Version Reviewed: 2.1
iPhone Integration [rating:3.5/5]
User Interface [rating:5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:5/5]
I suppose I should start this review off by admitting that I had to pull myself away from Facebook to write my review about it. Because of this app, I'm so heavily entrenched in social networking that I'm actually being antisocial in a cafe full of interesting looking people at this moment. Facebook is one of those paradoxical phenomenons that I can't help but laugh about.
OK writing that confession has helped me pull my focus together and my impulse to go check my wall is fading - on to the review before someone comments on one of my photos!
Facebook is easily the premiere, most polished and feature rich social networking app available for iPhone. I would definitely say the same about their web app solution that was ready to go nearly as soon as the launch of the original iPhone. The initial iPhone native version was a great start, but lacked some key features that the web app had. As of the native version available today, however, the developer gang at Facebook have made an app so good that I often prefer using it over the actual "full blown" website! The app gives you access to updating your status, walls, photo uploading and tagging (for yourself and your friends), chat, searching for/adding friends, your inbox, commenting on status and photos, and plenty more. I use Facebook more than any other app, hands down.
The Facebook icon on the springboard has a badge similar to Mail or SMS that lets you know you have friend requests or messages waiting - however, since these updates can't yet push to the iPhone in real time, the count is usually inaccurate until you refresh the app. Here's to hoping Apple gets around to giving us that push notification service sometime soon...
The home screen puts most of the common functions of Facebook all in the same place. By default your News Feed will be displayed, Notifications and Requests appear as tabs along the top of the interface (I love being able to search for, confirm, and add friends on the go). Just below it is a slick slider of filters for your news feeds - you can skim down the view to just recents for status updates, uploaded photos, top friend additions, groups joined and more.
Unfortunately, that's the limit of your interaction with those features of Facebook - I'd love to see future versions allow us to edit our Top Friends, create/join groups, create/attend events, and interact with Facebook Apps if possible (personally I think the Facebook Apps are a distraction on the website, so in many ways I'm relieved they aren't in iPhone's version). It would be awesome to see some kind of Loopt or Twitter-like location services built in to see which of your friends are around you and do things like schedule meetups. Overall, the interface is highly usable and the developers put a lot of obvious work into keeping things clean and uncrowded.
The app is free, but before you rush to the App Store I'd like to offer some words of wisdom... If you're a just a casual Facebook user, be warned: having Facebook in the palm of your hand has the very high potential of turning you into an addict! But even if you're already a hardcore Facebook user, this app will yield tons of social networking joy! Just remember to look up and participate in the real world occasionally, then you're set.