Facebook for Android review: The best way to use Facebook on the go

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
  • Overall: 8.6
  • Installation and Setup: 10.0
  • Features and Support: 8.0
  • Interface: 8.5
  • Performance: 9.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Facebook for Android is fast and includes nearly all of the same features you'll find on the website.

The Bad You can no longer send messages with this app, and including a URL in your post does not automatically add a preview snippet.

The Bottom Line The official Facebook app is, without question, the best way to access the social network from your Android device.

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Editors' note, October 27, 2014: This review was updated to cover features added in the latest version of the app.

With faster performance than the mobile site and quicker access to your most-used functions, the official Facebook app is undoubtedly the best way to interact with Facebook from your Android device.

The app keeps getting better, with a fresh new design, improved sharing options and a feature that lets you find your friends who are nearby, so you can meet up easily.

Navigating your News Feed

In earlier versions of the app, the design was similar to Facebook's website, but in recent versions, that's all changed.

Instead of the earlier navigation buttons at the top of the screen for Status, Photo and Check In, there's now a row of five icons that'll take you to different parts of Facebook when you tap them. In order, they are News Feed, People, Messages, Notifications and More.

Just like the full website, the Facebook app opens up to your News Feed, where you can read, hit like and comment on posts. Scroll to the bottom, and your feed automatically reloads, so you can almost seamlessly continue to read old updates. At the bottom of the screen, you'll find options to share a new status or photo, or check in.

From your News Feed you can then swipe left to get to the other tabs. People shows a list of your friends and recommendations of who else to add as a friend, and Notifications shows comments, likes, and other updates. The More tab is where you'll find your Profile, Groups and Pages, Friends list, App Center, Account Settings and other features. Many of these functions you'll use, though some of them you won't want to use while on your mobile device. Still, it's nice to have access to it all, just in case.

Share your thoughts and photos

When you create a status update, the Facebook app lets you add text, tags, photos, and location. As of now, though, you can't add emoji. Also, if you try to add a URL to your post, the app will not add a preview of the linked site the way the Facebook website does, and that's disappointing. If you really want a preview, though, you can share the URL from your mobile browser to the Facebook app, and a preview will automatically be added. While it's certainly great that this workaround exists, the Facebook app should be able to add previews on its own.

facebook-android-news-feed.png
The app now has tabs to navigate to different sections, including your News Feed, notifications and inbox. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

In a recent update, Facebook is making it easier to share photos from your phone; just tap the Photo button on the News Feed to get started. Facebook will show you all of the photos on your phone, with the most recent ones at the top. Tap any and all photos you want to upload and you'll see a number on each image, which corresponds to the order in which it will be uploaded and displayed in your post.

Once you're done picking your photos, you can rearrange or delete them, add individual captions, tag friends, add a description to the entire photo set and decide who on Facebook gets to see them. If you want to add them to an album, you can do that too, but they'll get added to your Mobile Uploads album automatically.

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Where to Buy

Facebook (Android)

Part Number: com.facebook.katana
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

  • Category Social networking
  • Compatibility Android