App Reviewed on: iPad
iPad Integration Rating:
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When it comes to Facebook on the iPad most apps have been pretty hit or miss, and using the built in web browser is less than ideal. Enter Facebook & Chat - Friends With Benefits by High Fidelity. The app is a little daunting at first, but after some time with it I was flying around Facebook like a pro. It isn't perfect, but it adds a multitude of customization options and streamlines the Facebook experience on the iPad. Facebook & Chat has all the features I expected: profile viewing, integrated chat, photo browsing, friend requests, events, and almost everything else Facebook offers.
Due to the obvious lack of Adobe Flash on iOS I didn't have much hope for Facebook games or viewing shared videos, but I gave them a try just to be sure. Games were a no go, and videos were spotty. I couldn't get them to play on the page, but I was able to follow their links and watch them (if they were from YouTube). The app's interface defaults to a slate grey theme which threw me off at first, but after tinkering with the settings I found a generous amount of theme options. Everything from the original Facebook theme to book and magazine style themes are available. The themes are nice and add a personalized touch to browsing Facebook. I also found the option to increase and decrease font size very helpful in several situations.
The built in chat feature works like a charm. Tapping the little chat bubble on the user interface brings up a new window with a list of available friends and a large chat window. I was able to easily carry on several conversations through the tabbed chat system without any slow down. The scrolling option during chat was a little wonky because it required two fingers, and it doesn't support flicks or gestures. Needless to say, scrolling through chat is slow and becomes very tedious at some points.
Facebook & Chat works as it should, and until there's an official iPad app it's one of the best options available. The custom themes and built in chat are great features, but due to the limitations of the iOS platform it still feels like a mobile version of Facebook instead of its computer counterpart. The main draw of the app is its ability to handle casual Facebook surfing without having to go to the iPad's web browser, and it happens to look good doing it.