WhatsApp vs. Viber

Comparing two game-changing messaging apps

WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and other cellphone apps on iPhone screen
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The widely used WhatsApp and Viber communication apps are so similar in services offered and in cost that your decision might just come down to whatever app your friends and family use. Here, we review what each offers.

Overall Findings

WhatsApp

  • Free to download.

  • End-to-end encryption.

  • Group and video calling.

  • Works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi.

  • Instant messaging, voice, and video calls to other users.

  • Transmission of photos, documents, spreadsheets, and audio and video clips.

Viber

  • Free to download.

  • End-to-end encryption.

  • Group and video calling.

  • Works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi.

  • Instant messaging, voice, and video calls to other users.

  • Transmission of photos, documents, spreadsheets, and audio and video clips.

Both offer everything you might want for secure communication and file sharing, so your best approach might be to download both on your smartphone and see which interface you prefer.

The Interfaces: Viber's Extras Make for Clutter

WhatsApp

  • Streamlined.

  • Emphasis on user-friendliness.

Viber

  • Lots of stickers and other features.

  • Can be a bit overwhelming.

Viber has a rich interface, but it looks cluttered. Viber has an overwhelming library of stickers that clutter and complicate the interface. If you are addicted to stickers, you'll prefer Viber. WhatsApp isn't into stickers. However, WhatsApp has a simple, clear interface that makes the user feel comfortable and gives the impression that everything is at hand.

Availability: Both Are Universally Supported

WhatsApp

  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.

  • Offers web interface.

Viber

  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.

  • Offers web interface.

  • Chrome extension available.

WhatsApp and Viber are both supported on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac platforms. In addition to the app availability, WhatsApp can be accessed as a web app on your computer, and Viber offers a Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store.

Voice and Video Call Quality: Equally clear

WhatsApp

  • Excels at reconnecting dropped calls.

  • Robust connection capabilities.

Viber

  • Long history of voice and video call service.

  • HD quality.

  • Can transfer calls between devices.

Voice call quality is an important consideration. Viber has offered voice and video calling for years and is more experienced at it than WhatsApp. Viber delivers HD-quality voices that are crisp and clear in high-bandwidth connections. With Viber, you can transfer ongoing calls between devices.

Voice quality has many aspects affecting it, apart from the services' codecs and perceived quality. One important factor is the network connection. In this respect, WhatsApp appears to be more robust, especially in re-establishing dropped calls. 

Viber and WhatsApp both offer video calls. There doesn't appear to be any advantage of choosing one service over the other for video calling.

Self-Destructing Messages: Should You Choose Not to Accept This Mission...

WhatsApp

  • Self-destructing function available only through third-party apps.

Viber

  • Option to set message- and video-destruction timer.

With Viber, you can start a secret chat and set a timer that deletes the message at the time specified. You can also set video messages to self-destruct a specified time after they are seen once.

WhatsApp doesn't have a self-destruct feature. If this is a dealbreaker for you, check out Kaboom on Google Play or Apple's App Store. You can write a message and set a timer in Kaboom and then "share" the message with WhatsApp. The downside? The recipient receives a link to Kaboom's online site to view the message, so the integration with WhatsApp isn't seamless.

Cost: Zero

WhatsApp

  • No fees to contact other members.

Viber

  • Stickers mostly free, but some cost money.

  • Can call any non-Viber cell or landline for a small fee.

  • No fees to contact other members.

Viber costs nothing to download and install. Viber-to-Viber calls and messages are free, no matter where the person is located. Calls to numbers that don't use Viber are made using Viber Out, a service that connects you anywhere in the world for a low fee.

Viber offers hundreds of decorative sticker packs for use when messaging, some of which are free and some of which cost money.

WhatsApp did away with its $1-a-year fee in 2016 and is now completely free to download and use for messaging, voice and video calls. WhatsApp uses your internet connection rather than a cellular connection to contact other WhatsApp members. WhatsApp Calling can place calls to phones worldwide. The only costs occur when you exceed your data limit.

Both offer:

  • Support for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows platforms on both mobile and desktop platforms as well as the web.
  • Group functionality. which could use improvement in both cases.
  • End-to-end encryption, so no one can see or hear your communications but you and the recipient.

Final Verdict

It's safe to say there are no losers here. As you can tell, these two apps are similar in services, features, security, and costs. Your choice will probably come down to personal preference for the interface design unless you already know a lot of people who use one app or the other.