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App turns iPad into Facebook photo album

The free Facebook Photo Album app does just what its name suggests, though you can view only so many photos before you're asked to pay.

In the album view, four photos are presented on each page. You can swipe between pages and tap on a photo to see a larger or full-screen version of it. Matt Elliott/CNET

While iPad owners still await the arrival of a Facebook app, your choices for Facebooking on the iPad boil down to using third-party apps or accessing the site through Safari. For the specific purpose of viewing and commenting on Facebook photos, there's a new app that lets you browse your or your friends' photos as if you were flipping through an old photo album. Let's take a quick spin through the free and appropriately named Facebook Photo Album app, which was released only last week.

After launching the app for the first time, you'll be asked to enter your Facebook login info and then allow access to the app. The app lets you view four pictures on a page, whether you're in landscape or portrait mode. You can swipe to go to the next page, and if you tap on a photo, you can view a larger image of it inside a digital photo frame. In settings, you can select from five different frames and can also choose white or black pages for the album view. From the photo frame view, tap on the small four-arrows icon in the upper right corner and you can view full-screen versions of photos.

You can view slideshows in a digital photo frame. Matt Elliott/CNET

In the four-photos-per-page album view, there are two small buttons--My Friends and My Photos--at the top that let you view all of of friends' photos, some of your friends' photos, one friend's photos, or your own photos. Each photo in the album shows you the author's comment along the top (if there is one) and the name of who posted the photo in the lower-right corner. In the lower-left corner of a photo is a number, representing the number of comments (if there are any). Tap on the number to read the comments, add your own, or like the photo.

After tapping on a photo, you can start a slideshow, setting the duration each photo stays on the screen and adding Ken Burns effects, if you so desire. Next to the Slideshow button at the top is a Hide button, that lets you hide the photo or all from that particular Facebook friend. By default, you are shown photos from all of your Facebook friends, even those who you may have blocked from your news feed. You can also hide photos in the album view by tapping the black X in the upper-right corner of a photo. Lastly, you can e-mail or save a copy of a photo to your iPad by hitting the arrow button in the upper-right corner of the photo-frame view.

The album view also handles square Hipstamatic and Instagram photos without issue. Matt Elliott/CNET

Photos are arranged chronologically. A timeline runs along the bottom, letting you know how far back you've drifted. Unfortunately, you'll reach the end of the timeline after 20 pages (80 photos), at which point you'll be asked to pony up for more pages. It costs $0.99 for 100 more pages, $1.99 for 300 pages, $2.99 for 1,000 pages, and $5.99 for unlimited pages. You can always drill down deeper into a friend's photos by choosing to view one friend at a time.

The app is free... up to a point. Matt Elliott/CNET

The app is fairly quick at loading images, though occasionally you'll find yourself waiting a few seconds for photos to populate a page. Still, you can't beat the entry cost (read: free) for a quick and easy way to browse and comment on Facebook photos from your iPad. Even the add-on costs seem reasonable, should you come to rely on the app to stay up to date with Facebook imagery.

Via AppAdvice