Updated Impressions of SimplyTweet 3.1 for iPhone

This is by no means a full review of the app, but a quick look at the big Simply Tweet 3.1 update from a fresh pair of eyes (for Patrick’s original review, see here). There are quite a few changes in this new version, but here are the highlights:

  • Offline Caching
  • Improved Stability
  • Faster startup and scroll speed (better on non-3GS)
  • Themes are back (missing in 3.0)
  • Better list access
  • TwitLonger support
  • new-style RT, tweet current song

Hit the jump for my impressions of 3.1 as a first-time user.

SimplyTweet is not what its name might suggest. The app is jam-packed with features, and actually features the highest concentration of in-app controls and information I ‘ve encountered thus far. That isn ‘t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t lend itself to being “simple” either.

The interface employs a standard tabbed interface similar to Tweetie (now Twitter) and Echofon ‘s, but SimplyTweet takes a page out of iPod.app and lets you customize four out of the available five tabs (the last one, More, is how you edit everything, so you can’t change it).

The app itself has five themes (my favourite is Silver), but really only two major layouts: bubbles or organized rows of tweets. These themes are also only accessible in the Settings.app, meaning non-iPhone 4.0 and non-jailbroken users will find it a bit of a pain to switch back and forth between Settings and SimplyTweet to find a theme they like.

The now-standard pull to refresh and swipe menu are present, but they don’t feel as *right* as they do in other apps. The pull-to-refresh system is completely invisible (you just know it refreshes, but there’s no text) and the swipe menu can only execute Twitter-based actions like reply, retweet, and view conversation. You ‘ve still got to dig into a tweet to save it to a service like Instapaper or Read It Later.

SimplyTweet also features its own Push Notification system, so you can receive news of new tweets without having to rely on other services like Boxcar. I found this system quite a bit slower than Boxcar on average (Patrick reported the opposite), but considering that PUSH is part of the whole $4.99 package, I can’t really get too riled up about this. You could, after all, still use Boxcar for SimplyTweet if you find it works faster for you.

The only major issue I have with SimplyTweet are its aesthetics. I ‘ve gotten so used to ‘pretty ‘ apps like MoneyBook, Icebird, and Reeder that SimplyTweet ” despite its five themes ” just looks a little bland to me. Many of the buttons (rt, show conversation, read later) look cartoony compared to the rest of the app, and the information displayed outside of the timeline usually looks a little too cramped. That ‘s because SimplyTweet separates different kinds of text with simple alignment, rather than using something more concrete, like a bubble or a straight line. The layout isn ‘t confusing, it just looks crowded to me, and takes a bit away from my enjoyment of browsing Twitter.

My criticisms about the looks are purely subjective, though. Many others seem quite happy with SimplyTweet ‘s appearance, and it is, for the most part, a ridiculously feature-rich app. If the developers added a different, cleaner theme to SimplyTweet, as well as Read Later support to the swipe menu, then I would seriously consider making this one of my main Twitter clients.

The last thing that may give possible buyers some pause is SimplyTweet’s price: at $4.99 it isn’t exactly in impulse buy territory, and with the free, official Twitter app just on the horizon, users may have a difficult time justifying the purchase. However, it should also be noted that Patrick has called SimplyTweet one of the most frequently updated Twitter apps that he owns, which is a big plus, considering many apps are updated once in a blue moon.

SimplyTweet is available for $4.99 on the App Store.