Both the App Store and Google Play brim with Twitter clients vying for your 140-character affections. We cut through the noise to bring you the best apps for unleashing tweets on the go.
A smartphone is the perfect Twitter launchpad. Short and sweet by design, shooting off a tweet from a mobile gadget is a breeze – if you’re using the right app, that is. Twitter’s bite-sized updates are the ideal social content to digest in the short spans of time that life tosses our way when we’re not tethered to a computer, whether it’s on a bus ride or waiting in line for a latte.
To reflect the social network’s fast-paced micro-blogging nature, the ideal Twitter app needs to be quick and lightweight without sacrificing the kind of tools that power users crave. Pour too many features into the mix and “full featured” can turn into a nightmare. Happily, there are plenty of good Twitter apps out there, once you sort the wheat from the chaff.
Our Choice for iOS: Tweetbot
This iPhone exclusive has quite a loyal following, and for good reason. Tweetbot is a great little mobile tweeting toolkit that’s easy to use without shaving off bells and whistles like muting, which can prove invaluable for the everyday Twitter-goer. Tweetbot supports most anything you’d want to plug into it too. You can zap a choice tweet right to Pocket or Instapaper to read the link later, for example.
Tweetbot’s multiple timelines are a must for anyone leaning toward the power-user end of the scale, since they let you hop between accounts and lists effortlessly. Top that off with a gorgeous, responsive UI and a strangely addictive set of sound effects (seriously, I don’t know what it is about the refresh noise), and you’ve got the most well-rounded Twitter app in the iOS stable.
The app will set you back $2.99, but that’s a small price to pay for its uniquely successful blend of power and elegance. Cruising your tweets from an iPad? Tweetbot has a pretty slick iPad app to boot.
Our Choice on Android: Plume
The Android ecosystem lacks a standout as obvious as Tweetbot, but that’s not a bad thing. Google’s mobile OS is all about options, and it offers plenty of fine Twitter clients to choose from. That said, we prefer Plume by LevelUp, creator of Beautiful Widgets, a longtime Google Play all-star. Plume is the latest evolution of an app we used to know as Touiteur, which was solid in its own right.
Android’s Twitter clients aren’t always the best-looking apps on the platform (popular client Twicca is a bit of a pixelated eyesore, for example), but Plume manages to include plenty of customization without clutter. You can swipe easily between your timeline, mentions, and direct messages, and painlessly add a column for a custom list or search. Plume also includes mobile must-haves like URL shortening, multiple account support, picture previewing, and a nicely implemented mute tool – a requisite for quieting down folks in your timeline who tend to live-tweet when they get excited about a sports match or TV premiere.
The free version is ad-supported, so if the banner at the bottom bugs you, spring for Plume Premium ($4.99).
Alternatives for iOS and Android
Not too keen on our feature-rich picks? The good news is that the official Twitter app is a solid choice on both the iPhone and Android. While third-party apps are king when it comes to plenty of social services, Twitter’s official app is one of the best of the lot. It lacks some of the tools that true Twitter addicts require, but it’s reliable, good-looking and intuitive. Ultimately the best Twitter client (or any client, really) is the one that speaks to your needs specifically, but if you want a fallback, you’ll be well-served by the official app.
Still not quite the right fit? Beyond regular ol’ Twitter and our main picks, check out Twitterific and Echofon for iOS and UberSocial or Seesmic on Android. Finding the right app for zapping your 140-character flashes of brilliance is serious business, after all.