Review: Facebook BETA on Windows Phone 8

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IMAG0251I like public development.

Microsoft is trying to build a better Facebook app. The FB BETA looks like it’s moving away from the sliding panel layout of traditional Windows Phone apps, and instead is bringing in a more traditional design that iOS and Android users will be more familiar with. Rather than trying to keep this in-house and development under wraps, they’re enlisting the help of the Windows Phone community to help them identify bugs and user issues.

wp_ss_20130502_0001If you’re familiar with other Facebook apps, the layout here will be¬†immediately¬†accessible. The app opens to your main news feed. Sliding the screen to the right gives you access to your different feeds and pages. Sliding the screen to the left shows your friends and favorites.

Notifications work the same way. Once you’ve opened the notification alert sliding left or right will slide you through messages, friend requests, and notifications/replies.

Also new to the app is the ability to share posts. It’s kind of funny how long it’s taken us to get this feature on our mobile devices…

The app is fluid and responsive. Thankfully, the problems with the old FB app aren’t reflected here. I continue to have problems with the old app and “Liking” posts. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a Facebook app I’ve used yet which can consistently “Like” a comment on the first tap; it always seems to take a couple stabs at the little Like link to get it to toggle.

wp_ss_20130502_0003wp_ss_20130502_0002It’s still a BETA of course, and some are complaining about feeds getting stuck and not updating. I’ve been running the app for a couple of days now without issue on a Lumia 920, but I’m also not the heaviest FB user–so take my experience with a grain of salt. Personally, I appreciate the performance improvements, and this should help people transitioning from Android or iOS, as both FB BETA and the new Twitter apps have more consistent user interfaces; but I really like the sliding panel Windows Phone app guidelines. I’ll miss that.

The new Facebook app is in the Windows Phone App Store, but you wont be able to search for it. Instead you’ll need to click on this link which will take you directly to the store to download it.