Ever since Twitter asked LevelUp Studios to change the name of their popular Twitter app from Touiteur to something less Twitter-sounding, the developers have apparently been working hard to make Plume the best on the Android market with their frequent releases.

Plume touts itself as a highly customizable Twitter client and this particular claim definitely holds true, especially when stacked up against the other Android apps like Tweetcaster and even Twitter’s own official app.  With both free and paid versions, it’s easy to try out before deciding to pony up for the ad-free premium version.  The ads on the free app are fairly intrusive and distracting, which is likely intentional (however annoying) to encourage users to make the upgrade.

Their list of features include the following:

- Colorize your timeline/friends from Twitter, a very cool feature seemingly unique to Plume
- Multiple twitter accounts support, making it an easy alternative from Tweetdeck or the like
- Scrollable and attractive widgets to display your twitter timeline on your home screen, a massive advantage over the official Twitter app
- Mute twitter users, words or clients
- Picture previews
- Twitter geotagging
- Swipe scrolling, which is finicky but functional
- Share photos with Twitpic, Plixi, YFrog
- Bit.ly support for your tweets
- Inline twitter conversation
- Display replies to a tweet
- Display twitter profiles

Overall, the user interface is sleek and intuitive.  It doesn’t take more than a minute to get the hang of the functions and figure out how to use the app, although the least intuitive feature is how to send a new tweet – a bit ironic for a Twitter app. I wish the Jump to Top button was in the main toolbar instead of under the soft touch buttons on the phone so as not to have it be a two touch process, but overall the interface is very easy on the eyes and a fun one to use.

The Droid market has been flooded with recent user reviews in the last few days since Plume version 2.18 was released, all saying the app is incredibly slow and unresponsive with the addition of the newest features such as the option to show the time of a tweet rather than a minute/hour difference.

I definitely experienced this when testing over the course of 3-4 days, especially trying to initially access Plume from my home screen.  It would take a good minute for tweets to load, which in the land of Twitter feels like a century.  There doesn’t appear to be an auto-refresh option, and manually hitting Refresh takes another full minute, making it quite frustrating to actively participate in some of the more rapid-fire conversations such as Oscar viewing.

Until LevelUp fixes the load and refresh times for Plume, I’ll be sticking with TweetCaster despite preferring Plume’s interface.  Response time is the most critical feature for a medium like Twitter, and all of the cool features in the world aren’t going to save a slow app.  There’s an incredible amount of potential for this to be the Android Twitter app and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with future releases, as I’m sure to give it another try in the hopes it becomes lightning fast.