There are more than a few Twitter clients floating around for Windows, but few of them really stand out from the pack. Our personal favourite is TweetDeck, for its built-in convenience features, support for many third-party tools, and raw customisability.
Platform: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (Adobe AIR) Price: Free Download Page
- Update Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare all from one dedicated program
- A multi-column view that lets you organise how you want to view your services, different accounts, direct messages, replies and saved searches
- Manage multiple accounts
- Take and upload photos and videos through services like TwitPic and TwitVid
- Send messages longer than 140 characters with TweetDeck’s Deck.ly service
- Schedule tweets for a time in the future
- Create saved searches that let you follow topics in real-time
- Add, create, and manage Twitter lists
- Filter out tweets you don’t want to see by account, service or hashtag
- Preview short URLs to avoid phishing
- Report Twitter spam with the click of a button
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Desktop notifications
- One login for all your Tweetdeck-linked accounts, on any platform
Features, features, features. Few Twitter clients can measure up to TweetDeck’s power. It has features you didn’t even know you wanted (and some you might not ever use). It has the important stuff like native retweets, multiple accounts, built-in URL shortening from multiple services, and built-in photo sharing from multiple services, while also adding things like Deck.ly support, scheduling tweets, and filters that just go above and beyond the call of duty. And, if you ever tweet about an Apple product, you have that handy spam button to get rid of the incoming “Win an iPad now!!1!1!” replies.
TweetDeck is also very customisable, letting you completely revamp its colour scheme to suit you, as well as organise all your columns however you want. You start with the basic tweets, replies and mentions columns, but can expand that to include your favorited tweets, a Twitter group or list, or even just a saved search that updates in real-time. However you want Twitter to work, TweetDeck will do it for you.
TweetDeck’s biggest downside, in my opinion, is that it’s an AIR app, meaning it’s going to act a little funky in comparison to some other apps on your system. Feature-wise, though, there isn’t much to complain about. I wish you could resize columns, and I really wish you could opt for a tab-based system instead of a column-based system (à la Twitter for Mac), for those that like to keep Twitter docked to one side of their screen instead of filling the whole thing up. Sadly, this is a problem many Twitter clients for Windows have. Overall, though, these are nitpicks, and TweetDeck’s done a fantastic job of making the most powerful Twitter client around.
If you don’t like TweetDeck, you have a few other clients available to you. The first client that I’d say competes with TweetDeck is, strangely, TweetDeck for Chrome. OK, it’s kind of weird to say that it’s competition, but they are two different apps. While TweetDeck Desktop definitely has some desktop-only features and is more customisable, TweetDeck for Chrome seems to be getting a lot of attention from the developers, boasting some exclusive features like inline image previews. Plus, it isn’t an AIR app, so if that turns you off about TweetDeck, you might be much happier with the Chrome version. Even if you don’t use Chrome, just create an application shortcut out of it, use it separately, and you’ve got yourself a nice, feature-filled Twitter client.
MetroTwit is becoming a popular choice, and with good reason — it’s got a very beautiful UI, based off of Windows Phone 7’s Metru UI. It isn’t quite as feature-filled as TweetDeck, but it’s young, and they’re still building it up day by day. It does already have URL shortening, URL previews, autocomplete for usernames and hashtags, themes, and notifications.
Other notable clients include the feature-filled Seesmic, the minimalistic DestroyTwitter, and the unconventional Sobees. There are quite a few others, most of which run on AIR, and most of which don’t really differentiate themselves from the pack, but these should give you a good start into looking for a Windows Twitter client. Of course, if you have a favourite we missed, be sure to share it with us in the comments.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories. This week, we’re focusing on Twitter clients.