Tweetie 2 - iPhone

Okay, admit it, you've got an iPhone and you tweet. There, now that we've got that out in the open, lets move on. If you are already tweeting chances are you are using a dedicated twitter app, probably the original Tweetie or maybe Tweetdeck or the other one that's now called Echofon.

While there are free twitter apps available, if you want to manage your tweets like the pro you are you've got to stump up the cash for it. Tweetie 2 is $2.99 or £1.79 depending on where you are in the world. But is it really worth the same as a couple of pints of milk? We get tweeting to find out.

The biggest rub, and we will get this out of the way quickly, is that even if you've bought Tweetie, you are going to have to pay once more. There is no VIP access, no cheap upgrade route. You are dead to them unless you pay cold hard cash. Of course Tweetie (the original) still works and will continue to work, you just won't get the new features.

Legacy issues aside, and at £1.79 you really shouldn't get too hung up on this, firing up the app brings you the ability to manage multiple twitter personalities, check you Twitter streams and a whole lot more.

Account setup is as easy as remembering your username and password and once you've set-up your account(s) you are done. Likewise switching between them is simple.

Within the application there are overriding settings that can be controlled, such as the date format, and font size, but also more relevant things like which image, video, URL and read later services to use. All the main ones are here including a couple that you probably aren't so aware of, giving you a wide scope in getting the service you are most happy with. Better still if you can't find the one you want you can create a custom setting for it anyway.

Taking things even further there is collection of advanced settings as well, going to the extremes of letting you decide how you want it to handle retweets (-@user or via@user). It's intense, but still simple.

But you haven't downloaded this just for the settings options, you want to tweet, and tweet it will let you.

Like Tweetie the layout is very similar. Out are the "speech bubbles", in is a simple timeline that is easy to read. Speed has been drastically improved while your previous tweets will also be cached for offline reading - a big annoyance of the original Tweetie. Your feeds come in and your place remains where it was for you to scroll up through your timeline.

New tweets, replies, direct messages are highlighted at the bottom of the screen on the nav bar, however you don't get numbers like Echofon.

Dragging the timeline down towards you scrolls up and rather than a refresh button, all you have to do is drag it down to see if there is more chatter. It's a nice design feature.

Find a tweet that interests you and a quick scroll to the right brings up a series of "hidden" options: reply, link details, user details, mark as favourite or do something with it like retweet, quote, post link to, mail or even translate with Google.

Press compose and you get a standard looking tweet input page. New here is a character counter, which pressing gives you the chance to add images, take a picture, geotag, search those you follow, see popular hashtags and auto shrink URLs. It is by far the most comprehensive offering we've seen on an iPhone Twitter client. There is also a draft mode for when you're on the Tube or subway without connection.

But Twitter isn't just about you. It's about the timeline. Here you get to search your timeline (very handy) as well as Twitter names of those you follow.

You can of course also search Twitter as a whole, and then save those searches for access later. Trends are here too, updating live, and more intriguingly the ability to search nearby your location so you can see your neighbours tweeting around you. I am not sure I really want to see what someone down the street is saying, but I can see it would be helpful tracking mates in a nearby bar playing Foursquare.

Verdict

Get past the gripe that previous users will have to pay again and we are really impressed here. Tweetie used to be our default iPhone app of choice, however having to remember to load up the tweets before hitting the Subway was a real bind. Here that issue is gone, and in place a shiny new fast Twitter app appears.

There are some really cool clever features to be found and Tweetie 2's makers Atebits has managed to somehow pack this app with so many features but not made it complicated in the process. The result is an app that once again wins a place in our hearts.

If you are an iPhone twitterholic, this is money well spent.