything.

Twitdroid also has a built in website preview. It keep you from opening the browser every time you click on a link and makes browsing links much faster.

Biggest Drawback: For me the user interface of Twidroid is too cluttered. The buttons are on the bottom of the screen and are very close together. I also think the light blue design is a little dull.
I am certain the paid pro version is better, and I can’t fault developers for wanting to make money, but it just won’t be from me (unless you add ads and I click on one by accident).

SEESMIC (@seesmic, @askseesmic)
I switched to Seesmic because the UI was cleaner and the layout worked perfect for me. I have a definite love-hate relationship with this app. Seesmic makes a desktop program for connecting with social media, but I haven’t used it.

Best Feature: By far the best thing Seesmic has going for it is the design team. They interact with users and are very open to suggestions. Almost every update includes major improvements based on user suggestions. If you have a problem with the app, tweet the @seesmic team and you can almost bet someone will tweet you back with a solution or explanation.

Great Features: When uploading pictures you can type while the pic is being uploaded. You are also given a warning if you try to send before the picture is fully uploaded.

Biggest Drawback: There is no auto complete (as of this posting). However if you hit reply to a tweet you are able choose any or all of the user names to include in you reply.

Most Annoying: The only reason I went in search of another Twitter app was because of one major change. Seesmic decided to switch the positions of the “send” and “cancel” buttons. It was not listed on the upgrade announcement. I only noticed after wondering why my tweets never showed up on my timeline. To make such a major change to the UI without so much of a “Hey you might be canceling instead of sending” announcement is, in my opinion, dumb. Seesmic says it was a user suggestion. I suggest more people were upset to find a random switch. Seesmic has been nice about the criticism, but I couldn’t get used to the change and unless it is changed back or there is a major upgrade to include missing features (like auto-complete) I won’t be going back.

TWEETCASTER (by @handmark)
First impressions – loved the “fun” look of the timeline. The “cartoon-esque” bubbles for tweets mixed with the colorful layout makes me feel good about life. Yes, I am easily impressed.

Best Feature: View thread. One of my biggest complaints about Twitter in general is if you or you friends are having a conversation it can be hard to keep up. By clicking the “view thread” option you can see the whole conversation (assuming each person hit reply instead of composing a new tweet).

Great Features: Shake to refresh. I think this is more of a novelty, but it is fun to play with. Just shake your phone (if your phone has motion-sensing technology) and your timeline refreshes.

Auto-complete in the composer is my favorite of all apps. The auto-complete suggestions come up at the bottom of your compose window. This is nice so you don’t have to exit out of a pop up every time you hit the “@” symbol.

Biggest Drawback: One of my friends says the biggest problem is with “bit.ly” support. I don’t use that site much, so that will require more investigation. My biggest complaint is with the app is not being able to easily search for other users. It does have a cool search feature, but unless you know the exact user name  or unless someone uses a persons real name with their user name you might not be able to find them. Tweetcaster also has a pro version, so if you use he free app prepare for ads. You can close out of them, but they come back. Yes I know that isn’t much of a complaint, so (Spoiler Alert) it should be pretty easy to tell this is my favorite.

TWICCA (@twicca_en)
This app has a lot of potential and as of this posting it is still in BETA mode.

Best Feature: Image viewing. If you click on a picture link in Twicca it pulls it up as an overlay and does not take you to a separate window. You are also able to see the pic as a whole without having to zoom out or move around.

Great Features: A very clean design and cool UI. This app also allows you to follow threads and let’s you compose while uploading pictures.

Biggest Drawbacks: Unlike every other app, this one (as of this posting) does not auto capitalize the start of sentences. It also fails to add a period if you hit the space bar twice. I am anal-retentive enough to be bothered by this.

Twicca also doesn’t use Twitpic for picture uploads. It uses a site called “yfrog,” which I don’t like as much.

My suggestion?
I am currently using Tweetcaster but use the installed Twicca image viewer. That way, I get the best of both worlds.

What I would love is if someone would create an app that has the fun layout of Tweetcaster, the image viewing of Twicca, the support and power of Seesmic, and the web link preview of Twidroid.

I might be changing again soon if Seesmic makes some upgrades, including allowing me to go back to the send/cancel button setup that my fingers are used to pressing.

I appreciater any feedback, suggestions or additional comments. What are your favorite features?

P.S. This post was composed entirely on my Droid. A lot of typing on a small keyboard. I will fix spelling and grammar errors later.