It’s almost impossible to break my loyalty to the official Twitter client. I have defended it for years, through the rise of Tweetdeck, Plume, UberTwitter, Carbon, Falcon, Talon, and more. I tried each of these and none of them ever stuck with me.
However, the recent Twitter UI update has had me scratching my head. I didn’t like the app’s design, the focus on Discovery and Activity or the contrived way to get to my replies, DMs and Favorites. I was even less of a fan of accidentally favoriting and retweeting things, or having to open a tweet to get to its hashtag, links or author. Moreover, I had been more active on Instagram and was getting tired of Twitter not displaying those images in-line.
Eventually, Twitter for Android was annoying me enough that I was using the service less, so I started looking elsewhere. I checked several clients then, almost serendipitously, Fenix started its beta and I decided to give it a go.
Fenix solves my Twitter for Android woes
Every issue I have with the official Twitter client doesn’t exist with Fenix. The app is beautifully and minimally designed, Holo-like with a side-menu, and enough visual differentiation between all tweet elements — avatar, name, handle, text with links or mentions or hashtags, time, media and “Retweeted by” if applicable. However, the app doesn’t do too much, so you’re left with a UI that doesn’t skimp on details nor clarity.
The tabs are swipable and customizable, so I can choose whether or not I want to see my Favorites or Direct Message tab for example, and swipe a few times to get to them. There are no accidental presses of buttons since there are no UX elements thrown in the app, you don’t have to open tweets to click on links or users, and Instagram previews are handled in-line.
Fenix also gets the basics right
My main problem with every third-party Twitter client I tried was that it failed somewhere on the basics. To me, here are the must-have features that Fenix also provides:
- Multiple draft support
- Push notifications, for mentions and messages but also favorites and retweets
- Conversation view, including what comes before and after a specific tweet
- Multiple Twitter account support
- Username and tweet text search
- Username or hashtag auto-completion when typing a new tweet.
Fenix doesn’t focus on superfluous features
There are many other Twitter clients that often try to do too much. Fenix doesn’t push itself to break records in terms of implemented options, but it does come with a Mute filter, gestures, customizable themes and navigation drawer, and an optimized tablet UI.
Fenix might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it gets close to presenting an experience that takes the best of what the official Twitter client has to offer and builds on top of it, without ever getting overwhelming. For that reason, I decided to uninstall Twitter for Android and I’m currently a Fenix user, exclusively.