If you’re like me, and frankly Im sure you’re not, you get all giddy with excitement every time a major update/new app drops. For me, I think its the opportunity to pour through a new app. Its fun, and every once in a while you find a real gem. Now, If you follow my reviews, you will note that most of the time they are pretty much short and sweet, this is frankly because (a) most of you don’t have extremely long attention spans, and (b) there is generally really not too much to say. This time, this is not the case however. I have a good bit to say about this app. Enough that Im going to employ the “good, bad, ugly” format for the first time in a very long while. That said, lets dig into this new offering and see whats good…
The icon factory has turned out what most are calling a beautiful upgrade to their popular and “award winning” twitter app. If you are reading this review, very likely you have read a few others, so I will be brief on this topic. Frankly its pretty. Everything about it looks as if it was done with the great care and artistry that we have come to expect from the icon factory. In my mind, it looks to be a modern take on an old IRC chatroom, but with avatars. Kind of throwback sheik if you will. Have a look at the screen caps below and you will see what I mean.
Holy crap its fast. Granted Im testing on an iPhone 5, but even still, its remarkably well done. The app itself loads almost instantly, as if from memory, even from a cold launch. The various panes pop in and out as if attached to a speeding locomotive. Heck, posting is so quick I was questioning whether or not it even worked at all (it did)!
The app allows for users to chose from 5 different font styles (no, not comic sans, sorry CERN). Each of which is formatted and spaced very nicely for easy reading. You can also toggle between tiny user icons and larger ones. Personally I don’t really see the point in that one, as there isn’t that much of a difference, but whatever. It also provides a nifty font toggle that, aside from some drawbacks which I’ll touch on later, will take those pretty words from tiny, to big enough for even the worst eyes to see.
They finally did it! When you load the app for the first time you will be greeted with the friendly blue popup “would like access to twitter accounts”. A simple yes tap and you are on your way. Gotta love simplicity. Pocket integration, where it simply authenticates with the already installed app and doesn’t require a password, is also included. Very cool.
THEY FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO FILL IN TWEET GAPS!!! Took them till 5.0 but we are no longer losing tweets just because we were away for two long. Hazaa!
Seems pretty good so far right? Well don’t go clicking that buy button just yet! Lets dig a little further in and see whats bad…
For all the good things they did, for whatever reason, they decided to force all photos/videos tweeted form within the app to be done using twitters service exclusively. There are ALOT of good services out there, and I understand not including all of them, because hey, lets be practical… but at very least we could have gotten Droplr, CloudApp, or Mobi. I sincerely hope that this was just an oversight, and that it will be included in future versions.
The Font Thing:
I had to include this in this section. I know its likely a bug, but its an annoying bug that should have been easily caught during testing. Everything within the app is scaled with the size of the font is changed so that it doesn’t look all wonky. While this is cool, and frankly a good design choice, they neglected to notice that the action buttons get smaller with the font. To the point that they are hard to tap. It could also be that I have really big, thick fingers, but really, why should I be relegated to giant text just so I can comfortably reply to someone?
Ok these problems seem kinda petty, not so bad at all… well before you go… lets look at the ugly…
For such a pretty app, it saddens me that this section was necessary. No one is perfect, there are some things that are just omitted, and then… then there are some things that are just unforgivable. Why so bad? Its just an app right? Wrong. Its a paid app “premium” twitter app tied to a big name brand. When people buy a premium app, they expect certain things. Add to that a big name like the icon factory and its almost an instant buy for most people. What have they done that was so bad it had to have its own section? Read on
At this point push notifications are a staple of the twitter world. Everyone has it, including twitters “stock” solution… which is free. Handy alerts when you get mentioned, a RT “ding” to boost your spirit on a bad day, or a buzz in your pocket to let you know you have been followed by @justinbieber. You would think an app that will eventually retail for $5.99, its on sale for 2.99) would include this nifty and useful feature. You expect it to. Its even got some really cool UI sounds built right in! It doesn’t. Not at all. Not just a fail. Epic fail.
You know that cool new API that practically all the major apps are using now? The one that just downloads new tweets as they come in? Pretty sweet right? Well guess what? This app doesn’t have it. Instead users are forced to manually refresh. To soften this blow, they even included a cute refreshing animation of a bird hatching from an egg. While cute the first few times, now I swear I can see it giving me the finger as it flys away.
Whats sad is that this app had some great potential. When I installed it and launched it the first time, I did so with excitement. Quickly though, that excitement turned to disappointment, and then to disdain. At the end of the day, it would be kind to say that this new and exciting “rebuilt from the ground up” twitter app is in fact nothing more then a re-skin of the stock twitter. It would be nice to say that. This is however not the case. For everything you can say good about it, the fact is that when your premium paid app is bested in core features by the FREE Twitter app there is a serious problem.
I wasn’t going to link this app because frankly Im disgusted by this company and feel that people purchasing the app sends the wrong message. That said you are grown people and it’s your money. Do what you want. Its available here for $2.99 for a limited time (50% off sale). That said, if you want a slightly less pretty app with more useful features, check out the stock app (for free) here.