I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now and via the iPhone for the last 14 months. I have tried most of the iphone Twitter apps available via the App Store. I have used:

They all have their individual approach and feature sets, some good and some not so good. Over the months I have settled on not one but three clients to satisfy my feature needs. These are Echofon Pro, Twittelator Pro and Twitter for iPhone (typically in that order of preference).

Why three Twitter clients? Simply because not one of them has all of the features that I want or use the most or that I simply really appreciate I have been spending most of my time in Echofon Pro of late. It does everything I need with a couple of exceptions. For me, it’s only shortcomings are it’s inability to show the full text of a tweet when composing a reply, it’s handling of unread tweet counts and the lack of translation. Twittelator Pro has all of the features I want yet is starting to feel a little dated in the user interface department as well as feeling generally slower than the other clients when loading the timeline. Twitter for iPhone has an appalling (in my opinion) way of presenting your contacts when composing a tweet and doesn’t give any indication of the number of unread tweets (only that there are unread tweets).

So, I shall focus here on these key (to me) areas…..

    • handling of unread tweets
    • translation
    • accessing of contacts when composing a new tweet
    • the user interface
    • general responsiveness of the apps

Of course, you may have guessed by now what exactly it is I’m leading up to. I recently overcame my own reluctance to buy yet another Twitter app and downloaded Osfoora for iPhone. I’ve looked at the app in the App Store many times, convincing myself it almost certainly doesn’t do anything different to the myriad of clients I already have. However,Osfoora is now my full time Twitter client on the iPhone. This is why……

Handling of unread tweets
Echofon Pro handles unread tweets reasonably well. However, when navigating away from the main timeline, the unread tweets count is lost. For example, tap to view “mentions” and the unread tweets count for the main timelime disappears. When returning to the main timeline you are placed back in the same place from which you left but the unread tweet count is removed. I also don’t like how the unread tweet count doesn’t change as I scroll up the timeline.

Twittelator Pro’s handling of unread tweets however is excellent. As I scroll up the timeline the unread tweet count reduces, thus giving an accurate count. Also, navigating away from the main timeline doesn’t remove the unread tweets count.

Twitter for iPhone shows unread tweets and doesn’t clear the indication until you actually read them all (or scroll to the top) but it doesn’t give any indication of how many unread tweets there are.

Osfoora acts in much the same way as Twittelator Pro. as you scroll up the timeline the count reduces accordingly, navigate away and the count remains, navigate back and you are back where you left off. It doesn’t stop there however. Scroll to the top in one hit (tap the very top status bar) and it doesn’t simply clear your unread tweet count but maintains the count for those tweets you zoomed past without reading. You then have the choice to either scroll down and read the tweets or simply double tap the “Home” icon and select “Mark All Read”.

Translation
The simple point here is that Echofon Pro doesn’t offer the ability to translate, the others do. Twittelator pro is via opening the tweet and tapping the flags, Twitter for iPhone is via the swipe menu, selecting the right most icon and then “Translate” (or you can tap to open the tweet and then tap the right most icon, followed by “Translate”). Osfoora works in the same way as Twitter for iPhone (open tweet, click right most icon and select “Translate”).

Accessing contacts from the compose screen
This time Twitter for iPhone is left lacking here. Echofon Pro, Twittelator Pro and Osfoora all offer up an alphabetical list of your contacts, with both a search facility and fast scroll access via the right hand column. Twitter for iPhone however only lets you search. There is no scrollable list and more often than not I have not been able to find the contact I have been looking for (no matter how I search they simply are not there).

The user interface
There are two elements to this that matter to me. Firstly I want a smooth scrolling action. I don’t like it when the timeline judders and pauses while I’m scrolling. It’s a small thing I know but it’s that attention to detail that I look for in all of these clients. Twitter for iPhone wins hands down here. It’s scrolling action is very smooth indeed. Osfoora and Echofon Pro come in a close second with Twittelator bringing up the rear. All of them scroll ok but Twitter for iPhone is silky smooth.

The second thing I look for is efficient use of the screen real estate along with a pleasing overall appearance. Osfoora, Echofon Pro and Twitter for iPhone all offer up a clean, uncluttered and efficient UI with little to choose between them. In order of preference I would give the win to Osfoora (as it has a very good range of font sizes to choose from as well as both dark and light themes), Echofon Pro second (no themes but there are a few font sizes to choose from), Twitter for iPhone third (no themes but again a few font sizes to choose from) and Twittelator Pro last (although it has a very customisable UI it looks and feel quite dated and not as fresh as the others).

General responsiveness
Osfoora and Echofon Pro win here. They are both very responsive in both general navigation and very quick to load the timelines. I can’t tell the difference between the two. Twitter for iPhone comes in second, again very responsive and quick to load up the timelines but not as quick and slick as Osfoora and Echofon Pro. Twittelator Pro comes in last as it does feel, in compasrison, quite sluggish to load up the timelines.

Conclusion
So, why is Osfoora now my full time Twitter client? Echofon Pro, Twittelator Pro and Twitter for iPhone are outstanding Twitter clients, each with their great features and each with their quirks (and occasional frustrations – in my opinion). Osfoora, for me, takes the best features from all of these clients and implements them extremely well. I am never left wanting, everything works brilliantly and it’s always a pleasure to use.

For some time now I have been craving a client that rolls everything up in a well designed and thought out app…. and here it is.

It’s only £1.79 from the App Store.

Anyone used Osfoora for iPhone? What do you think of it?

Take a look at the app via the Osfoora website

@craigt44

Main timeline

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Compose screen

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Main menu

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