Developer: WhatsApp Inc.
Price: Free (for limited time; usually $0.99)
Version: 2.8.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

WhatsApp Messenger has been around for a while but recent updates have improved the functionality of the app since its release date. The main purpose behind this app is to replace SMS with a cross-platform mobile messenger that works on an internet data plan. If you have unlimited text, it is still beneficial as it is a convenient way to skip international fees that carriers may charge.

It is currently available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia Symbian60 and S40 and Blackberry. It’s popular because there is no cost to message friends and family other than the internet data plan that users already have on their phones.

It’s easy to get started. Simply enter the telephone number of the device into the app. It then sorts through the contacts (with your permission) on the phone to figure out who else also has the app already installed. Users can then invite more contacts or go ahead and start sending messages to the ones that the app discovered.

When a message is sent, one check mark indicates that it was successfully delivered to the server. Two check marks next to the message lets users know that it was sent to the device of the contact successfully. The messages show up as push notifications so users are always aware of when someone sends or responds to a message. One of the messaging features that makes this app so great is that users are able to use the functions on their phones to send or receive media, such as pictures or recorded audio, that can be played or viewed directly in the app itself.

It also comes complete with a few customization options. Users are free to create a profile name and add a picture to help other contacts they are chatting with know who is sending is a message. There’s also the ability to set a custom status message or users can select a new status from a list so their contacts know if they are free to chat. For some reason the status does not appear on the same page with the chat screen, which is one feature many users wish to see in an update.

The app doesn’t have any major flaws, but it’s not exactly perfect either. It does occasionally suffer from server crashes and minor lags and you’ll have to give it your entire address book to use it. It would be nice to be able to select individual contacts, but as it stands now those concerned with privacy will either have to surrender all their contacts or avoid using the app altogether.

Overall, WhatsApp Messenger is one of the better texting apps available. It comes packed with many features like group chat, offline messages, custom wallpaper, and much more. It’s a bargain at $0.99 but it’s currently a steal because it’s free right now in the App Store.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Social Networking

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