Even before Tweetie had been gobbled up by Twitter, I had been uncomfortable with its seemingly endless feature-base; while it was better than most of its competitors, in my opinion, it had simply grown too complex to be enjoyable to me. When Twitter acquired Tweetie, renamed it and replaced its icon, I was ready to remove it from my home screen: Tweetie and I broke up, in a way. After months of jumping from Twitter client to Twitter client, I heard about Weet, the new kid on the block, and was eager to try it. And, dear readers, the results are encouraging.
Keep reading after the fold to find out what I think of Weet, how it measures up against its competitors, and whether you should try it too!
When you first open Weet, you’ll see that it is arranged in many ways similarly to other, more familiar Twitter clients. There is a tab bar at the bottom, which lets you switch between the timeline, your mentions, your direct messages, searches, lists, retweets, and favorites. Tweets are arranged in a list, and when you want to check for new tweets, just pull down to refresh (a user interface idiom invented by Loren Brichter of Tweetie/Twitter for iPhone fame). If you’ve only ever used Twitter for iPhone, it should be pretty easy for you to get started with Weet.
If Weet is so similar to Twitter for iPhone, why pay for it at all when the other is free? The answer is simple: Weet takes the good from Twitter for iPhone, and leaves out the bad.
Weet borrows some ideas from Twitter for iPhone (such as pull-to-refresh), but shows its uniqueness in other parts, such as the tweet-viewer.
Design & Interface
The first thing I noticed about Weet was its icon: simple, beautiful and definitely worth of a spot on my dock. Believe it or not, my primary criterion for judging an app is its icon: for whether or not the app itself is good, if it is to appear on one of my home screens, it must measure up to the icons competing for the same space. When Tweetie 2 turned into Twitter for iPhone, the icon-change disappointed a lot of users, myself included; so when the new kid on the block featured an icon that looked as though it had been constructed with love and forethought, I knew it was a good sign.
Much of Weet is custom-themed; that is to say, it doesn’t use the standard styles for many controls (such as navigation bars, navigation bar buttons, tab bars, etc.). Those of you who know me will know that one of my pet peeves is when app developers use custom themes for the sake of “branding”, but pay no attention to the overall norms of the platform. The idea that your brand recognizability should transcend the native experience is faulty, and seems to be perpetuated mostly by the pointy-haired bosses we often ridicule. There are only a few applications which really pull off the custom look-and-feel gambit, and luckily, Weet is one of them.
Weet features a theme that appears to be based on the pantone cerulean color, with controls that seem to be painted with a subtle matte finish; because of this, navigation bars, buttons, and table cells are all provided with beautiful, Retina-quality custom drawing. This color scheme lends a relaxed feel to the app that differentiates itself from its competitors, which tend to be either very bright or very dark.
The only thing that could be criticized about Weet’s custom theme is its tab bar, which is semitransparent and indicates selection in a way very different from the default behavior; while most of the other controls seem to have been redrawn in order to fit with the cerulean color-scheme, I fail to see the reasoning behind this rather foreign tab control, other than to be pretty and different. That being said, I really like it and think it looks better than the default in this case; I just am a little bit uncomfortable with custom controls for the sake of custom controls.
I’ve bounced around between Twitter clients, and had at one point even landed on one for a while (namely Icebird). But I find at this point that I have no desire to leave Weet, because of nice, thoughtful innovations that make my day every time I use them. For instance, a tweet that is marked as a reply to another is indicated by a little icon in its upper-right corner; but even better, you can tap this little icon and it will bring you directly to a listing of the conversation, so you can catch up. This far better than Twitter for iPhone’s system, in which you have to keep jumping through “in reply to” links; Icebird has a similar easy-to-use conversation view, but in order to get to it, you have to view the tweet by itself first. The ability for me to catch up on a conversation in one tap is incredibly refreshing, and reminds me of the fact that Weet’s great user interface design is coupled with greater user experience design.
Like many other Twitter clients, Weet lets you save links to be read later using a third party service (you can choose between Instapaper and Read It Later). In fact, Weet makes it easier than ever to save a link to be read later, by reducing the number of taps necessary by one: once you are viewing the tweet, you’ll see a Read Later button that you can tap to have the link immediately saved. This is invaluable to me, since I never have time to read articles immediately; I like to sit down with my coffee in the morning and peruse my Instapaper, and Weet makes it even more painless to fill up my queue every day.
Just as you can choose which service Weet uses for its Read Later feature, you can also set which URL shortening, image uploading, and video uploading services you want it to use. The real star of the show here is CloudApp, a new and beautiful way to share files and shorten links, which Weet fully supports out of the box.
With Weet, you can choose to use one of a few different services for URL shortening, image uploading, and video uploading; I’m really pleased that Weet supports CloudApp for all of these features!
I have only one complaint: the thing I loved best about Weet is the fact that it follows the principle of convention over configuration, which means that it makes the most common tasks dead-simple, but allows us to configure it to behave otherwise if necessary. Unfortunately, in the latest update which added tweet-quoting (to complement modern retweeting), tapping the Retweet button will always bring up a choice between retweeting and quoting. I find this frustrating, since I never quote tweets (and I recommend that you don’t either, but that’s a different story!); I would prefer if this feature were tucked away into Settings somewhere, disabled by default.
Weet has performed admirably on my iPhone 4, and based on my completely unscientific tests, has beat out every competitor in smoothness. Tweetie pioneered the slick-scrolling table view, and Weet continues that legacy with intensely smooth scrolling. The only thing I have noticed is that sometimes, it takes a really long time for Weet to save an article to my Instapaper queue, but I suspect that this is no fault of the app, but an idiosyncrasy of the Instapaper service itself. Overall, I’m floored by Weet’s fantastic performance.
Throughout this review, I’ve made frequent reference to a few of Weet’s competitors, and by now, it should be clear how I feel. It seems like every Twitter client I’ve used has some sort of problem: it has too many features, it has too few features, it is over-designed, it is under-designed. But like Goldilocks, I’ve found my “just right”, in Weet. Whether Weet has all the same buttons as Twitter for iPhone (hint: it doesn’t) is neither here nor there: what I really want is an app that will do what I need, and nothing more. What we all want is an app whose icon is beautiful, and whose interface is a pleasure to use. That’s Weet, and no one else comes close.
Weet is currently priced at $0.99, a steal if you ask me. The full version of Twitterrific, for instance, costs $4.99, the same price as the full version of Echofon. Weet is priced significantly lower than its paid competitors (ignoring the fact that its best competitors generally are Universal apps which support iPad), and is yet of a higher caliber of design. I wholeheartedly recommend you purchase Weet; we have seen that its developer is very responsive to user-suggestions, and is enthusiastically maintaining the app with updates.
To sum up, Weet has both excellent visual design and superb user experience design; especially notable was the prevalence of one-tap operations for which competing apps required several taps. Weet’s features are, in my mind, only what is necessary: not too minimal, but not too complex. Weet just gets it right, and because of this, I’m going to rate Weet at 10/10. At $0.99, Weet is the best app I have ever bought, and I don’t say that lightly.
Buy Weet on the iTunes App Store, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!