Facebook Review

Ever since this writer was in high school, Social Media has been on the rise.  Back then, it was Myspace.  That soon evolved and everyone moved to Facebook, which was originally made for college students only.  However, as it evolved, more and more people, young and old, began to take part in it.  There have been countless social media web sites spawn since then, from Facebook to Twitter to Google Plus and others.  Nearly everyone in today’s world takes part in social media, in some form.

Out of all of the different ways and sites for this, though, Facebook still reigns supreme as the social media platform with the most people, hits, and more.  Facebook is something that everyone knows of, even if they don’t have an account there to be social or advertise their business.  It is also one of few social media services that has its own app for the PlayStation Vita, along with Twitter and Sony’s own social service.  After being around for so long, how does Facebook work on the PlayStation Vita?  Is it user-friendly or hair-pulling?  Here is our official review of the Facebook app for the PlayStation Vita.

Functionality

Functionality is an important thing for Social Media, but is also oftentimes a downfall to those apps, especially when compared to how those apps function compared to how they do in a web browser.  It is often many months, or even longer until an app for a social media service can do everything the PC version of it via Web Browser can do. These are not only small features, but rather important ones.  So, when looking at an app like this, you must take a look at what the most crucial features of the service are and whether or not the app can do it.

When you first log into Facebook on the app, you are given a screen with your Newsfeed, just as it does on PC.  You can scroll down and load more of the posts from your friends and anyone else you like or follow that appears in your newsfeed.  It tells you what you need to know, like the time it was posted, avatars for the poster, how many likes and comments it’s gotten, as well as a sizeable preview of everything that is posted there.  You can select any of these to leave a Like or Comment.

You have three ways of posting in the Facebook app, Status, Photo, or Check-In.  The “Status” option just allows you to put in some text for a status message and this is pretty simple to do.  If you just want to say something quickly, this is an easy option to do.  The “Photo” option allows you to upload a photo or screenshot that is saved on your PlayStation Vita to Facebook, along with making a post and writing a caption or description along with it.  Note that any photos uploaded in this manner will default to the “Mobile Uploads” Album.

Finally, the “Check In” option allows you to show your friends where you are.  It lets you put in a status messages as well as a location that you can write yourself, though Facebook also helps you with finding that location as you type it in.  This is mostly for things like “Hey, I’m here with this person” sort of thing that has gotten quite popular on Facebook, as of late.

Other than making posts, there’s a good amount that you can do.  One thing you cannot do, though, is adjust your settings.  When you open up the Settings tab, you get a screen that tells you account settings must be managed from the Facebook web site.  As such, it offers an Okay option that will take you to that web site, so you can adjust those settings.  But, as far as the app is concerned, there are no settings to change from within it.

Other pages and sections you can see is a list of your Friends, your Personal Messages, your Photo Albums, the Search Feature, and the Home Page, both for your newsfeed and for your own profile.  These are all pretty robust and functional, to a point.  The Photo section is great if you want to view any of your photos.  However, that is all you can do.  You can view photos, like and comment on them, but you cannot do anything to edit or delete them.  That also has to be done from Facebook’s main web site.  The Messages section is pretty simple as well.  You can respond to messages or make new conversations, but there’s not much else to do there.

The Friends section is a little more user-friendly.  When you first open it, you have them all listed in alphabetical order.  They also have the person’s profile picture right next to the name, which can be selected to open up their profile.  There is also a very intuitive way of navigating through these friends if you want to quickly find one that’s pretty far down the list that I’ll explain in another section of the review.

There are also some out-of-app features for it, built into the PlayStation Vita system.  In Settings, you can set your Vita to automatically make posts on Facebook when you buy something on the PlayStation Store, rate something there, or earn a trophy in a game.

A final feature that is available on any page or section of the app is the Notifications Icon, that looks like an Earth.  It lights up and has a red number when you receive a notification, whether it be a Friend Request, Comment, Like, or something else.

As far as features go, it has most of the important features a Facebook app needs, though accessing settings or being able to edit photos is something that could use some upgrading.

Interface

An app’s interface is important to the user.  You want things to be able to be navigated with ease as well as having access to the most important features at almost any given time.  Facebook does this well, but at the same time, it does some things not-so-well.  Let’s first get a brief description of the interface within the app’s environment.

When you first open the app, most of your buttons will be across the top and right side of the screen.  Across the top will be your profile picture, used to open your profile.  There are also buttons for the various status messages as well as buttons to tap for your Home Page, Notifications, Search, Settings, and how you wish to sort your newsfeed, defaulted to Most Recent.

Along the right side of the page are buttons that can be hidden, which go to Photos, Messages, Friends, and your Newsfeed.  At the bottom-right corner of the screen there is a button that is available on every page/section of the app, which mostly gives you the option to refresh the screen to show current posts, likes, and comments.  Along with that, you can like or comment a post by tapping a Plus symbol next to a post.  Then, you can choose to either like it or Comment on it.

The Interface has what it needs and does what it does pretty decently, though there are some issues with using it, as I will explain in the next section.

Performance

Performance is a very important aspect of an app.  PlayStation Mobile has a big problem with that, given how long it takes for the PlayStation Vita to load that client.  For Vita apps, though, fast loads are something that’s expected.  With Facebook, that is not a problem, but that is not to say the app is completely void of issues.  There are some things that bring the app down, and other things that bring it up.

First off, it doesn’t take long to load.  If you’re first starting up the app without previously being in it for the day, then it will take about 7-10 seconds to load up and get you to your Newsfeed.  This is a little more than, say, the iOS version of Facebook loads, but it isn’t a bad time for the loading.

The main plus of this app is the fact that you can enable automatic postings for PlayStation Network and Trophy features.  This is something that is only done on PlayStation consoles, and it a really handy feature to show your friends on Facebook what games and movies you’re buying on the PlayStation Network as well as how you’re liking them, or disliking them.

Another convenience is navigating through your Friends List.  When you pull up that list, there will be a Magnifying Glass with an “A” inside of it.  If you hold down this, it will bring up a list of them for every letter.  Going to a Friend far down the list is a simple slide to their letter, making finding them much faster than it would be, otherwise.

Browsing through posts and commenting on them is pretty simple and runs well, though the lack of an ability to delete or edit comments can be problematic.  It really makes you stop and think more carefully when you’re typing out comments before you post them.  That is, unless you want to have to go to your PC to edit them on the main web site.

One of the biggest downsides of this app is that it is 100% Touch.  While some apps can be controlled with the buttons on the PlayStation Vita, Facebook relies completely on the touchscreen.  For the most part, this isn’t bad.  However, some of those buttons, like those at the top of the screen for Notifications, Searching, and Settings, are very small and hard to enable with a single tap.  I’ve had to tap them multiple times before to get the right one working.

Overall

All in all, the Facebook app for the PlayStation Vita has everything a Facebook app needs, as well as some pretty neat PlayStation Network-included features to help you spread word of trophies and games.  The app’s interface can be troublesome at times, and there are a lot of features that are long overdue to be added, but if you want Facebook on the Vita, you’ve got a pretty decent way to do it.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Facebook a 7.5/10.

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