Features & Use
Facebook Messenger is quite simply your Facebook inbox and Facebook chats rolled into one, meaning that you can send and receive messages to your friends in realtime regardless of whether they are online or offline.
Wait, so that's it? Yes, for the most part. All Facebook is trying to do here is separate the messaging function from its main social networking app, something which makes a lot of sense at first glance.
The whole messaging process is much smoother and more reliable than with the main application. You can also share your position with your chat partners on a map (warning: this feature is enabled by default). There is also the option of forming group chats and sharing pictures.
When you are signed in with Facebook Messenger (some users have complained of being online unknowingly 24/7), your Facebook friends can see that you're online, but a small cell phone icon will appear next to your name. This can prevent any misunderstandings and lets your friends know that you're using your smartphone and may not be able to reply instantly.
But nobody's perfect and Facebook Messenger has got its own fair share of problems that can drive anyone up the wall.
For starters every single time you receive an incoming message you'll get a notification signal. Now this isn't a huge deal if you're phone is on vibrate, but it can make your life a living hell if your phone's volume is all the way up.
Everyone of us has those pesky Facebook friends that are addicted to chatting and send you a ton of meaningless messages every day. With Facebook Messenger it's impossible to ignore the constant beeping and flashing of your phone. Anything short of shutting down the app or phone will not solve your problem. Be prepared to endure moments of embarrassment as your life become inundated with constant communication.
Facebook Messenger lacks the opportunity to adjust your notification settings individually. You can set up a quiet mode for an hour or day, but there is no way to create a "notification-free zone" for a specific period of time i.e when you're at work or at a concert.
Unlike Google Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger is totally crap on 2G networks. Should you ever happen to be using EDGE, communicating with the outside world becomes a joke. It's basically impossible to send or receive messages. What a nightmare!
Here's a short rundown of all the other drawbacks: incomplete synchronization with your existing contacts, no personalization options for the chat window, not all file sharing supported and no homescreen shortcuts.
Nevertheless it's important to keep in mind that all of these functions are extras and not really at the heart of what this app is about.
The last and most important aspect of this app is the battery usage. Finally, there is some good news to report because Facebook Messenger performed just as well as WhatsApp. Just make sure to sign out of the regular Facebook app or you'll receive double the amount of messages and have less battery life.
Facebook Messenger has a lot of potential and has been a hit among Android users. Whereas WhatsApp boasts over 10 million downloads in its history, Facebook Messenger has reached that mark in just two months. Now that's impressive!
Hopefully, their early success won't prevent them from making the necessary improvements. All I can say is - WhatsApp is in real danger of becoming obsolete.
Screen & Controls
The layout of Facebook Messenger is good and, honestly, that's all there is to say. Everything is kept in the traditional blue and white colors and looks just like the regular Facebook app. Nothing special, although it would have been nice to have the possibility to swipe between contacts.
Speed & Stability
Again, I can't complain enough about the problems related to using Facebook Messenger on slower networks. The app just can't handle it and everything stops working.
Other than that, the messenger runs smoothly and without any issues despite hours and hours of chatting.
Facebook Messenger is available for free from the Android Market and does not come with any ads.