Best Facebook phones
CNET UK Recommends
CNET UK recommends
To be fair, making a mobile today that couldn't access Facebook would be like making a car that couldn't use the fast lane. Almost every handset on the market has a widget, app or browser to feed your Facebook habit. However, while the best will whisk you to network nirvana, the worst can leave you chugging along the social hard shoulder.
Unsurprisingly, some of the most impressive Facebook phones are also the highest-powered smart phones. Apps for Android, Apple and BlackBerry devices let you do almost everything you can do on the Facebook website, except play games. It's easy to upload images, stalk -- sorry, check -- friends' walls, look up contact details, send messages and start a chat.
Apple and BlackBerry phones are particularly handy for Facebook fans as they send out push notifications -- alerts that flash up instantly on the screen when friends comment on your links or send you a message. A few other handsets can do the same, and the ability is likely to become much more common, especially after someone sets up a Facebook group called 'Push notifications for phones now!!!!!!!' Yes, with seven exclamation marks.
Many non-smart phones, even some of the very cheapest handsets, have made Facebook a central feature, with a home-screen widget that shows live updates and messages. These are great to use for now, but don't expect them to get updated with new features as often as real apps, if ever.
To get the most from Facebook, you'll want a screen that's large, colourful and sharp enough to view text, images and video clips. A slide-out or Qwerty keypad might help you type faster, although the latest capacitive touchscreens are almost as good.
Most importantly, you'll want a generous or unlimited data plan. An app or widget constantly checking Facebook might not use much data for each message, but 24 hours of updates can really add up, especially if you click on external links.
Facebook is all about sharing your life, and for lots of us that means photos and home movies. Look for a camera with a 3-megapixel or higher resolution, autofocus to keep your snaps sharp and preferably an LED flash so night-time shots don't look like a grainy 1920s coal-mining documentary.
On the video side, smaller clips (QVGA or VGA) are actually better than the sparkliest high-definition footage, if only because they upload so much faster. The best Facebook phones let you upload media straight from the camera application, sometimes with a single touch of a button.
Below are a few of the best Facebook phones on the market now, all of which have been picked out by CNET UK's very own Facebook phone gurus.
The INQ Chat 3G is surprisingly stylish for an inexpensive phone, and its Qwerty keyboard and simple user interface make it a doddle to use. But it's up against some stiff competition from the similar-looking BlackBerry Curve 8520, and, apart from its handy social-networking apps, it has few features Read more
Reviewed on 14 January 2010
Even though it’s now over a year old, Apple's iPhone 4 remains a fantastic device. The introduction of iOS 5 makes it even better, but if you can afford the additional expense, then it’s worth at least considering the superior iPhone 4S. Read more
Reviewed on 7 June 2010
The HTC Legend lives up to its name. It's fast, fun, and manages to be easy to use and full of potential at the same time. The HTC Desire, among other phones, offers a bigger screen, but the Legend's smaller size and lower price may prove more palatable to your pocket Read more
Reviewed on 8 March 2010
The Pearl 3G 9105 does exactly what it promises, offering all the features of a top-of-the-line BlackBerry in a small, candybar case. But BlackBerry devices are all about email and messaging, so we missed the full Qwerty keyboard of the Pearl 3G's siblings Read more
Reviewed on 27 May 2010
Motorola's Dext is a very solid Android smart phone with some fun social-networking features, but it looks rather dull and frumpy. Nevertheless, a speedy touchscreen and decent Qwerty keyboard mean it's definitely worth showing off, especially if you're a Facebook freak or Twitter addict Read more
Reviewed on 1 October 2009