Falcon for Android

It's a perilous time to be the developer of a Twitter client, with major changes to the service's API looming on the horizon. We've already seen one Android client shut down in large part because of it, and Windows Phone has seen one if its darlings leave the dance floor, too.

Then there's Falcon, which has quietly been improving for some time in an open beta at XDA Developers. Falcon (the app) actually started as Falcon (the widget) and finally emerged from the forums and is now available for purchase on Google Play as Falcon Pro for about $1.

How's it fare? Let's find out.

First and foremost, Falcon Pro is wonderfully designed. It's right up there with anything I've used previously, including a certain unicorn of a Twitter client that's yet to see public release. It's that good. Falcon's using a dark palate. There's sort of a top toolbar with an indicator that there's something in a pane to the left, followed by your timeline, mentions and DMs. The icons all sport unread counts, which is fine, though if you follow too many people, those numbers quickly become meaningless. On the right is the button to compose a new tweet. The icons are simple and intuitive. So far, so good.

Falcon Pro for Android.

The timeline itself -- the most important part of any Twitter client -- is beautifully designed as well. The name and nickname of the account that posted the tweet is broken out slightly above the tweet itself, along with how long ago it was posted. Standard stuff, and it's really nicely designed here. Avatars are of a decent size, and the body of the tweet has plenty of contrast in white against the dark background. Tap an avatar to get a user's profile. Tap a tweet for more detail. If there's an image attached (and you get a preview in the time line), it'll load in larger fashion. (Tap it again to load in a full browser outside of Falcon.) Scrolling -- which can be the kiss of death for an otherwise excellent Twitter client -- for fast and smooth in Falcon. We've seen a few apps scroll faster -- but not many. Falcon impresses in this department, with only the occasional slowdown when new data is coming in.

Falcon Pro for Android.Falcon Pro for Android.

Links are handled smartly as well. Falcon has an "internal" browser, meaning it can load web pages without your having to leave the app. Tap on a tweet with a link attached, and the page will load in the app, under the tweet. There are options to load the page either in mobile form, or as a desktop view. It's worth trying both, as we've seen a few rendering problems in the full view. There's also an option to turn off the internal browser, if you wish.

Controls for replying, retweeting, favoriting and sharing tweets are simple and intuitive. Have we mentioned how well Falcon is designed?

Falcon Pro for Android.

The window for composing a new tweet is simple, with clear buttons for attaching a picture from your phone, taking a new picture, the number of characters that are remaining, location toggle, and the send button. Falcon will save an unsent tweet as a draft, but there's no way to delete that draft that we can see. You'll have to use the backspace button to erase and start over.

Falcon Pro for Android.Falcon Pro for Android.Falcon Pro for Android.

Back to the main timeline now. Whether you're looking at the main feed, your mentions or DMs, a quick pulldown will refresh the stream. You'll also see a colorful little drop-down notification, telling you how many new tweets have come in in each category. Red for direct messages, green for mentions, blue for tweets of accounts you're following. There's no way to turn them off, unfortunately. While it's good to have an indication that your streams have finished refreshing, the three seconds and three colors here become fairly annoying after the first three refreshes or so. A more subtle indicator would be nice, considering how much you'll be seeing it.

From the main timeline, you can swipe left or right for more features. Head left, and you see your account (tap the avatar to see your details and tweets). From there you can get to your lists of accounts you're following, as well as who's following you. You've also got more buttons to get to your timeline, mentions and DMs, just like the ones atop the main timeline view. (In another nice piece of design, note how the button at the top left of the timeline view changes depending on whether you're viewing your main feed, mentions or DMs.) Favorites and search live here as well.

The settings button brings you to options for syncing and notifications, changing the way the display looks (it says you can customize color, but that setting's missing still, instead you've only got options for displaying media inline, and changing the font size), and user experience (for changing those browser settings we mentioned above. There's also a button that takes you to Falcon Pro's listing on Google Play, so you can leave a review. (Presumably a good one.)

Falcon Pro for Android.Falcon Pro for Android.

There's a "Donate" button down below that seems a bit out of place. It leads to the $1.99 Falcon widget, which is fine, but calling it "Donate" considering you just purchased the app in the first place seems a little gauche. And if you want a Falcon widget, you'll have to use that old standby in either its free or donation form. There's nothing built into the app yet.

Falcon Pro for Android.

You've got the usual settings for notifications. You can change the sound, toggle notifications on and off, choose whether you want to be pinged on new mentions and DMs, or all new tweets, as well as favorites and new follows.

Falcon Pro for Android.

Back to the main timeline one more time. Swipe to the right and you'll see any lists you've created, along with global trending topics, and local trends, which might or might not have anything to do with where you are.

Falcon Pro for Android

By the way. In portrait mode on a tablet, you get a second column of tweets. Another nice design touch.

The bottom line

Look, for $1, this is a no-brainer. Falcon is one of the best Twitter clients available today, and we expect to see further improvements as time goes on. First among them should be the ability to add a second account. That's the only thing keeping me from making Falcon my full-time Twitter client. For most folks out there, though, that's probably a non-issue. But it is a pretty big feature that's currently missing, so know that going into things.

For this being Version 1, however, we're extremely impressed with Falcon Pro and have no qualms whatsoever about recommending it. 


Reader comments

Review: Falcon Pro Twitter client


Great article Phil - I have used Falcon Widget (for Twitter) in the past and enjoyed it so I might give this one a try..

