What's The Best Twitter Mobile Web Client?

Tweetree displaying Flickrfan image and URL Micro-blogging service, Twitter is one of the big successes of Web 2.0  in terms of mine share and number of users, if not profits.  The simple open social network, where content is limited to 140 character status messages,  now has over five million users.  The 140 character limit comes from Twitter's origins as an SMS service, but Twitter's elimination of SMS updates in most of the world doesn't seem to have slowed Twitter down. Most Twitter people (Tweeps?)  seem to be using web and mobile web clients to update Twitter and to follow their friend's updates.

Twitter and the mobile web seem to be made for each.  Tweeps tend to update frequently,  stream of conscious style, whenever they have a thought to share.   The sparse format combined with a good mobile web client means that even the most basic web enabled phones make competent Twitter terminals.

There are a lot of mobile web based Twitter clients. I've covered Twitstat, Slandr, Twapper and Twitter's own client previously. Yesterday James from mjelly told me (on Twitter)  about  another one that he likes, Dabr (dabr.co.uk).

After trying Dabr it's now my favorite mobile web client Twitter client too, but it's not my favorite Twitter web client on mobile.  How can that be?  I've started using a new full-web client called  Tweetree on my phone.  Although it's not a mobile web site, Tweetree works as well as one in Opera Mini.  Plus it adds some really neat features to Twitter.  For one, it has threading;  Tweetree tries to link Tweets and @Replies into conversations.  The threading is hit and miss, sometimes it works but other times it seems to thread unrelated Tweets.  I can do without Tweetrees's threading but it has another feature that is fantastic.  If a Tweet contains a link to an image, Tweetree displays the image below the Tweet.  Plus it expands those opaque compressed URLs from tinyurl and similar services into the real target URL and shows the linked page's title too.  Tweetree is new and is still missing a few features,  notably the ability to follow new Tweeps, but the way it handles images and links is totally new and very useful.  The top image shows how Tweetree expans a bit.ly short URL into the full URL and Page Title and pulls in the linked image. I really hope Tweetree does a mobile client, too.Dabr Mobile Twitter Client

Anyway, back to Dabr.  It's a full featured, "mid-sized" client similar to Twitstst and Slandr with avatar images and  quick access icons for replies, direct messages, retweets and favoriting.  It also lets you follow new Tweeps and has a full-text  Twitter search to help you find new people to follow.  But the best thing about Dabr for me is that, unlike Twitstat and Slandr, it works in Opera Mini without the need for horizontal scrolling.

While I was trying Dabr, I found a link on the site's "About" page to yet another mobile web Twitter client called Tweete ( m.tweete.net). Tweete is a light weight (14KB) client that should work well on old  or low end phones and/or slow networks.  In spite of it's low page weight, Tweete manages to include a lot of features; quick action icons for direct messaging, replies, "favoriting" and "un-favoriting".  Tweete also lets you add new Tweeps to the one's you are following and offers the fairly unusual feature of being able to delete one of your own Tweets.

With all these Twitter mobile clients, which one is best for you? Tough choice, I've put together a  feature matrix below to help you decide:

Client Twitter Mobile Tweete Dabr Slandr Twitstat
Search N Y Y Y N
Follow Y Y Y Y Y
Actions N Y Y Y Y
Counter N Y Y N N
Avatars N N Y Y Y
Delete N Y Y Y Y
No H. Scroll Y Y Y N N
Size 11 12 38 45 49
Ready.mobi 4 4 4 4 4


  • Search:  Find topics and Tweeps using text search.Tweete Mobile Twitter Client
  • Follow:  Client provides a way to add new Tweeps to the list of those you are following.
  • Action: Client has icons or links to reply, favorite, direct message or "Retweet" with out having to remember that D=Direct @=Reply, fav=Favorite and  Retweet:= Retweet.
  • Counter: Shows the number of characters remaining so that you don't type more than 140 and have your Tweet truncated.  The counters require JavaScript and don't work in Opera Mini.
  • Avatars :  Tweete only shows an avatar if you click a Tweep's name, the others marked 'Y' show the the author's avatar next to each post.
  • Delete: Client lets you delete your own Tweets.
  • No H. Scroll: Client works properly (left and right keys do page up/down and horizontal scrolling is never required)  in Opera Mini's "Mobile View" mode.  Probably irrelevant if you don't use Opera mini.
  • Size: In kilobytes of a full page of Tweets.  Under 20 KB should work on any phone. Under 100 is OK on smartphones and modern handsets with NetFront, Nokia,  Teleca or Polaris browsers.
  • Ready.mobi: Score (1-5) of dotMobi's "mobile readiness" tester.  The tests were performed on the client's (small) login screen and probably over estimate the mobile readiness of the clients with timeline page sizes over 20 KB.

