Nov 1, 2011
This review is one part of my two part look at Mac compatible/WinAmp alternatives for wirelessly syncing music to your phone. Because doubleTwist is one of the more highly used programs, I figured that a full Rundown would be appropriate.
DoubleTwist comes in with a lot of hype. There are three parts to the full package: one iTunes-like desktop app, a free media player app, and a $4.99 AirSync app thatâ€™s basically an add-on to the media player. The aim for doubleTwist is to be the Android version of Appleâ€™s iTunes and iCloud service. It comes close, but thereâ€™s no way for Android to replicate the success and simplicity of their Macintosh counterpart.
Starting with the desktop application, Iâ€™ll say this first: I am an iTunes slave. Iâ€™ve tried multiple other media players but I always end up reverting back to iTunes eventually. I admit that iTunes is bloated and needs a rewrite, and I thought that any new media player would have to be faster and smaller. Shockingly, I was proven wrong with the doubleTwist media player. Iâ€™ve uninstalled/reinstalled this program a few times on my MacBook Pro but it doesnâ€™t seem to alleviate the sluggishness through the menus, and the program will frequently lock up for 30 seconds before working again. The program also takes longer to load than iTunes, which I wasnâ€™t even aware was possible. Without the Android AirSync app, however, doubleTwist does do a good job of wired syncing; it organizes your files accurately within the Music folder on your phones SD card. But a means to easily put music on your phone is the only thing this application should be used for. This is not an iTunes replacement, even though it tries to be. It also hijacks the play and next/previous buttons when closed but not fully quit which can be very frustrating.
Fortunately, the mobile app fares better. The mobile media player is very capable, and has a very elegant lock screen widget. There isnâ€™t much to set this app apart from other mobile media players like WinAmp, but like I said in my review for UberMusic, if you want a basic media player to replace an iPod, this will do the job handedly. There are many complaints of sluggishness and “glitchiness” on the Android market, but in my experiences with it I have not found any problems on my HTC EVO 4G. There is an add-on to the media player that adds Gracenote album art automatically and allows for an advanced equalizer. But for $5.99 it kind of seems like a raw deal.
Finally, the last part of this package is the separate $4.99 AirSync application. This application basically allows you to wirelessly sync music, photos, and videos to your Android phone over a home network. Setting up AirSync with doubleTwist is easy enough, but I would like to see it simplified down a little bit more. I can easily see less experienced users having a hard time getting doubleTwist to recognize their phone. I was impressed with the speed that my files were synced over to my phone. It took less then a minute to sync a 19 song album to my phone, which is faster then it takes to do the same thing wired. I had no problem is having other media players recognize the files, which means that even if you do not like the mobile player or the desktop app, you only have to use them to transfer your files.
The final aspect of this app is its integration with the Xbox 360, PS3, and Apple TV. Surely, the Apple TV feature canâ€™t be true. Streaming music from your Android phone onto an Apple TV? No way. Well yeah, itâ€™s true. DoubleTwist easily streams your videos, photos, and music to Apple TV. Itâ€™s not perfect; when a song is playing, no info appears, displaying just a black screen, but come on. Close enough. Even better is the streaming to the Xbox 360. Your phone appears under the list of drives when you open the music tab and the songs start playing instantly after selecting them. This actually surprised me. One problem is that the AirPlay feature will stay on even when DoubleTwist is closed which will drain your battery, so just make sure to turn it off when done.
Overall, DoubleTwist is a good Winamp alternative if you can deal with some fairly noticeable problems, even though Iâ€™d recommend TuneSync if simply wirelessly syncing music is what youâ€™re after.