Hands-On with Tweetbot 2.0: Best iPad Twitter Client

Tapbots, makers of the new Tweetbot for iPad, have gained a solid reputation as developers of some of the most highly-polished apps available on the iTunes Store. It’s truly well-deserved. After all, the company has the right to boast of such creations as Calcbot, Pastebot and Tweetbot for iPhone, which has become the de facto alternative to the official Twitter app for iOS.

So when we heard that the company decided to release a Tweetbot for the iPad to further beef up their arsenal, we had to try it for ourselves. After spending some hands-on time with the product, we’ve come to a conclusion: Tweetbot is the best Twitter client for the iPad. Read on to find out why.

Layout

While Tweetbot 2.0 for iPad reorients to either portrait or landscape mode depending on how you’re holding your slate, we recommend that you use the app horizontally. This way, you’ll see how the developers have really made use of the screen real estate, placing a handy navigation bar on the left-hand portion and your tweets front and center on the iPad’s display. Navigation is divided into the different sections you expect to find on any Twitter account: Timeline, Mentions, Messages, Favorites, etc. When you turn your iPad vertically, these labels morph into tiny icons.

Mute Filters

Looking further down the navigation bar, you’ll discover one neat new feature of the app: Mute Filters. Tap into this section, and you’ll see the complete list of People, Hashtags and Clients that you’ve cut out of your Twitter feed to reduce the noise. Tap on the Edit button on the upper right corner to add or remove Clients—for instance, if you want your feed clean of all Instagram or Path updates. In order to mute People and Hashtags, you’ll have to access options from within your regular timeline. And you can choose to do so for a day, a week, a month or even forever.

Helpful Gestures

Speaking of that regular timeline—Tapbots deserves high praise for a thoughtful user experience here. The first time you fire up the app, you’ll get a brief tutorial on gestures, but to be frank, you’ll be able to get by even if you don’t pay attention—it’s that intuitive. Tap and hold on any Twitter user’s avatar, and a pop-up appears with options to send the user a message, manage his list memberships, mute him or unfollow him.

When you tap and hold on the tweet itself, a similar pop-up appears, with options to send the tweet to the “read later” service of your choice (Instapaper, Readability, Read it Later, etc. – configurable through Settings), copy the direct link to the tweet, copy the tweet, email it or translate it.

Seeing an “@” character ahead of any tweet can be taken as a sign that you can apply the tap-and-drag-to-the-right gesture. Afterwards, you’re shown the original message the Twitterer is replying to. A tap and drag to the left lets you see if anyone has replied to a particular tweet, and what those replies are.

Tweetbot has a friendly way of dealing with layers, too. If you get lost in the tiers of @ replies and user profiles, you can apply the two-finger swipe from right to left to move back up a level. If you use three fingers to swipe from right to left, you go straight to the top level, or where you originally started from. Finally, a three-tap gesture is configurable from Settings: you can assign it to let you reply to a tweet, retweet, favorite or translate it, or view the tweet in Favstar.

Hashtag and Link Options

Another nice touch on Tweetbot for iPad is the ability to tap any link or hashtag directly on your main timeline. (Previous iterations required you to drill into the individual tweet first, before the links became tappable.)

On hashtags, a tap-and-hold gesture brings up a popover to let you either create a new tweet with that hashtag or mute all incoming tweets with that hashtag. On links, this gives you a popover for beaming the text over to a Read Later service, tweeting the URL, opening it in Safari and copying or emailing the URL.

Viewing Web Pages

One of our favorite features is Tweetbot’s ability to view any webpage link either in its full-fledged HTML glory, or a stripped down, text-only version. When you click on an embedded link, you’ll see a slider on the menu across the top that lets you toggle between the two views.

Catching Up on Tweets You Missed

One aspect inherent to Twitter as a service is having a steady stream of updates trickling in. This is a great way to stay on top of the interminable news cycle, but distance yourself for one second and you could end up missing something. Thankfully, Tapbots knows this too—which is why they’ve integrated a convenient expand (+) button to let you go back and read that chunk of tweets you missed while you were away.

Composing Tweets

And how about the basic act of composing a tweet? Tweetbot doesn’t neglect any of the features you’ll find in the best Twitter clients. The app will autocomplete usernames of Twitterers you follow and hashtags that you use; you can easily add a location and photos too. A smart feature we appreciated was the addition of a “Use Last Photo Taken” button – Tweetbot boasts the ability to detect and pull up the last photo you took on your device.

Verdict

Tweetbot for iPad is thoughtful, intuitive, and contains more options to master your Twitter account than we ourselves as users can imagine. Our only quibble is that the developers require you to make separate purchases for the iPhone and iPad—so if you already own the iPhone version, you’ll still have to pony up another $2.99 to get it on your iPad. Still, we would argue that it’s worth buying twice. If you’re interested in grabbing this gem of an app, you can head over to its iTunes Store page here.

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