I downloaded the free Falcon widget yesterday. After a few minutes, I deleted the official Twitter app and bought the full Falcon app.

I would like to add that it is probably the best tablet app for Twitter out there. I have been using Plume before and Falcon Pro takes the best parts from that client and improves them ever so slightly. And considering the prize, it won't let you down!

Personally I thing Tweetings is better, mainly for real time push notifications (WITHOUT a background process draining your battery) and photo editing

Hey Phil so what did happen to carbon? Did they just decide to bail and not play ball? Does your beta still work?

Great article. You did put in there key parts that I wanted to know about it. Like the fact that the widget is a $2 add on. That just rubs me the wrong way and the kiss of death for what could of been a great app. It makes me feel the devs think pretty highly of them selves.

The widget is free. The donate version is $2. I actually downloaded the free widget yesterday to get an idea of how this app is and see if it's worth downloading. The widget itself is better than most full Twitter apps (and every third party Twitter app is better than the official). Plus the colors match ICS/JB, which is a plus.

It's lacking less options from my current client, UberSocial, and most other clients, but it looks very nice. Grid view was a nice touch. My favorite feature, though, is that you can reply to mentions directly from the notification bar (I'm assuming this is a Jellybean only feature). It's lacking cross posting to Facebook as well.

So yeah... get this app, download the free widget. Or just download the free widget and use it in conjunction with your current Twitter client.

I love the app. But I find it troubling that every time a truly excellent Twitter client comes along, we're all looking over our shoulders to see when Twitter will shut it down. It really kills my joy for their network that they've trained us to think that way.

The home screen widget is free. The article is wrong. The donate app is just wallpapers and a notification bar widget.

Clarified that sentence a little. The "donate" button pushes to the donate version of the widget. And either way, you'll need the separate widget app for now if you want a Falcon widget.

I'm a long time tweetcaster user too. But I mmediately ninstalled it after buying falcon pro. The nterface is a lot better and more intutive than tweetcaster.

I don't think I'll be uninstalling TweetCaster Pro just yet. Falcon Pro looks sweet, I bought and am testing right now, but it's missing two very basic features I consider a MUST HAVE in any Twitter app: mulitple accounts and the ability to mute people, keywords, clients, etc. When Falcon gets these, it might be worthy of pushing TweetCaster off my phone. Another thing, Falcon Pro's use of that information bar over each tweet seems a bit awkward and like an ever so small waste of space...just ever so small.

Fast and clean looking, though.

I'm the opposite.
Bought Falcon Pro. played with it for 14 minutes, then un-installed and went back to Tweakdeck.

Falcon doesn't have multi-account capability, and installed, it was over three times as large. Don't get me wrong, it is gorgeous, but its somewhat bloated for what it does.

Tweetcaster used to be my go to Twitter client, but I've been using UberSocial mostly exclusively for quite some time now (I did use Plume briefly). How an app looks is VERY important to me and Tweetcaster just wasn't that visually appealing to me after trying those other apps. Falcon looks amazing (if you're running ICS/JB). You can always try out the free widget to give it a taste. I haven't bought the full app yet (I'm going to in a minute), but I imagine the widget gives you a good idea of how the app is.

It's nice. It is lacking in extra options in the settings, though, and I like having options. There's also no ability to cross post to Facebook if that's something you're into, but that's something I can live without, especially considering I hate Facebook a little more each day (and I wish people would start using Google+).

The dev needs to be charging for the widget, far better than the app itself. That said, I uninstalled the app as it's only useful if you want a dark theme for your twitter app.

Yeah, good tip, thanks. I actually don't have Facebook or Google+. I find them to be way too intrusive. I know twitter is as well to an extent, but not as much. What I do have issue with is things like Spotify, requiring you to have a FB account. I want Spotify, but I am not creating a FB account to get it.

Great app! Should only get better once its finished & Push is added. If push isn't added, I'll be sticking with Tweetings & all the customization it offers.

If we already had the beta do we need to uninstall and buy the app or do we get the release version for free? Google Play tells me I already have it installed....

Sounds like it doesn't support push notifications, huh? Can anyone comment if it has built-in support for Read It Later services (Pocket, preferably)?

I bought Falcon Pro & don't see the big difference between it and Tweetcaster as it has a top menu bar, sliding UI, and a dark background theme. What am I missing? Going to keep both for a while to see. - Falcon's UI seems a little boxy

doesn't work from the UK store yet. The donate version couldn't get past the welcome screen. Refunded but will try again, looks sweet for a v1

My favorite feature is the notification bar when you get a mention or DM. Like Echofon and assuming you are running jellybean, you can reply right from said bar....at least you could with the beta version,

brilliant app for the phone and tablet bar far the best looking ui I've seen its really a great looking app, its still improving and at a very fast rate to.
you can't go wrong

I might be wrong but I do not have push notifications (thought it says you have it)

I am missing something?

this is a great app, and i think it will be great after a few more revisions. I am a plume guy, and there are a couple things lacking for me. First, i really like the way plume handles when i click on something in a widget. I get the options menu that allows me to retweet, reply, whatever right from there. with this, i have to click, wait for it to open in the app, then re tweet or whatever.

i do really like the overall design of the app and widget.

Maybe its my phone (doubt it, its an htc one s)or something, but scrolling for me on this is ANYTHING but smooth. Was actually pretty bad.

Other than that, i think this is a great app but really nothing to stand out from almost any other well written twitter app.