For as long as I can remember, BlackBerry users on Twitter have argued over which mobile client is the best all-around. Although there are many different Twitter apps to choose from, the top three most used and well-known have been Twitter for BlackBerry, UberSocial for BlackBerry and SocialScope. These three are the ones that have incurred more debates than I care to count.
I’ve primarily used Twitter for BlackBerry over the last year and a half and have been quite content with it. Over the last 6 months or so, I had heard grumblings about how UberSocial is “ easily the best app for Twitter.” SocialScope users, on the other hand, would boast about their app being so good and so exclusive, that you needed to be “invited” to use it (actually true about the invitation). All this trash talk was just asking for a good head-to-head... to-head battle to determine which app is the best, once and for all.
We needed a good review to compare and contrast all three of these Twitter clients and that's exactly what I attempted to do. I will be going pretty in depth in terms of pros and cons about all three of these clients so this battle will actually be a couple of parts. Part I will focus squarely on User Interface and the look of the apps while Part II will be more focused on Performance and Notifications.
So without further ado, here is the Twitter Client on BlackBerry Battle Royale between T4BB, UberSocial and SocialScope.
To start, I decided to run all three apps at the same time on my BlackBerry for 5 days (battery killer and a half). Throughout the tests, I used Twitter for BlackBerry v220.127.116.11, UberSocial for BlackBerry v1.353, and SocialScope v0.9.6.36. By running all three concurrently, I was able to see how quickly I got mentions/DMs/notifications from each app and compare them in as many things as possible.
Then, I gave each client its own 3 day span where I would force myself to use nothing but the app to tweet. It was a little tortuous at times specially since I wasn’t use to certain ways in which each app functioned. After about a half day of continuous use though, it became a little easier and I gotta say, I was very surprised with what I found out about all three of these clients.
It is worth noting that all of these clients had their pros and their cons, obviously. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be loved and hated by so many people at the same time. Unfortunately, two of them have too many cons, in my opinion, and that’s what ultimately decided this battle.
BATTLE 1 - USER INTERFACE
Possibly the most important part of a good Twitter experience is how UI looks. How aesthetically pleasing the UI is, will strongly influence whether or not and for how long you continue to use a specific Twitter client.
Twitter for BlackBerry
In my opinion, T4BB has, hands down, the nicest user interface out of the big three. It’s clean, no ads, no clutter, and it’s definitely does the most important functions that any Twitter client needs to do without many problems.
One of the things that I absolutely love about the UI on T4BB is how you can see outside notifications from within the app as pictured above. This not only saves you time when it comes to finding out what notifications you have received without leaving the app but if you are on the move and your signal/WiFi drops you will automatically be able to tell. I’ve always been in favor of having every app include this top row and while I know it’s not always possible, it is always a huge plus when an app does manage to add it.
Twitter for BlackBerry also allows one-click access to information within tweets. What do I mean? Well when someone’s tweet contains a picture, a link, or another Twitter handle, for example, on T4BB you can click those individual parts of the tweet and open the picture, the link or the user’s profile without going into another screen (the actual tweet) like you have to on UberSocial and SocialScope.
Currently, Twitter for BlackBerry does not allow to see if anyone has retweeted you, followed you, added you to a list or any of those extra awesome features. Obviously, I’m hoping those added goodies come soon but so far, nothing.
Twitter for BlackBerry also does not support muting, twitlonger or open at least read tweet. I never thought I’d personally want this last feature since I’ve never really used it, but after trying out UberSocial and SocialScope (both have open at last read tweet), I’ve completely changed my mind. Not having this feature or a Connect tab (see retweets and other interactions) are HUGE negatives.
UberSocial for BlackBerry
UberSocial for BlackBerry does have a pro when it comes to UI and that’s the ability to change the “theme” of the app to one more to your liking. I chose the “Midnight Theme” but UberSocial does give you seven other options to choose from.
UberSocial has this awesome feature called “Inner Circle” (which has its own set of notifications) to which you can add your favorite Twitter handles and be notified when they do anything on Twitter. I can see this being a huge plus for people that follow everyone back and in reality only want to know about a few select people.
UberSocial for BlackBerry also supports twitlonger and TMI.me for those times that we need more than 140 characters to say what we mean. From a writer's point of view, this feature is great because you don't have to look for every little place that u can delete a character in your tweet to "make it all fit." From a reader's point of view though, it's a little different. Unless you catch my attention with the first words of the tweet, odds are I will not click on the click to finish reading the entire paragraph you decided to write on Twitter.
UberSocial is just ugly. There’s no two ways to go about it. It is the only client, out of the three we’re discussing, that employees ads. I can imagine that on a portrait oriented screen (Torch 9810/9850/9860 Curve 9380) this wouldn’t be a huge issue as there is more real estate for tweets above the ad, but on the Bold 9900, it simply takes way too much space.
In the example above, the ad literally takes almost one third of the entire screen. You can imagine how unbelievably annoying this becomes when trying to scroll through your timeline. Of course, you can get rid of the ads altogether but then you have to purchase a one year subscription for $4.99. Simply not worth it.
UberSocial for BlackBerry seems like it’s just too busy. The menu is ridiculously long. I counted 38 different items on the menu alone. Unless you know exactly where you’re going, you’re going to be scrolling up and down for a little while. If you decide to go into the Options and you want to find a specific section in Options, good luck. The Options screen is goes in a specific order and to be able to get to a certain part of the list, you have to click Save/Next at every screen/option before the one you're looking for. It's terribly designed.
Like UberSocial, SocialScope also gives its users Themes (six different ones) to choose from which is definitely a fan favorite. It’s very crisp in its design and is more like Twitter for BlackBerry in the cleanliness and simplicity.
SocialScopes, like Twitter for BlackBerry, offers shortcuts within the app so no there's no need to open the menu every time you want to do something like on UberSocial.
SocialScope also allows the user to see if you’ve been retweeted. You do have to manually check it though as it does not do it through a notification. Also, while it will show the number of times you’ve been retweeted, it won’t tell you by whom.
One difference between SocialScope and the other two clients, that I personally see as a negative, is the way the app shows the time of the tweets on the timeline. Instead of having it indicate how long ago it was posted, SocialScope decides to show the time it was posted instead. This wouldn’t be an issue if it displayed the current time somewhere within the app, but unfortunately, it doesn't. I found myself confused at times wondering if I was reading something from an hour or two minutes ago.
Thanks to horangi7
for pointing out that this is only done by default on SocialScope and can be changed under Settings > Display > Date Format to "Relative."