By Chris McKillon
I have been using the Facebook Blackberry app ‘Chit Chat’ on my Blackberry Curve 8520 for a while now and thought it was about time to write a full review of it. I am quite a heavy Facebook user, and the main reason I decided to install the Chit Chat application on my Blackberry was because I wanted to be able to chat to all my Facebook contacts that are signed in to Facebook chat, but during times when I wasn’t using a computer – such as when I am out in the park walking my dog, on the bus into town, or if I am ever stuck in a boring waiting room and there are no interesting magazines to read.
Before I go on too much further, I should mention here that I am also a somewhat experienced user of the Windows Facebook desktop version of Chit Chat – I have had that version installed on my laptop now for a good few months before I using Chit Chat for Blackberry for the first time, so I was surprised at how different it looked from the Windows PC version. Unlike Chit Chat for Windows, which is a pale blue colour and looks very similar to MSN chat in its appearance, the Facebook Chat Blackberry version is a very nice bright green colour.
I am not saying this like it’s a bad thing, though. In fact, in some ways I would say that the Blackberry version of Chit Chat is even easier to use and better-looking than the PC version.
The first thing that will happen when you install and run Chit Chat on your Blackberry is that it will ask you for your Facebook username and password – this can be confusing, and if you haven’t already set up a Facebook username (not to be confused with your email address login!) then you will need to do so before you can use Chit Chat. It is not hard to do, and if you haven’t already done it there will be instructions provided to help you get set up. In fact the only thing that I found really hard at this point was reading the absolutely tiny text when you log in! From there on in though it’s all pretty straightforward.
Once logged in, Chit Chat will take you to a simple green screen which displays a list of all your signed in Facebook buddies. I am on Facebook quite a lot so my list is rather big (!) but it was easy to scroll up and down it using the trackball on my Blackberry to see who was online. I noticed that it added new contacts at the bottom of the list, not by alphabetised surname or anything, but I suppose this makes more sense because this way you can easily check if anyone new has signed in.
As I work irregular hours compared to a lot of my friends (who are in 9-5 office jobs) it was good to be able to chat to them from out and about on my blackberry (while they’re stuck indoors!). The chat window was very easy and straightforward to use, and if you want, a notification noise will play for each new message you receive. I prefer to have my phone silent but it is not difficult to set this up, you just go into the preferences.
I have tried Chit Chat both outdoors and at home and found that it is as quick to use as on a PC. There doesn’t seem to be any noticeable lag between messages and some of my friends were even surprised when I told them I was outdoors. I also found it was easy and straightforward to have more than one chat running at the same time.
When you are done using Chit Chat, it’s also very easy to close down (unlike some other Blackberry apps I could mention!). To log out, you simply press the button next to the central trackball and it will give you the option to log out, or to run Chit Chat quietly in the background, which I also like to do sometimes so I can be surprised by a chat message later on when I’m bored.
Chit Chat does run down your Blackberry life a little, however it’s got no more impact really than most games I’ve played on my Blackberry. In summary, if you would like to be able to chat to all your Facebook chat buddies, but are not always able to access a computer then I would totally recommend Chit Chat for Facebook Blackberry as a cheap and easy way of keeping in touch with them.