Need an app for your iPhone that allows you to send images, videos, text, and other types of media in a secure, highly controlled manner? Facebook Poke and Snapchat both let you send messages that, like in Mission Impossible, self-destruct after a few seconds. Whether you use it for sexting, spycraft, or something else, we're not here to judge. We're just here to help you find the best app possible.
Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: User interface and design
Considering both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are meant to be used for not-safe-for-work exchanges, most users aren't as concerned with the looks of the app as they are with the privacy it provides. But once functionality is equal, interface matters again.
Facebook Poke's main menu consists of all the "pokes" -- or messages -- you've received. If you see an arrow next to a message, it means you've already watched it and it has expired. If you see a media type next to it, it's a poke you've yet to view. To view a poke, just tap and hold on it. You'll be able to see it for as long as the timer allows, and then it will be gone. If you accidentally let go, you can hold down on it again in order to continue viewing but once the time has elapsed, you won't be able to view it any longer.
Once you've viewed a poke you have the option to reply to it directly. Just tap the arrow next to it and choose the media type. Once you've started to create a poke, you can choose the length of time you want the recipient to be able to view the poke for.
That's really all there is to it. The settings menu doesn't have many options besides the ability to report users, view the help center, and log out. The app does what it's meant to do, and nothing more.
Snapchat's interface is not nearly as refined as Facebook Poke's. It's actually quite cheesy. The main message screen has a ghost background behind it that makes your retinas want to burn in their sockets. It's just not appealing as a static background. The camera interface isn't really any better as it features ugly blue borders and controls.
To take a photo within Snapchat, just tap on the camera icon and you'll be taken to the app's native camera. Just tap on the middle blue button with absolutely no description and a photo will be taken. You can also take a video with Snapchat easily by holding down on the middle blue area. Once you're done filming, just release.
Once you've taken your photo or video, Snapchat will allow you to add writing to it in many different colors. Here is where you can also change the time that the recipient will be allowed to view the photo or video from 1 to 10 seconds.
Anytime you receive any messages from Snapchat, you'll see them in the main home area. From here you can reply to them or view ones you haven't already viewed.
As far as user interface and design goes, Facebook Poke will be much kinder to your eyes than Snapchat.
Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Supported media types
Originally, Facebook's poking feature was a simple way to send minor requests for attention that were either cute or annoying depending on your point of view. For the Poke app, Facebook has expanded "pokes" to cover sensitive messages, photos, and videos that will self destruct after they're viewed.
Snapchat supports both photo and video but does not support plain text messages. The way you can get around this is to just write on a photo with your finger. This probably isn't a deal breaker for most unless you insist on sending your sexts, texts, or spy messages with actual written words.
If you're looking to use one of these services strictly for photo and video sharing, either will work. If you need the ability to send messages that can be controlled and destructed as well, Facebook Poke is the winner.
Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Privacy controls
Both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are obviously built with privacy in mind so it's odd that neither of them allow you to add passcodes to apps themselves . While messages do end up self destructing after a certain amount of time, that doesn't mean someone couldn't get ahold of your iPhone before you have the opportunity to look at a Poke or Snapchat message, or simply snoop through the list of expired messages.
That could prove awkward to say the least, and could cause considerable problems for some people.
Bewildering lack of passcodes aside, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are neck and neck when it comes to privacy. Both allow you to choose between 1 and 10 second increments and require the recipient to hold down on the video or image to continue viewing it. The timer does not stop once they start viewing it either so regardless whether they use all the time or not, when it's gone - it's gone.
Snapchat blocks screenshots for added privacy. (Though, if you're prepared and want to badly enough, you can photograph the screen with a second device). Facebook Poke doesn't block screenshots but will show the recipient a flash icon to notify them that the message has been captured.
This makes Snapchat more secure than Facebook Poke.
Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Cross-platform support
Facebook Poke is currently only available for iPhone, so if you've got friends on the Android or Windows Phone platform, you won't be able to send scandalous messages to them until Facebook ports the app over.
Snapchat has an Android counterpart but does not currently support Windows Phone. If the people you plan to exchange pictures and media messages with own either an iPhone or any kind of Android device, you should be able to share protected messages with them without a hitch.
Victory to Snapchat. For now.
Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: The bottom line
Let's face it, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are both made for people that plan to send media that they don't want spread around. This basically means they'll be used for sexting purposes more than anything else.
Snapchat originated this type of app, and if your significant other uses an Android phone (what's that about?), it's currently your only choice.
Facebook blatantly ripped off Snapchat, but has the power of their huge social graph behind it, a better looking interface, and support for text messages. If you're an iPhone only couple, Poke wins.