Osfoora HD: The Alternative iPad Twitter Client

The range of Twitter clients for the iPad is numerous and, as a new iPad user, you can often get confused on which one you should download for your shiny new device. A few months back, I looked at several clients and compared their features with one another and I found that Osfoora HD is a pretty decent offering when it comes to tweeting on your iPad. It’s the brainchild of independent developer Said M. Marouf (there’s also an iPhone version as well) and features nearly everything you’ll want (and has a few tricks hidden up its sleeve!).

All sounds great doesn’t it? Let’s have a look at Osfoora HD in a little bit more detail.


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First Thoughts

Osfoora HD is priced at a very reasonable $2.99 on the App Store and comes in two versions, the standard version for the iPhone and the HD version for the iPad. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, you’ll be asked (like with every new Twitter client) to authenticate your Twitter account with Osfoora HD (you can set the app up with multiple Twitter accounts if you like). As soon as your account has been authenticated, the home screen loads up with a scrollable timeline of your tweets.

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The timeline of Osfoora HD in landscape view.

To bring up more options for a tweet, you simply tap on it and Osfoora HD gives you a range of options on what you want to do with it (reply, retweet, direct message and so on). Other Twitter features such as your mentions, messages and lists are easily accessible from the bottom toolbar.

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Bringing up more options for your tweets in Osfoora HD.

Along the top, you’ve got easy access to all your Twitter accounts (Osfoora HD supports multiple accounts), a scroll-to-top button, your drafts and snippets and new tweet button.

Features

Osfoora HD features pretty much everything you would expect from a Twitter client plus a few hidden extras. Let’s have a look at these in a bit more detail.

Your Timeline

Osfoora HD works in both portrait and landscape views, however personally I prefer the landscape view as it allows you to easily browse your tweets. Tapping on links embedded into tweets causes them to open in the built-in browser, which can be a little temperamental at times when it comes to rendering pages.

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A website opened up in Osfoora HD's internal browser.

You can email and tweet links directly from the built-in browser or, if you prefer, open the link directly in Safari. There is unfortunately no way to force tweets to open straight in Safari, a feature I find quite frustrating sometimes.

Tweeting

Osfoora HD does offer you quite a few options when it comes to writing a new tweet. Apart from the standard text input, you can upload pictures, location information (depending on whether you’ve got Location Services switched on) and the current song you are playing (if you’re using the iPad’s default music app).

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Sending a new tweet.

When it comes to uploading pictures, Osfoora HD supports several third-party image upload services, including yFrog, TwitPic and Twitgoo. There is also a hot key for mentions and the app also saves all your recently used hash tags (as long as you tweeted them from Osfoora!). There is no hot key for hash tags coded into the iPad’s keyboard (unlike when you’re tweeting from iOS) so getting to the ”#” key can be quite fiddly depending on your layout.

Customisation

One of the great features about Osfoora HD is the fact you can customise almost every part of your tweeting experience. You can choose between two themes, light and dark (the dark is the default, however) and if you use the timeline in landscape view, you can switch on the split view, which divides the screen into two halves, the left for your timeline and the right for a more detailed view of the tweet and easy access to options (e.g. reply, retweet and so on).

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The split screen view in Osfoora HD.

You can also customise various aspects about the timeline, such as the default font size, whether or not Osfoora HD should scroll to the top of your timeline upon new tweets loading and how often the timeline should refresh whilst the app is open.

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The settings view in Osfoora HD.

A quick word of advice though: it is advisable to turn the new tweet sound OFF, as the cheerful twittering of that bird every 2 seconds can drive you nuts very quickly (and put your iPad in serious jeopardy of getting thrown against the wall). And no, there’s unfortunately no way of changing it!

Third-Party Support

Osfoora HD integrates easily with several third-party plugins, such as bit.ly accounts, “read later” services such as Instapaper, Read It Later and Wacchen, which is a bit like Instapaper for video where you can save online videos for later viewing from over 70 different supported sites, such as YouTube, Vimeo and TED.

What I Don’t Like

Osfoora HD unfortunately suffers from a couple of flaws that stops it being an amazing Twitter client for every day use. The first (and most important, in my opinion) is the complete lack of push notifications for your mentions, direct messages, retweets and so on. When the app is open, it will refresh automatically (depending on what you’ve configured in the settings) however when it’s running in the background you’ll cut off contact with the Twitter world until you next open up the app.

The second (maybe minor) flaw is the lack of updates for the app. The most current version (for the iPad anyway), Version 1.3.2.1, was last updated in October of last year however judging by the reviews on the App Store, the developer is extremely responsive to all comments and responds to all suggestions and improvements.

The iPhone version is, however, in more active development and it may be that we will see a massive update for Osfoora HD in the near future, bringing more features to this already great Twitter client.

Final Thoughts

Before Tweetbot 2.0 came out for the iPad, I would have said that Osfoora HD was the best Twitter client out there for it, despite suffering from a few issues like no push notifications and a slightly complicated to use interface (compared to other iPad Twitter clients anyway). I am not a fan at all of the official Twitter client – I think there is too much wasted space either side in landscape view and I find that it crashes on me way too often – so I’m always on the lookout for a great alternative iPad Twitter client.

Osfoora really does tick most of the boxes for me – its clean and elegant design is the best I’ve seen from a Twitter app and the features included are pretty much second to none. You can tweak the app so it works just right for you and if you use third-party services like Instapaper and Read It Later, then the included support for these really is icing on the cake.

Don’t fret too much about the lack of push notifications as there are workarounds to this. You could, for example, install the official Twitter client (which supports push notifications) then tweet from Osfoora. It’s not exactly the best solution, but judging by the comments on the App Store the developer is well aware of this and is working on a fix.

Osfoora HD is everything that the official Twitter app is not: an elegant design, plenty of features (as well as third-party service support), stable and fast. And for just $2.99, it’s also excellent value for money!


Summary

A fast and elegant Twitter client for the iPad.

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