WhatsApp Messenger App Review

Free Voice Calls and Instant Messaging to a Billion People Worldwide

WhatsApp Call
WhatsApp Call. Courtesy: whatsapp.com

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WhatsApp has become the most popular instant messaging app, connecting more than a billion people worldwide. These people, who most probably include you and me, can share instant messages and multimedia files for free, and more interestingly, can talk for free unlimited. The app works on nearly all smartphone models and is also available for computers, and works on Wi-Fi3G, and 4G networks.

 

Pros

  • It allows free phone calls to any WhatsApp user. 
  • It uses your mobile number to identify you, so no need to register.
  • Free SMS and MMS to other WhatsApp users.
  • Group text messaging.
  • Works on most smartphone models.
  • Most popular IM app around with more than a billion users

Cons

  • No video calls allowed.
  • Limited options with the instant messaging
  • Limited options with document sharing 

 

Review

WhatsApp is a simple and light app that installs without hassles on your smartphone. I tried on my Android device and it worked fine, showing no greed for resources, with an installation file of 6.4 MB. I gathered that the process of setting up and getting it running is more or less the same for all models of smartphones that it supports.

Once installed, you are presented with a greeting screen, asking you to continue. Then you enter your mobile phone number, which is the handle through which the service identifies you.

This saves you from having to log in each time with a username and password, and from even registering for the first time. You are sent an access code through SMS which you have entered as proof that you are the rightful owner and user of the phone number you entered. Then the app integrates your contact list and sorts out whom among your contacts are already WhatsApp users.

Now, why does it do that? You will like that it does it because the contacts that have already installed WhatApp on their smartphones are the only ones to whom you can send free SMS to, as the app can’t send free messages to non-WhatsApp users. So it helps to know right from the beginning who you will be contacting using your new app and who using your paid GSM texting.

The service is basically allowing free SMS and MMS messages to and from other WhatsApp users, locally and worldwide. So, if you want to save money on messaging, get your buddies to download and use WhatsApp too. WhatsApp is now shining with its free voice calls, although it came a bit late. With this, it has dethroned Skype and other VoIP apps to become the most popular worldwide. It also does a good job with the call quality. 

Speaking of bandwidth, text messaging consumes very little of it, unless you have the habit of swapping big image and video files, which is possible with WhatsApp. Using your Wi-Fi gets you everything free, but if you need real mobility, then you need a data plan. This app supports 3G and 4G networks. If you have one, then WhatsApp is really bound to make you save money on texting. The only inconvenient then would be to need to have all your contacts using WhatsApp.

What does WhatsApp cost? Nothing. Users used to have to pay for the second year onwards, but now this is removed. It is free unlimited. 

An interesting feature of WhatsApp is group chatting, where a group of people can share text messages. When one person in the group sends a message, everyone else in it receives it. Other features include the ability to email an entire chat conversation to contacts, the ability to have message pop up boxes, and emoticons. One feature worth noting here is the ability to take photos and record videos using your smartphone and send them directly as MMS using WhatsApp.

You can also send location information and maps with the app. You could, for example, send your current location or that of a good pizzeria you know in the vicinity.

Push notifications are allowed. These are messages you get in pop-ups when messages arrive. This means that the app runs silently in the background without hindering your normal phone usage.

WhatsApp has evolved into a high-privacy app, in that all its messages are encrypted end-to-end. This has made it one of the most secure apps, in theory. However, there are questions about it

WhatsApp works on many smartphone models including the iPhone, Android models, BlackBerry phones, Windows Phone and even Nokia phones, the latter being often left behind by other free SMS apps. To see whether your device is supported, check there. You can download the app from there.

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