By September 10, 2010

Blaq Review

Blaq-LogoFor those of you that have not heard of Blaq, it is a new Twitter application for BlackBerry. If you don’t have a BlackBerry then I will excuse you for not reading any further!

This review has gone live on the site today to coincide with the launch of Blaq as today is Blaq Friday! This new app has been in great demand for some time now, although it has been available as a closed beta for for a lucky few.  Was it worth the wait and how does it compare to the others already out there?

Read on to find out.

 

Review:

Blaq has been entered into BlackBerry App Worlds ‘Super App’ competition and as far as I am aware this is why it is now available (it had to be submitted before a deadline). 

So what makes Blaq a Super App? Well it has some features that as far as I am aware are unique. Its user interface is pretty super if you ask me. The colours look great and really compliment each other beautifully.

So lets jump straight in and see what all the hype is about.

 

Of course once downloaded you will have a Blaq icon appear in your downloads folder. I suggest moving this to your home screen as if you use Twitter a lot you will need quick access. As you can see there are two different notifications on the screen shot. At the top is the B1, showing I have one Blaq notification and also the main icon gets the green star on it too.

BBHome

 

Next we take a look at the timeline as this is where the action is at. At the very top of the screen we get our signal strength, account name and time. I love having the time shown here as it is not present in a lot of alternative apps.

Then we get the seven main tabs. These are home, mentions, direct messages, lists, new Tweet, refresh and the arrow on the right removes these tabs to allow you more space on screen for viewing tweets. Jumping from timeline to messages or mentions could not be easier. You can either use the tabs or when in either you can just scroll left or right therefore eliminating the need to scroll up to the tabs. Nice!

Actual tweets are presented fairly typically with the users avatar, name, tweet, time and date and the app they used to tweet from, all essential info. Within the timeline if you have a mention it will be highlighted to enforce its importance. It’s a gorgeous UI don’t you think? The greens, blues and whites really stand out on the black background. I love it!

 

timeline

 

The mentions and DM screens appear as you would expect and are uniformed with the timeline.

mentions

 

If you want to send a tweet you can either click the tab, select update status from the menu or use the ‘C’ shortcut key. (Most options within Blaq have a shortcut option).

sending tweet 

 

Under the awesome Blaq logo you can enter your text and if you wish to add anything else there are four tabs under the text field to assist you. These are attach file, shorten URL, choose a friend and add location.

URL  Sarch Location

 

 

If you have a mention or DM to respond to, you once again have some onscreen tabs for ease of use. The @ symbol is the option to reply. Next to that we have retweet (you have the option here to edit), Then we have the star which adds the tweet to your favorites and finally the envelope icon gives you the option to DM the contact. All very straight forward and easy.

Reading a tweet

 

So that pretty much sums up using the app but where Blaq is a little different is in the settings. The main thing for me is the refresh options. As you can see on the left hand screenshot below you have separate options for the home timeline, DMs and mentions. I have not seen this on another app and this is what makes Blaq special. What’s so cool about that you may ask? Well, the answer is simple. Apart from tailoring the app to your needs it will help with battery life. For example: if you are going to work and will no be checking your timeline very often why not change your timeline to refresh every hour instead of every five minutes. You can still leave your mentions and DMs at a shorter interval if you wish. The less refreshed, the less battery is consumed. If you ask me this is a fantastic option and one I am really impressed with.

As you can see there are lots of other options available. Having settings that are so customisable is a real treat and the way forward i suspect. ‘Super App’ quality!

 

settings3 Settings 4 Settings1

 

Like with most applications, pressing the BlackBerry menu key will present you with an array of options. Many of these can be achieved using the on screen tabs and shortcuts but if you prefer to use the menu like this you have that option.

 

menu1 Options2 options3

 

There is one more feature with Blaq that I believe makes it a Super App and that is the ‘Quick Tweet’ options. Whichever application you are currently in you can press the BlackBerry menu button, select Quick Tweet and the below box will appear on screen. Not an easier way to send a Quick Tweet if you ask me.

Quick Tweet

 

Blaq handles pictures slightly differently from other applications. If you see a tweet that has a picture linked to it there is no need to highlight the link and then be redirected to that page. With Blaq, a simple click on the tweet will launch the Blaq picture viewer. A press of the menu key gives you the option to save the image if you require. A very quick and efficient way of doing things.

Pictture viewer

 

If you use more than one Twitter account then this too is made easy with Blaq. Within the menu is the option to manage accounts. Here you will see your accounts and you can just select the one you want and off you go. Simple Pimple!

 

Accs

 

BlaqOps is another unique feature with Blaq. To summarise: if you see another Twitter user tweeting from Blaq and you head on over to there profile you will see a BlaqOps logo on the top right of the screen. Hit the menu key and you are presented with various options of contacting them. So for example, if you select ‘Request BBM’ a BBM friend request will automatically be sent to that user. How cool is that!

 

 Bops 2BOps1 BOps3

 

And then the other user gets a pop up on their screen like the below image. Genius!

BlaqOps5

 

 

Conclusion:

So as you can probably tell I really like Blaq. Is it perfect? No, but what app is on its first version? It can be a little laggy on the odd occasion but nothing that would put me off and to be honest that may well be as I have so many apps running on my BlackBerry at the same time.

Do I think Blaq is the best Twitter client for BlackBerry? Well, it is the nicest looking, (that UI is beautiful) and it has some fantastic and unique features, so my answer is Yes, it is the best Twitter app available right now. However, I know that there are some other apps coming real soon which too are very good. Social Scope has been available on trial for some time now and so has Tweetissimo, which I personally use and love as it gives you push notifications. Once these are all available from App World I suggest we let the battle of the Twitter Super Apps commence.

We will be publishing a demo video over the next day or so but in the meantime I really suggest getting Blaq as soon as it appears in App World. It is freaking awesome!

More details on Blaq can be found here.

 

Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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