Twitter clients for Android have tried to sell their tricks over time — some more successful than others. When Falcon came out as a widget, it earned a positive review from our own Abhimanyu Ghoshal. Now, it’s a fully functional Twitter app and it looks to be picking up from where it left off. There’s nothing new to Falcon Pro’s tricks, but it’s how it does it that makes all the difference.
Falcon Pro’s interface is hands-down the best I’ve seen on a Twitter app, including the official one. It’s simple yet attractive, and you instantly understand how things work even at first glance. Timelines display unread counts for tweets on the header, with an icon on the left for showing the menu panel, and another icon to the right for composing tweets. It also has the pull-to-refresh method for loading new tweets.
Scrolling down the timeline is pleasantly smooth, unless the app is refreshing the feed. Each tweet is displayed in nicely framed boxes, showing both a user’s Twitter handle and registered name in great contrast. The default theme is in monochromatic black and gray, but a recent update added a Light theme which sports a similar look in white.
Original Viewing Experience
By default, the app opens to your timeline. The Menu key on your device is pretty much unusable at this page. To go to the app’s other functions, you can swipe left or right to reveal the menu panels. The left panel lets you view your profile including follower and following count and basic filters for mentions, retweets and favorites. You can also search Twitter from here, or go to Settings.
The right panel is where you view lists, saved searches, worldwide and local trending topics. Tap on each of these and the timeline should show updates accordingly. While lists and trends may not be essential to a casual Twitter user, this may be helpful to those who use it for marketing or any other creative work.
User profiles are opened by tapping on their respective avatar. They show icons to follow/unfollow, send a direct message or a reply. The app also shows a small note that indicates your relationship with the user. In the screenshot below, the phrase “You follow each other” is shown on the bottom of Android.Appstorm’s bio.
Long-pressing on a tweet expands the box and shows the icons to Reply, Retweet — choose Quote for the old RT method — Favorite and Share. The dotted button provides additional actions in a popup box. The app has a mute function, which is similar to Tweetcaster‘s Zip feature. This does not necessarily block the user, but hides all of his updates from your timeline. When muting a user, a pop-up box will confirm whether to mute the user only or include the hashtags that came with the tweet.
Quickly tapping on a tweet opens it in full view. If it has a link, the app opens it in the built-in browser below the text. This can be disabled in the settings page if you wish to use a third party browser for viewing web pages. However, the built-in browser’s ability to quickly load web pages is just as impressive. Photos can be zoomed in and YouTube videos — and even videos from other sources — can be played directly from the browser. This makes the app a great way to view content without having to open another app or browser.
The interface — especially the aforementioned built-in browser — works brilliantly with tablets. Streaming videos and viewing photos is even better with a tablet’s big, landscape view.
The Settings page offers a lot of tweaks, including TweetMarker, which remembers where you left off on your timeline so you can come back to it even after leaving the app to do something else. You can also enable Real Time Notifications, which pushes notifications as they happen using Wi-Fi connection.
This is also where you can change the default settings, such as disabling the internal browser, or reversing the tapping behavior when opening tweets. To review or remove a user from mute, you can go to Manage mutes.
Some Missing Features
Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have support for multiple Twitter profiles. This won’t be a big deal if you only have one Twitter account. However, heavy Twitter users — myself included — usually have two or more Twitter profiles. In this case, Falcon Pro may not be an option, no matter how great it is. This puts the app behind older apps like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Seesmic and hopefully, the developer will add it in future updates. Another feature not seen in this app is scheduling tweets to be published at a later time.
Falcon Pro excels in almost all aspects: interface, performance, app design and feature set. It’s packed with extremely useful features that appeal to any Twitter user: on top of the interface, speed and inline previews are the best qualities of the app. I was doubtful about the built-in browser at first, but as I used it and noticed the impressive speed with which it pulls up a web page, I became a fan.
So for a fast and pleasant Twitter experience, go with Falcon Pro — it’s well worth the small investment.