Facebook has been making strides into the instant messaging market, and Facebook Messenger is its standalone app for those who want to chat without the distraction of timelines and all the other Facebook paraphernalia.

Long-established on iPhone and Android, it’s only since version 7.0 that Facebook Messenger has embraced the iPad properly, taking full advantage of its increased screen real-estate. This redesign aside, the different versions share the same broad look and work in a similar fashion too.

You can keep up with recent contacts, search for people to initiate conversations with and even set up groups for collective chats. The app also supports VoIP calling for voice chats too.

Posting is as simple as tapping in some text, or you can step things up and send smileys, photos and even recorded snippets of audio.

The app itself will appeal mostly to those Facebook chat addicts who want fewer distractions and a simpler, most focussed user interface, although the fact you can’t hide the left-hand pane in the new iPad version will annoy those used to being able to focus in on a single chat window in the phone version.

Messenger is a simple idea executed well, developed from an app Facebook bought three years ago and ultimately is worth installing if you love chatting with others through Facebook’s own IM network.

New in version 7.0:
- All-new native iPad app.
- Videos shot in Messenger can now be saved to your camera roll.
- Reliability fixes.

Verdict

A wonderful messaging system that combines the best elements of picture messaging, Facebook chats and SMS into one handy communication tool.