So which Twitter mobile client is best?  It really depends on your needs, preferences and the phone you are using.  Tweetee has the most features and one of the smallest pages sizes making it a good choice overall, especially on basic phones and if network performance is an issue. But Tweetee doesn't display avatars in the main timeline.   I think Avatars add a lot to the Twitter experience, I like to  "see" who's talking.  Dabr has avatars and all the features of Tweete except the ability to delete a Tweet, something I rarely do, so it's my current favotite among the mobile clients. Be sure and check out Tweetree in Opera Mini or on your PC too.

Related: Wap Review Directory - Technology/Mobile/Mobile Social/Twitter

34 thoughts on “What's The Best Twitter Mobile Web Client?

  1. you guys should try out citcuit.in

    it's what im using right now.. functions similarly with others..
    it has an upload feature to all pic upload sites.. really cool try them..
    • all of them actually looked very similar and functions just like dabr...although each of them have their own special features.. for instance, teamsar.net features profile editor, tweet translator and profile photo uploader.. with teamsar you can also select which type of photo sharing site you'd like to use (mobypic, twitpic, lockrz, etc.) slandr has a geolocation feature... tuitwit has a "who is nt following back feature..
  2. Excellent recommendations, any options to a twitter add on for Opera Mobile browser, that can share the web page I am surfing through, with URL shortening?
    • Totally agree, and would still use it but on my HTC touch duel it wont display properly and is in constant refresh, but its the best thing ive use for twitter.. but will now use dabr.co.uk i cant see any improvement on those who use it as a base so its my new client!
  3. Tweete doesn't show the character count anymore. Not that any of these application's character counts works on my Nokia under Opera Mini.
  4. Hi,

    Great review! Its nice to see so many mobile alternatives existing in harmony, each offering a unique experience for visitors.

    Thanks for reviewing Tweete. I'm glad your article pointed out that Tweete was designed from ground up to a be very lightweight / full featured mobile client.

    Cheers, Ben
    creator of http://m.tweete.net
  5. @David Carrington,

    Thanks for you comment. I found the delete function, it IS well hidden and updated the table in the post to indicate that Dabr has it.

    Incidentally, I gave up on Tweetree, at least in Opera Mini as I seem to have to login every day! I'm using Dabr exclusively on mobile now now - nice app.
  6. This points out to me (yet again) that I've not made Delete easy enough to find in Dabr. It's available as an action only if you click on the time of one of your own tweets. I felt that if it was too easy to delete tweets then it could be done by mistake. Something to improve.

    Your comment about page/buffer size and compression is a good one and is why I recommend Tweete to people with older phones. I've had exactly the problem you mention reported in that the page size caused a warning message on someone's phone and they only got half the page.

    I think Dabr is the only one that treats different browsers separately, so iPhones and Google Android phones see a very different menu that is more finger friendly. Also, a barely used feature is that if your phone sends the right headers to say it's only got a poor GPRS connection, the avatars are automatically turned off (the icons also swap out for text links too).

    Incidentally, the problems you mention with Tweetree linking up odd replies is the very reason that the "in reply to" link is not shown in Dabr. Twitter has no functionality to say "this tweet is in reply to this one", it only has "this tweet is in reply to the last thing this other person said" - which implies it's broken to me.

    URL expansion is also missing from Dabr because requires your phone (or the server) to make HTTP requests for every link on the page, probably slowing it down for most phones. Only desktops and Opera Mini would really benefit from this, so it's now under consideration.

    Thanks for the cool review :)
  7. Hi Dennis,

    thank you for the review of amongst others http://m.slandr.net. Great to see my offspring @slandr being featured.

    Have you seen the other options of Slandr? E.g.:
    - Pic & Tweet: Say it with an image either through Twitpic or Mobypicture API;
    - Last.fm Event listing: Check out events near your location, or search any given location.
    - Geo Tweets: See where the latest Tweets came from and Twitterlocal integration (who else is tweeting in your, or any given, location)
    - Twitter Status: Whats up with Twitter? Twitter Status blog is incorporated in Slandr.

    You can find these features under the 'Extra'-tab in the navigation bar.

    Furthermore you can switch of avatars in Slandr. And you can view Twittercounter stats of almost any user.

    Just wanted to let you know this :D

    happy new year! great mobile 2009!
    greetings from Amsterdam, on behalf of http://m.slandr.net

  8. @Kjeld

    All the sizes I listed are uncompressed. Several of the other clients use compression as well.

    Compression can speed up page loads and reduce cost, but it doesn't help with phones that use the Motorola MIB and Openwave browsers which have limited page buffer sizes of 20-30 KB.

    Uncompressed size is a better indicator of whether a page will work on browsers with limited page memory and is what the Ready.mobi and MobileOK checkers measure as well.

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