Tapatalk Review

Tapatalk Review

Oct 16, 2012

Participating in web forums is a fun diversion, and mobile technology makes forums even more accessible. Even with the best mobile browsers, though, the rendering can be, well, interesting on tablets and smartphones.

Tapatalk promises to streamline associated forums into a tight, streamlined package.

For the uninitiated, Tapatalk comes in two pieces: a forum plug-in, used by the forum administrator, and the application, which is procured by forum users. I found that forums that did have plugin installed did work quite well on my mobile device.

Most of my favorite forums were supported, which, for me, was the most important test of potential value. With the Tapatalk ID feature, I was able to create a settings-saving profile that followed me from device to device. Next, I was able to check through the long list of forums that work with Tapatalk. Upon finding the one that I wanted, it was as simple as entering in my forum credentials, and I was online. I was able to replicate the process with other forums as well.

The user interface is Tapatalk‘s true strength. The developers somehow figured out how to pack in a good degree of functionality into an attractive minimalist appearance that feels custom-made for mobile devices. Having access to 6 of my “regular” forums, all with a similar look and feel, was pretty nice. Tapatalk also allowed me to tweak the appearance; I could change the color and font, and there were themes to purchase as well. I found that I could create a signature, and could also adjust things from loading behavior to the number of posts that appeared per page.

Posting and viewing were close to fantastic. Each forum was split into three tabs each: Unread, All and Participated. I liked that the “Thank/Like” post functionality of some forums was reflected in the app, as well as support for BB Code. I was able to set notifications for PMs and was even able to make adjustments to my forum Profile from within the app. I could also share threads, mark favorites, subscribe to threads and more.

Now, I actually found that for several forums, I actually preferred using Tapatalk to using/viewing the forum on mobile browser or even on a full-fledged computer. It is just easier and more streamlined. When you toss in the support provided by the developer, it becomes an even better value.

I did find the subscribe feature to be a bit wonky, and it is probably selfish to wish most themes were not a premium feature, but I did find it easy to forgive the developers, as Tapatalk did manage to bring forums alive, and even make them more fun to use. That isn’t an easy task.

Proboards Forum Review

Proboards Forum Review

May 22, 2012

Proboards is a popular free forum platform. They are like the WordPress.com of forums. When a Proboards form is created, the URL for the site will be forum-name.proboards.com. Because they are free and hosted by Proboards, it is easy for someone to toss together a quick forum for their interest or club.

The Proboards Android application allows easy access to all of your favorite Proboards forums while mobile. I didn’t see an easy way to search for new forums to join. So here is a kind of nerdy way to find different Proboards forums to join. In the browser go to Google and type in the topic then a little search magic. It should look something like this:

ghosts site:@http://proboards.com/

Once some Proboards forums on interesting topics are discovered, it’s time to use the Android application. The first step is to add a forum. There is a spot on the main menu called My Forums. In this screen click on Add Forum. Enter in the the login credentials used to create an account on the new forum.

From there, using the forum is pretty much the same as using it in a standard browser with the exception of the look of the forum is simplified. There is access to all of the topics screens, pictures and links can be uploaded and added to replies. Pretty much all of the regular things needed for a forum frequenter.

Navigating through the tree of topics and threads is a breeze. Tap the topic and be taken to the next level. If preferred, there is a a Latest tab showing all of the newest posts since visiting last. Also in the tabs, there is a Participated option showing all of the recent conversation threads.

While there isn’t a lot to talk about with a forum application, there is a major benefit to using an application versus the browser; ease of use. When using the Android browser, there is a need to zoom in and out as well as a slower loading speed. For the person who is active in a forum or two, there is no substitute for easy navigation.