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FriendCaster, a better Facebook app for Android

If you love Facebook but aren't so keen on its Android app, FriendCaster is probably the best replacement you'll find -- for now.

FriendCaster for Android. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Looking through the comments on the Google Play Store for the official Facebook app, you're likely to come across quite a few complaints. These will range from "loads way too slow," to "app crashes often," and finally "crashes phone." Unfortunately, comments like these have persisted throughout the last few versions of the app. That's why other apps exist to help you connect and share with friends on Facebook.

FriendCaster is a newly remodeled app that does everything the official app does and then some. You might wonder why to use an app at all if you can just use the Facebook Web site. Well, just give FriendCaster a try before writing it off. Here are some tips and highlights to get started:

First you'll want to grab a copy of FriendCaster for your Android device (there's also an iOS version available).

FriendCaster setup. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET
FriendCaster themes. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

When first opening the app, you'll need to sign in to your Facebook account. After signing in, FriendCaster will walk you through the setup. This is where you will choose if you'd like to receive push notifications, and set a color theme for the app.

FriendCaster main menu. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The first page of the app contains icons for each of the features in the app. These can be split across two pages and organized through the Edit option in the menu.

FriendCaster Newsfeed tab. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET
FriendCaster Wall tab. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Newsfeed and Wall tabs will look very similar to the official Facebook app. These tabs, along with the Album tab, will load very quickly in FriendCaster.

FriendCaster New Post pop-up. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET
FriendCaster Check-in pop-up. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

New Posts and Check-ins happen in a pop-up window within the app. This makes it easy to focus on what you're sharing without the page scrolling up or down.

Finally, the push notifications in this app are superhandy for noticing messages and birthdays. And if you're interested in checking out the best apps for tablets, take a look at Ed Rhee's post titled three better ways to Facebook on Android tablets