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Review: Tumblr App Showdown

October 15, 2008
TheTumbler v0.9 | Published by Sahil Desai | Via App Store | Free | Released: 9-20-08 Tumble v1.1.1 | Published by BitFire Systems | Via App Store | Free | Released: 8-24-08 Tumblrette v1.0 | Published by Mobelux, LLC | Via App Store | $1.99 | Released: 9-02-08


I was amazed to discover not just one but three apps in the App Store that all hope to capture your loyalty by doing one thing well - helping you post to your Tumblr blog from your iPhone. One was an early addition to the App Store back in August while the others followed in September. Two are free, and one is $1.99. Which one does the best job?


All three apps require you to of course connect the app with your Tumblr account by typing in your login email and password. Tumblrette goes the additional mile of "verifying" your account and giving you a green bullet next to your Tumblr URL when you're finished with the process. TheTumbler The latest addition to the Tumblr apps fight, weighs in at .2MB, and sports the Tumblr flower logo on its shorts. Pressing any of the options - Text, Photo, Quote, Link or Chat brings up an entry screen like the ones below. You can add a photo by selecting the camera icon, then if you want to add a caption, select the photo entry option and you will be able to type in the caption box. After entering your text (for any of the fields), simply hit post and voila - it's immediately visible on your Tumblr account.


Tumble functions almost identically to TheTumbler. It's option screen is more graphical, as you can see above. However, the way to add a photo is a little un-graphical. There's a big white space that simply says "Choose Photo." Tapping this space brings up a menu that allows you to take a photo or add one from your photo library.

One nice feature of Tumble is the "QuickPost" on the main screen. You're given four options (shown below) that help you make a quick entry on Tumblr. In addition, you can edit and add more to the Quick Posts. Very thoughtful feature. It's almost Twitter-ish.


Tumblrette also has a graphical interface option screen as seen below, as well as three buttons across the bottom - Posts, Sites, Settings.

The Posts button is essentially the default main screen. It's where you make entries into your Tumblr blog like the previous two apps. One addition that Tumblrette has that the other two don't is the "Advanced options" which takes advantage of Tumblr's tagging abilities, allows you to mark a post as private, and pre-date your entry. (Saving your entry for later is promised on the app's site as "coming soon" and is actually pictured on the site in a yet to be distributed version 1.1.)

In addition, Tumblrette has a similar photo posting interface with one nice addition - you can preview your picture in the box and add your description to the photo on the box on the left. This screen also gives you the advanced options.

The Sites button basically incorporates Tumblr's login page. It looks identical to what the Tumblr dashboard does in your browser and is essentially a browser within an app. If you have multiple Tumblr sites, this is the only way - in this version - to access more than one site. The app's site says that eventually this button will automatically fetch your other Tumblr sites, including private ones.

The Settings button is where you log in to your Tumblr account, and it has one intriguing feature that is not yet fully functional - "Manage Groups." Since Tumblr has moved from the groups feature to simply calling it multiple tumblelogs, this option apparently will allow you to manage the different tumblelogs you belong to.

I don't think it's real kosher, however, to build in to the app unusable features like the "Manage Groups." The Sites button - a browser within an app... hmmm. It just doesn't do it for me. I could just use Safari to access that.


All three apps "get the job done." The two free apps - TheTumbler and Tumble do the exact same thing. they have similar interfaces, with a graphical nod to Tumble for the main interface screen. However, I liked TheTumbler's photo posting screen better. Tumblrette is really where the meat is, however. There's a reason they're charging $1.99. It's the only app that gives you the advanced options of tagging and predating right now. From the screen shots on their site, it will also soon include the option of accessing your other tumblelogs, saving for later, and actually logging into your Tumblr dashboard from within the app itself. With that caveat, none of the apps currently allow you to access anything other than your main Tumblr blog. The browser-within-an-app that Tumblrette incorporates is unsatisfactory. However, for those that are heavy Tumblr users, I don't think there's a question about which app is best - Tumblrette wins for the extra features it already offers, and knowing the features that will be added just around the corner is enough to make one spend the cash.


If you don't need the advanced features and you use only one tumblelog exclusively, then TheTumbler or Tumble are perfect for what you need. It will just be a matter of aesthetics for you. I think Tumble looks nicer, but it's really a tossup. However, for advanced Tumblr's, I recommend Tumblrette. It's a well-conceived app that has a very promising future.
  • TheTumbler
Usability: 5 / 5 Value: 5 / 5 Utility: 3 / 5 Aesthetics: 2 / 5

Overall Rating: 3.75 / 5

  • Tumble
Usability: 5 / 5 Value: 5 / 5 Utility: 3 / 5 Aesthetics: 3 / 5

Overall Rating: 4 / 5

  • Tumblrette
Usability: 4 / 5 Value: 4 / 5 Utility: 4 / 5 Aesthetics: 5 / 5

Overall Rating: 4.25 / 5

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