It took Facebook a pretty long time to get around to releasing an official Windows 8 app, so it’s not surprising that most Facebook users already have an app or ten. But which ones are worth keeping? And why?
You may have been one of many people waiting for all of the best official Windows 8 apps to arrive on the scene, but it’s worth noting that once these official apps do arrive, they don’t always make the best use of Modern (Metro) UI. In fact, you might be better off using one of the specially made alternatives. Let’s take a look at the best Facebook apps for Windows 8.
The Official Facebook Windows 8 App
Definitely, go grab the official Facebook app for Windows 8. It does everything it is supposed to in the way you’d expect it.
It really does look an awful lot like the Facebook website, however it also offers extra functionality when it comes to chatting with your friends. With the app, the chat integrates with Windows 8, allowing you to receive push notifications when you don’t have the app open, and to continue your chatting while you use other apps. However, there are many other ways to use Facebook chat on your desktop.
Obviously, the app is more integrated with Windows, too. This means you can make optimum use of your screen space and interact with other apps seamlessly. For instance, when you are viewing Facebook, you can download images for use on your lock screen or Windows profile picture. Conversely, images from your desktop can be shared in Facebook as a picture update, comment, in chat or as an attachment.
Mine For Facebook
Mine has a fantastic Windows 8 look about it, and is a great app to keep up with your nearest and dearest on Facebook. It really cuts out all the unnecessary parts of Facebook and leaves you with just the updates and photos.
Being able to choose a custom news feed for your desktop is nice too, as it lets you sift through your friends and pay attention just to your favourites. Of course, you could also do this using a Facebook friends list on the website, but this implementation means you have something specific just for your desktop.
Metro Social is an app with a great feel to it. It looks almost nothing like Facebook on the web, and yet includes everything you like seeing. It is uncluttered, and makes it easy to see the important information on any given page and to browse things like photos from your close friends. Take for example the following screenshot of the events view, which shows who is coming, details of the event and the map location. It’s pretty slick.
Facebook Forever is an app which tries to emulate the regular Facebook web experience. It has a very similar feel to Facebook on the web, but it also has useful buttons at the bottom of the screen for navigation. This is actually a huge plus over the new official Facebook client, as it leaves a lot more room for your news feed, allowing it to be wider and therefore look a lot better.
Vibe For Facebook
Vibe for Facebook possibly has the very best news feed view for Windows 8, in that it looks as Modern as it can while making the best possible use of space. Updates are either shown as a tiny text square, a longer link rectangle or a bright, big image. It really does look fantastic.
Facebook+ Lite is a very simple looking Facebook application that makes good use of the width of your desktop while maintaining the normal up-down scrolling you are used to in Facebook. It does this by using the right half of your desktop to show more details about any update you click on, letting you see all the comments for the update easily.
SocialNV is another horizontal-scroll app for Facebook, with yet another interesting take on the design. This app is bright and clear, with plenty of white space. The news feed shows as two rows of colourful content, with a different colour behind each short text update to make them stand out.
How The Apps Compare
Now that the official Facebook app for Windows 8 is here, you’ll probably want install on their computer — especially since it does such a great job of integrating chat and does everything in the exact way you are used to. This means there is little need for apps like Facebook+ Lite and Facebook Forever, no matter how great they are. They just look too much like the official client and don’t offer a lot more. If you want an alternative to Facebook’s official client, however, these two are perfect candidates.
The other apps all have a very different look to them, and so lend themselves to a future on your desktop alongside the official app. Depending on which app you like the look of best, Mine, Metro Social, Vibe and Social MV are different enough from the normal Facebook look and feel that you might still want them around.
Personally, I like to have a few different apps ready for different things. I also like to have pinned pages to different friends lists or other aspects of Facebook. So, sometimes it’s actually useful to have a number of these apps around.
Most of these apps have live tiles and push notifications, so they are all decent Facebook alternatives for Windows 8. Facebook finally jumping on the bandwagon is no reason to ditch these other apps. In fact, it really does highlight the fact that Facebook would rather offer a familiar view than really work with the Modern UI.
In the end, it comes down to your needs. My recommendation is, if you want:
- The most familiar Facebook experience: The Official Facebook App.
- The best Facebook app to fit Modern UI: Vibe.
Do you use a Facebook app on Windows 8? Which is your favourite?