Networking apps are good to have for connecting with friends while on the go. They are not only easy to use and convenient but also add in an element of fun. While there is no dearth of social applications that allow you to connect with friends, one that has been garnering a lot of attention is WeChat. We decided to find out how good the application was and if it was worth downloading?
You can sign-up using Facebook
WeChat’s interface is something that will take getting used to. On the homescreen you will find all your contacts who use the application. You can start a conversation with them by simply tapping on their name. You can convert the conversation into group chat by clicking on the face icon on the right hand corner at the top of the screen. Clicking on the keyboard icon will allow you to type a message. This keyboard icon also alternates as the speaker icon to send voice chat when the keyboard is in use. To send a voice message press on the ‘Hold to Talk’ button, you will have to keep it pressed till you are done with the message, simply release to send. Currently you can send messages up to one minute long. You can cancel the recording by an up swipe movement.
Clicking on the plus sign, next to the keyboard icon will bring up the additional options like emoticon, image, video, location, name card, live chat and video call. We tried the video call feature and it works quite well. During the video call you can even switch from video to audio and back again. This feature is something that not many networking apps offer and can work to its advantage. Another good option is the WebChat, which lets you chat via WeChat from your desktop. Additionally, with web chat you can even transfer files from your PC to your phone and vice versa. Once you receive the file on your phone, you can download it and even share it with your friends. You can send text, images, audio and video files. It also offers a Live Chat feature, which is something like hangout.
The interface needs time to get used to
Besides these, it offers several other features like Look Around, Shake, Moments, Drift Bottle and QQ Contacts, amongst others. Look Around allows you to connect with other WeChat users based on your location. Shake also allows you to connect with others, but is not location dependent. How it works is - you will have to shake your device and then it will show you the profile of the person who happened to have been simultaneously shaking their device at the same time as you. You can then connect with them. On the other hand Moments is something like a wall, where you can post pictures and choose who can view them. When uploading the pictures, you have the option within the app to apply several filters to enhance the images. You also have the option to connect with Facebook or Twitter and share these Moments there as well.
In terms of privacy, you can control almost every aspect from Settings. From here, under the ‘Privacy’ tab you can disable options that will allow others, even strangers to connect with you. You also have the option to disable any of the features of the app that you find annoying. The same can be achieved from the ‘Features’ tab, this is especially handy to disable the features like Look Around and Shake, which allow you to connect with strangers, and they can connect with you. From Settings you can also view the traffic data usage of the app.
Under social, you will find features like LookAround that allows you to connect with strangers
The app performs without any glitches. We tested the video calling and the audio messaging features and they performed quite well. We tested the features over the Wi-Fi network, so if you are using EDGE or 3G, the results may vary accordingly. We even transferred files using the WeChat web chat feature and were able to do so without any trouble.
You can disable the features that you don't wish to use
Overall, WeChat is a good option that you can consider if you are looking for a networking app. But considering that there are several other networking apps that have quite established their presence, convincing your friends to switch to WeChat could be challenging. However, the video calling feature is something that can give it an edge over others. And while the app offers the necessary features to network, there are some that you can do without, especially if you are concerned about privacy. Thankfully, you can disable these features and still be able to use the app without a problem. You will however need to get used to the interface. Lastly, even though the app is free it is devoid of ads.
The app is available across multiple platforms.
Click here to download WeChat for Android
Click here to download WeChat for iPhone
Click here to download WeChat for BlackBerry
Click here to download WeChat for Windows
Click here to download WeChat for Symbian
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