So on 12th April, Facebook launched ‘Facebook Home‘ to the public and Android users can start to install it on their devices (Only high end HTC and Samsung devices are supported for now).
From the Play Store description:
Facebook Home is the mobile experience that puts your friends at the heart of your phone. From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos on your home screen. Upfront notifications and quick access to your essentials mean you’ll never miss a moment. And when you download Facebook Messenger, you can keep chatting with friends when you’re using other apps.
So here’s what we think about the new launcher by Facebook that takes over your Android device front and center.
The cover feed is amazing. Since it’s the first thing we see everytime we activate the lockscreen, we realised that we tend to spend more time looking at the photos posted by our friends on Facebook more than before. Spending more time basically means we Like more photos and commented on more photos than we ever did when all the updates from our friends were hidden inside the Facebook app.
We can double tap anywhere on the screen to Like that particular post and it’s very convenient. Now we wish our friends upload more hi-res photos so our lockscreen looks nicer.
Our profile picture is located at the bottom of the screen and can be toggled by single tapping on the cover feed. That rounded photo of ours acts as a slider whereby we can slide to top to bring up the apps shortcuts/drawer and swipe left of right for Facebook and recently opened apps. The animation is very smooth and we didnt experience any lag or jerk before. One thing we hope Facebook will add in the future is shortcut to camera. For now, we need to bring the app shortcuts out and if we don’t put the camera icon there, we’d have to swipe to the right to bring up the app drawer and then slowly scroll to find the camera icon.
The app shortcut ‘screens’ are too simple and doesnt utilise the full space on the screen. At the top are 3 Facebook buttons to update status, upload photo and check in. Below it are app shotcuts which we can customize. We hope Facebook will add folders there and probable use up the whole screen instead of leaving empty spaces at the top and bottom of the app shortcut panel.
ChatHeads are awesome. Facebook Chat and SMS are now integrated and the photo of the friend pops out when they send us a message. The ChatHeads can be slided to anywhere at both sides of the screen. Again, animation is very smooth. It can be considered as the most attractive feature in this Facebook Home feature (though you can still use this feature without installing Facebook Home. You just need to install the latest version of Facebook Messenger).
Check out this video below for detailed review and how you can get Facebook Home to install on your phones (since it’s not available for Malaysia/Singapore yet)
We think it’s a nicely done launcher which brings Facebook newsfeed content to the lockscreen/homescreen of the phone. Perfect for people who spends most of their time on Facebook. This is the first version and there are many features that we need which we hope Facebook will add to Facebook Home.
If you ever install this on your phone, we suggest you enable ‘show status bar’ in the settings which will permanently show the status bar on top of the screen. If you dont, it’s very difficult to check out notifications as Facebook Home only shows you notifications from Facebook and not any other apps on your phone like Whatsapp or Email.