doubleTwist is definitely not a newcomer to the Android Market – we’ve reviewed it before – but it recently received an new set of features and UI that brings it up to ICS standard.
But will this be enough to let it compete with old favorites such as PlayerPro and UberMusic?
When doubleTwist first launched two years ago, it set the bar very high for music players’ feature sets. Since then it has undergone a massive transformation, adding features such as video playback, wireless syncing, and even streaming films from your phone to your game console.
The most important feature is still media playback. Playing your music using doubleTwist is a pleasant experience; everything from pausing and fast forwarding to audio equalising is simple. You can do other nifty things that make managing your music easier, such as swiping up to reveal your current playlist and flicking your screen to move tracks.
doubleTwist also contains one particular feature that should appeal to audiophiles: an equaliser. Equalising is great for those of us who like to make sure every aspect of their music is pitch perfect – for example, if I would like a song that’s mainly drum solos to have more bass I can just fire up the equaliser and adjust the settings freely. Although some users won’t ever find the need to go near this feature, for audiophiles equalisers have almost become a necessity whilst playing back their music.
A new feature, introduced in November, is based on Podcast syncing: you can now subscribe to and download podcasts through the app itself. Before the update, this was done by connecting it to your PC and doing all the browsing and downloading via the doubleTwist desktop client. It worked, but the new method is a blessing. You can stream podcasts directly to your device for free, but to download or subscribe to them you will need to buy an optional upgrade that weighs in at €4.99.
One of doubleTwist’s most touted features is the ability to sync without wires via what they called “AirSync”. AirSync allows you to just open the app on your mobile, activate the desktop client and drag and drop whichever media files you please. This is a really neat feature as it gives the end user a taste of the inescapable future of wire-free synchronisation. I found the transfer reasonably fast, bearing in mind that it was being done over Wi-Fi.
doubleTwist is well known for its music playback, but not so much for its video playback. Once you sync some of your videos through the desktop application they can then be easily accessed through the app. I found video playback to be very smooth and, although its featureset does not match up to specific video apps (such as MoboPlayer), it offers enough satisfy anybody who just wants to play back their video files without any extra bells and whistles.
The UI also got a lot of attention in the November update. Previously, doubleTwist’s interface was something that you would expect to see in Gingerbread or even Froyo, but the new update brings the UI into the Ice Cream Sandwich era.
The main menu has received a really great overhaul that makes it a pleasure to use. At the top we have a list of different menus we can access including “Settings,” “Music,” and “Videos.” This element definitely took a leaf out of Windows Phone 7’s book with its “slide-left-or-right to move between different menus” approach. But this is most definitely not a bad thing. Using the main menu is a very fluid experience.
Selecting your music is a major part of any music playback app, as is how it is presented. Luckily, doubleTwist uses a beautifully designed grid view to show you your music collection. Anybody who uses iTunes will find this grid approach very familiar, and so they will also be aware of how intuitive it is.
Once you select your music you will be brought into the part of the app where most people will spend the most of their time, the playback screen. doubleTwist’s playback screen is much different to that of other music apps available. The playback screen maximises every pixel of your Android device’s display in an effort to make all the controls you may need available in the one view, rather than having to switch between several.
Playing back your video collection in doubleTwist is simple, thanks to the minimal interface that is used both when selecting your video and during playback itself. Selecting your video is as simple as selecting “Videos” from the menu and tapping the video. During the playback of your video you can tap on the screen at any point during the video to see your control panel glide gracefully into view. From here you can pause, fast forward or rewind.
Overall the UI of doubleTwist is a great example of beautiful UI design on the Android platform.
doubleTwist’s revamp has improved the app in many ways. Everything from selecting your media to playing it back has been given an overhaul, which makes the app a pleasure to use. Couple this with features such as an equaliser and wireless synchronisation and you definitely have a great app on your hands.
However, note that if you want to maximise the potential of the app with features such as an equaliser or wireless syncing, it will cost you.