Samsung ChatON: A Full Review

ChatON was an IM client for Samsung phones

The Samsung ChatON app is discontinued. The following review remains for reference:

Apps like Whatsapp and Viber are growing on the net, and the model of having an integrated instant messaging app bundled with handy features is working so well that Samsung, the mobile hardware giant, has entered the app competition. ChatON, Samsung’s IM app for smartphones is well built, rich in features, and already quite popular. It still has to achieve the snowball effect that others have made because, despite the great features in the app, one decisive factor in choosing your IM is the amount of buddies you have using them.

Despite the number of instant messaging apps for smartphones on the market, Samsung has put the necessary ingredients in ChatON that drives among the most widely accepted – it is one of the most popular IM apps in Europe and the US.


  • Free app with many features.
  • Smoother and more human communication with some unique features
  • Supported on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Bada, and even Windows PC.
  • With one account, one can communication through different devices.


  • No native voice or video call feature.
  • Needs registration with a user ID, and does not work with your phone number.
  • No possibility to call GSM mobile or landline numbers even paid.


ChatON is here to invade, but that is going to be somewhat tough with competition like WhatsApp and Viber. It has reached 120 countries and is available in not less than 68 languages. It is already among the most popular apps in the US and Europe but still has some way to go to dethrone WhatsApp is home Asia. The invasive factor implies it being available for major platforms: Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod), BlackBerry, Nokia, as well as for Windows PC.

The app does not work any better on a Samsung device than on a non-Samsung device. There is an issue of compatibility with past (not to say older) operating systems with ChatON. For instance, it runs only on Windows 8, while most desktop Windows users run 7. Maybe we should add proactive together with invasive.

Getting Started

Go to the download page and download the app according to your device. The file is relatively bulky, but the bulk is worth what it offers, especially bearing in mind that it offers nice imaging and voice features, as we see below. You can use the app on five different devices simultaneously, which keeps you connected nearly everywhere you can be every day or at night.

You need to register with an account – one with a username and password. Here, it does not follow the WhatsApp and Viber model, where your phone number is your main and only credential, making the app incorporate seamlessly into your smartphone. The registration isn’t that straightforward, as it requires you to activate your account through a verification code that you receive through messaging. This account is actually not a ChatON account, but a general Samsung account, which identifies you through Samsung Apps and other Samsung services as well.

Now the fact that it does not take your phone number can also be an advantage – you can use it on your PC or tablet without a SIM card. Your contacts are automatically updated, that is ChatON detects who of your friends are using ChatON and adds them to your contact list. Note that, as with other apps and services of the kind, you can communicate only with people using this same service. The interface of the app is well designed and simple. You should be able to get started straight away without much help by just tapping here and there for some minutes. The app requires a constant connection and works with Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G.


Since it is an instant messaging app, ChatON gives you smooth IM with your buddies. You can chat one to one and also in groups, with the possibility of sharing pictures, office documents etc. It also adds some unique features to that.

The app allows you to send animated messages, which many users like. Well, it is a silly and often useless feature (to my taste at least), but what it gives and what it conveys is interesting. It adds the human touch to messaging. It allows you to share feelings and emotions in a more effective and fun way. It works like that: you take a picture or you start one; you add drawing features to it, either through freehand drawing or by dragging widgets and decorations. The drawing, painting and animation tools are available within the app itself. The sequence of your gestures is recorded into an animated file, which you can send. When you contact receives the file, they can watch the sequence. You can, of course, use this feature more as creatively as you can get, and more productively.

ChatON also allows sending recorded voice messages, making your chat sessions like walkie-talkie communication. You can record a voice message and send it over in your chat session. Your contact listens to it once it is received. They can do the same. This way, text chat is substituted with voice, without however turning the session into a voice call session.

ChatON has something it calls the Trunk, which is actually the space where it saves all the images and other stuff that you have shared within your chat sessions. This way, there is no need for you to save your files – they are all up there for retrieval at any time.

Presence management is great – with easy status updates and sharing. There is even an interaction management feature, which gives you an indication on what they call the “activation rank”, which is a measure of how much and how often you communicate and share with one contact. This gives you an idea on who gets most of your attention, and who cares most, things that can be helpful both socially and in business.

What's Missing

There is one thing that I deem important, that’s missing in the app. It does not give you a message delivery notification, whereas, in some other apps, you could see things like “Typing…”, or “Sending…”, or “Sent” or any other sign of delivery. This is quite helpful in cases where connection plays tricks.

Finally, ChatON lacks the voice and video call feature. As does WhatApps, which is nevertheless quite popular. Why would one need a voice and video chat in an instant messaging app? For those who want video chat, there is an add that can be installed called ChatOn V over the basic app. At the time I am writing this, this app is available only for Samsung Galaxy S4 devices.