Nathan Snelgrove, My Twitter Client: Carbon

I’m really absurdly picky about my Twitter experience, and Twitter’s app has never quite done it for me. I want access to a couple of different Twitter accounts, and I want the myriad of features that most AppStorm authors have probably begged for.

But what I really want is a beautiful Holo-themed design that’s both simple enough to immediately grasp and interesting enough to pleasantly surprise me with its intricacies. On iOS, I like apps like Tweetbot or Twitterrific. On Android, I originally liked Falcon Pro. The community treated it like the second coming and everybody got it, so now it’s degenerated to a terrible user experience and a fight to make it work. I searched for another client for a while, and finally found Carbon.


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Why I Love It

Carbon is one of those apps that I know many Android users aren’t going to enjoy as much as me. I need to get that out of the way immediately, before I even begin, because some of what I’m about to say is going to shock many of you.

The app doesn’t allow much customization, and honestly, I’m thrilled by that. This is an app that just is how you get it. It’s very controlled, and it’s very well-designed to begin with. It’s dark, but it’s high-contrast enough that all text is legible. I never wanted a lighter theme. This is the sort of app where design comes first, and everything is very accessible.

I love the interface.

I love the interface.

I use lists as my primary way to keep up with Twitter now, since my main timeline is getting really busy. And simple access to lists is a godsend in Carbon. When it comes to design, this is an app that’s intuitive. I want to use it. That’s a good start.

The app supports multiple accounts, which is great, and it has built-in notification support (but no support for Dashclock). It has one very simple widget that seems to work fine for its purposes, but really doesn’t do anything all that special beside quickly searching, tweeting, or posting an image.

Most importantly, communicating is easy and looks gorgeous. I especially love the Conversation view.

Most importantly, communicating is easy and looks gorgeous. I especially love the Conversation view.

What I like the most, though, is how fast Carbon is. I’m in and out of that app within seconds if I want to be — partially because of the interface, but largely because it’s just an incredibly fast and responsive app.

What Doesn’t Work

Carbon isn’t perfect, though. I love the interface to pieces, and I love how accessible everything is, but sometimes it… Well, it doesn’t work. The built-in web browser renders even simple web pages very strangely. My own website is rendered in a very weird way. Clearly Carbon doesn’t recognize Elena or Georgia typefaces, which is a shame.

This is not how my website is supposed to render. Thankfully, I can choose to open it in Chrome.

This is not how my website is supposed to render. Thankfully, I can choose to open it in Chrome.

It also butchers HTML in general. Thankfully, there’s an option to open links in Chrome instead of Carbon, but it’s sad that I have to navigate between apps like that. It’s odd to me that an app with such a focus on doing a few things right messes up so badly on a mandatory feature.

What It Still Needs

The app also needs TweetMarker and TwitMore, badly. It doesn’t support either, which is a huge turnoff for me. I want some way of syncing my Twitter feeds. If TweetMarker was baked in and automatically turned on when you booted up the app, Carbon could just add it as an invisible layer to the user and keep their app simple. As it is, it doesn’t support either of them.

Free + Intuitive = Happy Nathan

Honestly, that’s the combination that we’ve struck into here. The app is, for the most part, painless to use. And with the exception of TweetMarker, there isn’t much that I’m dying for. I can live with it really easily and it does exactly what I need without stretching for more.

That being said, if something better for me comes along, I’ll be first in line. Is Carbon for you? If you can swap my name out for yours in the equation above, I think so. Give it a shot and let me know what you think of it in the comments!