One of the first things new users of the iPad notice is the curiously Facebook-shaped void in the AppStore. The eight-hundred pound gorilla of social networking has yet to release an official iPad app, and considering the Safari version of the site just doesn’t make use of the device’s real estate, this lack is a real drag. Thankfully, heaps of developers have stepped up to the plate, including Kent Nguyen creator of Hello.
Hello is a full-featured Facebook iPad app. The iPad app attempts to fill every void left by the lack of an official offering, and brings users the total Facebook experience—minus one important part, but more on that later.
When I took Hello out for a iPhone app review I made sure to do all of the things I usually do with the site’s desktop client: I hucked out a few inbox messages, checked my notifications, browsed the homepage, looked at posted videos and photos, and stalked some profiles. Hello performed admirably, almost without fail, in every regard. I did have a one-off issue connecting to my messages inbox, but after a quick reboot the problem was solved. Hello does offer everything you could want from a Facebook client, including events, groups, notes, and content sharing. However, there’s no Facebook chat here—at least not yet. For some that might be the deal breaker, but as I despise the service anyway, I wasn’t put off.
One of the first things I look for in an iPad Facebook client is top-notch design. With Facebook fully functional in Safari, an app that makes A+ use of the device’s large screen is a must. Thankfully, Hello has all guns blazing, offering a stellar layout. A bar along the top offers quick-links to every inch of Facebook, as well as a one-click status updater. The iPad app makes extensive use of pop-up menus for many aspects of Facebook, which I thought was a killer touch, keeping things streamlined and elegant, as well as intuitive.
The iPad app still has some wonky menus, or tiny touches that aren’t quite optimized yet. For example, the text box for an inbox message is too small for the screen, and navigating to profiles is a bit awkward. However, future updates will surely iron these tidbits out in no time.
So the final question is this: Is Hello worth the $2.99 entry fee? In the long run, I’d certainly say so. The app offers a unique interface (the navigation wheel is awesome) and full access to Facebook. If having a concise and optimized interface that works seamlessly is to your liking, three bucks is a fair price indeed.
Hello iPad app requires iOS 3.2 or later and is compatible with the iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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