When it comes to apps, Windows 8 has been high on quantity, but relatively more grounded in terms of quality. And one of the apps whose absence seemed particularly glaring and galling in equal measure was the official representative of the microblogging site supreme – Twitter. So there was cheering aplenty when it was announced that an official app for Twitter for both Windows 8 and Windows RT had been released.
And well, we must confess that it is one of the better looking “official” Twitter apps that we have seen on a tablet. Scratch that – it certainly is the best, outshining its Android and iOS counterparts that tend to focus more on substance than on style and do not actually reflect the OS they are running on (as a consequence of which iOS and Android users tend to hark to other apps for their Twitter fix but that is another story for another piece). Twitter for Windows 8 certainly does that. It is a small enough download at 2.6 MB, and as on other platforms, costs nothing. Installation is quick.
Nothing really seems to bounce out at you once you log in to the app. The format seems pretty standard with a single column showing the tweets of those you follow with a side panel on the left showing Home, @Connect, #Discover and Me (your profile). @Connect shows the tweets where you have been mentioned. And again, the layout seems basic. Uncluttered and lot of white space. Easy on the eye, but no real visual magic. That bit starts when you hit the #Discover button and suddenly Twitter switches into Windows 8’s swiping mode, letting you swipe between trending topics, follower activity and tweets. And shared links and images look awesome, with complete Web articles being displayed within the app itself. A quick note: all this happens when you use the app in landscape mode, which does seem Windows 8’s preferred mode.
There’s more: tap on a user or even head to the Me section to see your own profile. Once again you will be rewarded by a swipe to discover interface as you switch between basic details and statistics of the person, recent tweets, and images shared by the person. It does not sound like much, but take our word for it – it looks gorgeous on a Windows 8 large screen. You can also share information from any other app by just invoking the Charms bar, choosing the Share option and then opting for Twitter. And thankfully unlike some apps, you actually get a chance to edit the copy before sending it off. Finally, there is Snap view, where you pull your finger down from the tap of the app and when it becomes smaller, simply shift it to the right or the left of your display, where it becomes a single column affair, letting you work on the remainder of the screen on whatever app you want. Neat, we think. And there is support for live tiles and notifications, although we prefer just running the app by the side.
Yes, power Twitter users will complain about the lack of customization options (no settings button at all, would ye believe it) and the fact that they have to go delving inside the Me section to access DMs – Tweetdeck gives us them in a nice column by itself. Still all said and done, we cannot help but like Twitter’s official avatar on Windows 8. It is simple and elegantly designed, if not exactly overburdened in the feature department, and is very comfortable to work with, be it in full screen mode or tucked away on one of the sides of the screen. Good enough for it to go flying into our must-download apps list of Windows 8!
Available from: Windows Store