It’s ugly, it comes with facebook messenger, and it’s fast.. Or is it
From out of nowhere Facebook has silently launched a new facebook app exclusively for Android.
Before you get too excited we should probably mention that the app is currently only on offer ( it’s free ) in 8 countries. What these countries has in common is that they are so called emerging markets in smartphone terms.
If you live in one of the following countries : Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Zimbabwe you could head on over to the Play Store and download it right now. If not you are going to have to wait until Facebook hopefully someday makes it available worldwide. A third option is to sideload it from a different source altogether.
If you are eager to find out little bit more before doing so just keep reading.
As I have already mentioned in the headline, it is a ugly beast of an app. I can only assume the need for speed is what made them not spend any time whatsoever making it look good. Also it is worth mentioning that this is Version 18.104.22.168.0 so we could be in for some better looking versions as development matures a bit.
With a download size of no more than 252K it’s no wonder fancy graphics did not find its way to this release.
According to the Official Facebook Lite,Google play page, the app has been specifically designed to be fast to install ( and at 252K it really does ) compared to the much bigger full version Facebook app which clocks in at a whopping 35 MB on my Galaxy Note 4. ( its size varies by device )
To find out if it really is as fast in use as they claim we are going to do a few tests to see how fast it loads compared to the standard facebook app.
To benchmark the difference in load times I turned of anything but my gsm data connection. This way we ensure the fastest possible connection is EDGE.
By taping the whole event I was able to find out exactly how long each of the apps took to load.
- Facebook Lite 9 seconds
- Facebook 6 seconds
After running the test a few times a strange pattern emerged. Facebook lite took longer to load and render the first page. I was baffled, so I decided it was time to dig deeper. This time I would find out how much data was transferred during the very same test.
- Facebook – 0.05 MB
- Facebook lite – 0.11 MB
Another shocking result keeping in mind how the Facebook Lite, Google play store page said it was designed to be efficient with data.
Thats when I started looking at the different feeds. I noticed that the Facebook Lite app displayed two or three posts while the standard Facebook app was showing just one.
Hopefully this explains why the Facebook Lite app appears to load slower and consume more data than the standard version.
At this point I must admit I am baffled. At this point in time I’m tempted to conclude the Lite version of the app is slower and consumes more data.
It comes with Facebook messenger
This really is the icing in the cake for me. I remember stalling for months before I finally decided to install the Facebook messenger app after they made it mandatory. I was getting tired of launching the website version on my phone just to see what someone had just sent me. If you hate having a separate app for messaging your facebook friends this could be the winning point for you.
Let me backtrack for a moment to the ugly part. The messenger does not show emoticons, so every time someone sends you a smiley face or any other emoticon you are going to end up with a few strange symbols in your chat window. If you can live with that, I suggest you go ahead and download right away.
Android fan bonus
By now we have become quite accustomed to the fact that most big apps find their way to iOS devices months before we see them appear on Android. Well, this is not the case this time. At the time of writing this, the Facebook Lite app can only be found on the Google play store.
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