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Facebook Messenger Beta review: Catching up with iOS and Android

Facebook closed the feature gap for its Windows 10 app with the new Messenger beta.

Messenger Beta Windows 10
(Image: © Windows Central)

Facebook first shipped a Messenger app on Windows 10 years ago, but it rarely receives meaningful updates and quickly fell behind its counterparts on iOS and Android. The new Facebook Messenger Beta recently became available to select users and bridges the gap between Messenger on Windows 10 and other platforms. It has an attractive dark mode, support for modern Messenger features, and will continue to receive updates going forward.

Messenger (Beta) for Windows 10 still lacks a few features, like searching for content within messages, but provides the best Facebook Messaging experience on Windows 10. The app is still in beta, so I'll skip the star review, but here are my thoughts after using it.

Feature parity

Facebook Messenger beta logo

Facebook Messenger beta logo (Image credit: Facebook)

Messenger (Beta)

Free (opens in new tab)

Bottom line: Messenger (Beta) is the best Facebook Messenger experience on Windows 10. It has a dark mode, support for new features, and a fresh, clean look.

Pros:

  • Fresh, clean look
  • Has an attractive dark mode
  • Near feature parity with iOS and Android versions
  • Will continue to get updates

Cons:

  • Scaling feels janky
  • Doesn't support searching content within messages yet

What you'll love about Messenger (Beta)

Facebook Messenger Beta 1

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Messenger (Beta) on Windows 10 feels like a modern port of the iOS and Android versions of Messenger, and that comes with a lot of good and a little bad. The app is powered by Electron, meaning that when Facebook updates Messenger, the updates push across different operating systems. For example, Messenger (Beta) on Windows 10 benefits from updates to the macOS version of Messenger (Beta). As a result, this app feels much more modern than the old Messenger app. For example, this version of Messenger can permanently delete messages, can send files, and has updated emoticons. While the older app was also a port, it felt like it was ported once and abandoned. This new Messenger app not only feels better, but it also seems like it will receive meaningful updates in the future.

In terms of actually using the app, it's fine. I don't know how much you can really say about a Messenger app when it does its job. My messages sent well and got delivered quickly. It just feels like I'm using an up to date version of Facebook Messenger. I like the look of Messenger (Beta) and love that it has options for light, dark, and grey modes.

What you may dislike about Messenger (Beta)

Facebook Messenger Beta settings

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Some people hate Electron. I don't hate it, but it does have some drawbacks. Messenger (Beta) takes up a surprisingly large amount of RAM, which is a normal issue for Electron apps. When I was messaging one person, or even when the app was idling, it took up 500-612MB of RAM at any given time. My system has a fair amount of RAM, so it doesn't really affect things, but I'd love to see that number go down.

Another noticeable difference is that resizing Messenger's window feels janky. Elements jump, rather than moving smoothly or appearing fluidly as more room becomes available for the app. I can't say for sure if this issue is connected to Electron, but other Electron apps on Windows present a similar problem. In comparison, native UWP apps scale and resize fluidly and feel as smooth as silk.

A few features are missing in Messenger (Beta) right now, like searching for contents within messages, but I think these will come in time. The nature of this app makes it seem much more likely that feature gaps will close in the future.

On the Windows side of things, notifications are not actionable, which is disappointing. It's odd that this feature isn't available since Facebook Messenger supports it on other platforms.

Should you use Messenger (Beta)?

Facebook Messenger Beta 2

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you use Facebook Messenger, I think it's worth grabbing Messenger (Beta). It looks nice, works well, and has features that the older version of Messenger for Windows 10 doesn't. I also think it will get better over time, so you probably aren't investing time in a dying app.

I'd love to see resizing the app's windows become smoother, and some features are still missing, but I think this is the best overall Facebook Messenger experience on Windows 10.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

3 Comments
  • It is slow as molasses. It takes far too long to start up and there are often huge lags in transmission. And there's no live tile.
  • I didn't run into any of those issues when I tested it. It doesn't have a Live Tile which is too bad, but it ran fine for me otherwise.
  • it does take a long time to start and if you using touch, you will have a horrible time. App does not snap to edges, there are no touch keyboard suggestions, no swipe keyboard, using backspace is doing something weird and glitchy. Overall, worse than the forgotten current official W10 app.