Talon is the latest third-party Twitter client to fly into the Play Store, and while the competition may be fierce, there's always room for something new to claw its way in and do things a different way. This particular offering comes to us from Klinker Apps, the makers of Sliding Messaging, and prides itself on having superb KitKat integration. This means users fortunate enough to have Android 4.4 can enjoy a Twitter feed that rolls under translucent system bars, functionality that Google introduced in the latest version of the OS that has yet to make its way into many apps. Is this the only reason to get wrapped up in Talon? Not at all. Tucked away in this bird's feathers are a few other alterations that may just help you cut through your Twitter stream with less drag.
What's It Like?
For starters, yes, the transparent UI works. Your Twitter feed will go fullscreen and slide under both the notification icons and the system bar at the bottom. It works well, though it looks better with the default dark theme than the lighter alternative.
Aside from that, Talon takes most of the settings crammed into the top of the usual Twitter and pushes them over into a sidebar. This serves two functions - it removes the guesswork involved in figuring out what each icon stands for, and it removes excess clutter. If you never send direct messages, for example, it's nice to have the ability to access them tucked away the vast majority of the time.
The official Twitter app also places the tabs for switching between your Home, Discover, and Activity feeds on a second bar that disappears when you start scrolling. Having them in a sidebar not only makes more sense to me, but reducing the amount of moving parts on screen makes things less disorienting. If you're a fan of Falcon Pro, then you already know the benefits here.
The similarities between Talon and Falcon Pro don't stop there. Both have multiple themes to choose from, with Talon defaulting to dark colors. There are also "light" and "black" themes to choose from if the first look doesn't quite fit your tastes. Deeper in the app's settings you can find toggles for how pictures are handled, whether to display emoji, what to do with notifications (including those sent to a Pebble smartwatch), the ability to back up settings, and other nitty-gritty things.
Like Falcon Pro, Talon also has support for multiple accounts. To add a second one, theoretically, all you need to do is open the sidebar, click the down arrow, and hit the button that appears. Yet awkwardly enough, when I tried it just restarted the original setup process, and I ended up with the same account being displayed twice. Your mileage may vary.
Other aspects are also hit or miss. The ability to view web pages inside the app is just plain convenient, even if it's a bit cramped (though this can be changed under advanced settings). Notifications are also pretty intrusive out of the gate, as there's always an item in your panel, regardless of how many new tweets there are.
This is Talon's initial release, but it's a pretty impressive one. It's smooth, attractive, and, for the most part, functional. This hands-on is by no means a comprehensive look at what it has to offer, as the list of available features is pretty beefy. Take a look.
- Live streaming support
- Support for 2 accounts
- View your timelines (main, mentions, direct messages, links, and pictures)
- Favorite users
- Update your profile picture, banner, location, and user description
- block, follow, and add users to lists
- Attach locations to your tweets
- And the list goes on :)
- Extremely powerful developer theme engine (https://github.com/klinker24/talon_theme)
- Choose between either "Talon" or "Hangouts" layouts
- Choose from 3 beautiful base themes (light, dark, and pitch black)
- Custom text sizes
- Night mode
- Auto-Refresh options
- Custom notification settings
- And many other goodies in there as well!
- "Talon Pull" to be always listening for tweets/interactions
- Expandable, actionable, and dynamic notification system
- Full app popup
- Full emoji support
- View in-line Twitter and Instagram pictures
- View in-line YouTube thumbnails
- Native YouTube player
- In-app browser
- Complete landscape and tablet modes
- Advance to new pages in a "windowed" viewing mode
- Never leave your timeline with in-line replies, favorites, and retweets
- Hiding action bar
- "Do not disturb" mode
- Widget for main timeline
- DashClock Extension
- Google style pull to refresh for quick refreshing
That's a lot of functionality that isn't offered by the official Twitter app, and if you've grown tired of your standard third-party client or your preferred option has disappeared from the Play Store, this might just be the replacement you've been waiting for. It supports Android 4.3 and higher, even though you obviously need KitKat for the translucent system bar. There's no free version of Talon available, but for what you're getting, $1.99 isn't all that much to ask.
Thanks, Bill Stebbins!