When it comes to Twitter clients, Android users are really spoilt for choice; there is a wealth on the Market that are worth looking at. You can, of course, go with the default Twitter for Android application, however this is a little lacking in features and you may want try out one of the many third-party offerings available, such as Seesmic, TweetDeck or Tweetcaster. But the burning question is, which one is the best?
I look for three things in a good Twitter client:
Features: I want something more than simply being able to tweet and re-tweet.
Usability: I don’t want to spend an hour learning how the program actually works before I start using it.
User interface: I like bling and eye-candy, so naturally I want a Twitter client that does its job with a little flair!
As an avid Tweeter, I’ve tried out pretty much all the Twitter clients available for Android and I can safely say that I’ve finally found one which fulfills all three of my requirements! Plume is a feature-rich and well designed Twitter client available for Android devices running Android 1.5 and above. The app is free, though you’ll have to put up with ads intruding your timeline — if you want to remove these, then Plume Premium is available for €1.99 from the Market (around $3).
Looking at Plume, you get the feeling that the developers have really kept these three things in mind whilst they were designing the application. Let’s take a closer look at Plume to find out whether it is “the” Twitter client to have out there.
Plume, from developers Level Up Studio (the same guys who developed Beautiful Widgets) is a feature-packed, highly customisable Twitter client available for Android devices running Android 1.5 and above. The application has also been optimised for Honeycomb tablets (more on this in a bit). The developers say that Plume will “change the way you feel about Twitter” and whilst I was testing this program, I certainly did get whiffs of this.
The previous Twitter clients for Android have been a bit bland and boring – especially if you’ve migrated from iOS. They did their job well but tended to be quite simple and not exactly eye-catching. But Plume is different. It’s oozing with features (listing them here would take a while) and the best part about it (which I guess is why we love Android devices) is you can play around and tweak almost every aspect of the program to give you an ideal tweeting experience.
Let’s look at some of these wonderful features.
Plume has everything you’ll need in a Twitter client. You can tweet (without this, the application would not be quite so notable…), retweet, upload pictures, shorten links and so on. Your mentions and direct messages are easily accessible via icons at the bottom or, on devices running Android 2.0 and above, you can swipe through columns (though you can turn this off if you want).
The default Twitter timeline in Plume along with swiping between the different columns
To tweet, you pull down on the top of the screen (a bit like you would do to view your notifications) to reveal the New Tweet box, which I find aesthetically pleasing and a refreshing change to most Twitter clients, where you simply tap on an icon.
In the tweet box, there are icons allowing you to shorten links automatically and insert mentions and hash tags (via dedicated @ and # keys respectively). This feature does save you a lot of time hunting round your keyboard to try and find the relevant keys. Plume saves all the hash tags you use and can also analyse your timeline (if a topic is currently trending) or your individual tweets for the most commonly used hash tags, allowing you to pick them out easily.
The new tweet window along with the hash tag feature, which saves your most commonly used hash tags or current trends
If you’re a keen Bit.ly user, then you can enter your details into Plume as well, allowing you to track your posted links. Links in tweets can either be viewed via the default Android browser or via the in-built browser in Plume, however this can be a little temperamental at times and doesn’t offer the best browsing experience.
Any links in tweets can be easily selected in Plume and viewed using the in-built browser
Plume is probably the most customisable Twitter client out there on the Market. You can tweak and adapt the app exactly to how you want it, such as the colour of your tweets, whether you want to hide user avatars to allow for a faster loading time, or whether you want to use the pull to refresh system.
You can also choose different themes to suit your mood. Personally I’m fond of the dark theme, but if this depresses you then you can change to a nice bright one!
You can change the default theme in Plume depending on your mood
On a Tablet
Plume makes excellent use of the larger screen on Honeycomb devices and presents you with a column view for your tweets, mentions and direct mentions (though this can be customised), a bit like TweetDeck.
Plume for Honeycomb tablets takes a leaf from TweetDeck's book and displays all your tweets, mentions and direct messages in a column style
Plume on Honeycomb devices has all the features of the phone version. Another useful hint is that the Honeycomb-optimized version and the normal phone version are one and the same, so you can use the same client on both devices (without having to pay for it twice).
Plume is, for now anyway, my favourite Twitter client for Android devices. I’ve tested it against the other paid Twitter client on the Market, TweetCaster, and I find myself liking Plume a lot more. TweetCaster seems, to me at least, very cluttered and cramped on a small screen (though the tablet version is a lot less cramped) and it’s also almost double the price (€3.49 – around $5).
Plume will keep even the most avid of Twitter users satisfied with its wide range of features and ease of use. Its fluid, well-designed interface makes it a definite contender to all the Twitter clients out there on the Market and for the small price you have to pay for this app, everything marries up perfectly into one neat, relatively cheap, feathered package.