I’ve been pretty satisfied with the Facebook app for Android, but I recently learned about an app called FriendCaster that is an alternate. In addition to being available for Android, both the smartphone and Honeycomb tablet versions, it is also available for the iPad, although for my brief review I have only tried the app on Android.
One noticeable difference between FriendCaster and the official Facebook app is the inclusion of ads at the bottom of the app. You can buy the Pro version of FriendCaster for $4.99 that eliminates the ads, and if I were to chose to continue using the app I would strongly consider purchasing the Pro version as the ads seem to be larger are more intrusive than with other Android apps.
If you frequently access Facebook fan pages and would like to do so from your phone, FriendCaster may be the best solution for you. A limitation of the official Facebook app is that it doesn’t provide access to Pages, but they are an option in FriendCaster. I like how FriendCaster separates pages you like from pages that you manage, which makes it easy to quickly access any pages that you might manage in Facebook.
Another feature that FriendCaster does a better job of supporting than the Facebook app for Android is Groups. Facebook is in the process of changing the format for groups and the official Android app only shows Groups in the new format. FriendCaster continues to show groups in the old format.
While FriendCaster supports all of Facebook’s features, Chat requires an additional app be installed on your phone called FriendCaster Chat. If it is not installed and you tap the Chat icon the Android Market loads so that you can install the app. The official Facebook app has built-in support for Chat.
FriendCaster seems to be a little sluggish at updating the news feed on my Nexus S. I suspect that it is using up a fair amount of memory and the performance is likely better on newer phones that have faster processors and more memory. I like how you can swipe left and right to switch between the different news feed filters in FriendCaster, and I wish this was something the official Facebook app provided.
Overall, I think FriendCaster is a pretty solid alternative to the app that Facebook provides. The biggest draw backs for me are the ads, which can be removed, and the lack of built-in support for Chat. If you find yourself disliking the app that Facebook provides for Android, you might want to try FriendCaster.