After years of rumors and speculation, Facebook finally announced its entry into the smartphone space last week. But it didn’t unveil its own hardware, or operating system, like a lot of folks were expecting. Instead, it showed off Facebook Home, a software shell for Android.
As you’d expect, feedback following the announcement has been filled with mixed emotions. Luckily, Facebook lifted the embargo on tech journalists last night, allowing them to publish their full reviews of Home to help give folks a better idea of what it’s all about…
As usual, we’ve put together a roundup of reviews from around the web in order to give you an idea of what people are saying about it. Obviously, these are just excerpts from 2000+ word write-ups, so we recommend following the links to the full reviews to get the complete picture.
AllThingsD: Facebook Gets a Hold on Phones
“I found Facebook Home to be easy to use, elegantly designed and addictive. Although I’m a regular Facebook user, I found that, with Home, I paid more attention than ever to my news feed, Liked items more often and used Facebook’s Messenger service more often. So, if you are a big Facebook fan, Facebook Home can be a big win…
…Facebook Home is a very clever and very well-done product that will delight Facebook fans. If you aren’t in that category, or prefer the standard Android user interface, it won’t be right for you.”
SlashGear: Facebook Home Review
“Nonetheless, in its first iteration, Facebook Home doesn’t quite hit the spot. It feels like it should have been a beta; indeed, Facebook was keen to point out at its launch event that it’s definitely a work-in-progress. The problem is, Facebook hasn’t taken baby steps: it wants to be your new Android homescreen, and anything from third-parties is basically lost or hidden in the process.
Factor in things like the complete lack of support for widgets and the inability to tailor who gets included in Cover Feed, and Facebook Home stumbles out of the gate. As a result, it’s difficult to recommend it to anybody other than those solely committed to Facebook.”
CNET: A promising ‘Home’ for the Facebook obsessed
“Facebook Home isn’t for me personally, but it is free to use, and just as easy to disable as it is to install. If you think you might like Home, there’s no harm in trying it out, at the very least to explore the great Chat Heads messenger concept, and to have fun interactively “liking” a few updates and navigating around. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new about your friends along the way.”
The Verge: Facebook Home Review: are people more important than apps?
“I don’t know if Facebook will reach its target audience with Facebook Home. Although Chat Heads are great, the Home experience itself simplifies app management to a fault. I fully recognize that most people don’t give their homescreens much thought and don’t invest much time in customization, so it’s entirely possible that I’m off the mark and there’s enough functionality here for casual smartphone users — but I don’t think I am.”
Engadget: Facebook Home Review
“Facebook Home isn’t perfect, nor will it convince many non-Facebookers to start Liking and commenting with reckless abandon. But it’s aesthetically pleasing, and surprisingly polished for a 1.0 product. Besides, if you download it onto an existing phone through the Play Store, it’s free to use and easily removable, which might give the software broad appeal from the get-go.”
And here’s a few video reviews for good measure:
Some sites also have reviews up of the HTC First, the first handset to come with Facebook Home pre-installed. But since it’s just a mid-level Android device, we didn’t include them. It’s worth noting, though, that reviewers say Home runs well on it, despite its mediocre hardware.
In fact, that seemed to be a recurring theme among reviewers: that Home runs very smoothly, and looks great. But in the same turn, they also all seemed to agree that due to missing core features, it’s impossible to recommend Home to anyone but diehard Facebook users at this point.
That being said, Facebook as said that it plans to update its Home software on a monthly basis. So don’t write it off just yet.
Now that you’ve read some of the reviews, what do you think of Home? Is Facebook on the right track?