WeChat is better than WhatsApp

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WeChatJust before Christmas I got a sponsored link on my Facebook wall begging me to download and install an application called WeChat. I normally don’t look at those invites, no matter how tempting they sound. But being on my annual leave on a hot, slow December afternoon, I just thought, why not have a look. Being very conscious about personal and device security, I decided to download from the Google Play (Android market) using my HTC Desire HD. Ever since I clicked download, my “chat life” has never been the same. So good is WeChat that I am planning to uninstall WhatsApp within the next 3 months. I don’t mind loosing those who are not on WeChat.

So, why am I so hooked all of a sudden?

What is WeChat?

WeChat is a mobile phone text and voice messaging application developed by Chinese company Tencent. It is available for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian platforms. It supports about 7 languages; English, Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Russian. WeChat is supported on Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G data networks. As of January 2013, it has 300 million.

What is WhatsApp?

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WhatsApp is instant messaging application for smartphones developed by the American company Whatsapp founded in 2009. In addition to text messaging, users can send each other images, video, and audio media messages. Whatsapp is available for Android; BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phones. WhatsApp handled ten billion messages per day as of August 2012, growing from one billion in October 2011. According to the Financial Times, WhatsApp “has done to SMS on mobile phones what Skype did to international calling on landlines.” It has simply killed mobile SMS. It is estimated WhatsApp has between 300 – 500 million users.

Why is WeChat Better

While WhatsApp is definitely the current must-have App for any smartphone, there have been a lot of issues that have dogged the little but powerful App. The biggest one being the 2012 “discovery” by hackers that it sends messaged as plain text. They have since fixed this but it was a big issue.  A lot of issues, some of them petty, still remain and they have been working against its grown. Below are some the current headaches WhatsApp gives it legion of users.

1. Privacy Issues

When it comes to WhatsApp, privacy is thrown out of the 16th floor window! First of all, it’s tells the other person whether you are online, offline or worse still “last seen at 3.42am”. This is a serious privacy issue, though many may disagree.

WhatsApp also tells you the message you sent has been delivered, so if no response comes from the other person, and you can see your message was delivered, the usual conclusion is that you are being ignored. While this is a good feature in a way, it can be a source of some unnecessary “explanations” for many people. WeChat won’t do any of the above! They developed the app with privacy in mind.

Another cool feature is that WeChat allows you to “logout”. There are cases you don’t what instant messages streaming in when you are busy on something…prayer, funeral, in church, sleeping or even busy with a serious program at work! Such times you wish you could sign out of WhatsApp. The only option you have is to disable your internet connection of your device, meaning you lose your emails, Gtalk, Skype etc.

Still on the privacy issues, WhatsApp is again found pants down. It allows anyone with your number to send you an instant chat. I am sure most of you have had to ask “Who is this?” more than a dozen times! Needless to say, WeChat will ask you to approve any persons before they can send you a message.

Lastly, your WeChat contact will never see your number! This might surprise you, but remember on WeChat you are not limited to signing up using your mobile number. You login name is enough!

2. Voice and Video Chat

This is a cool feature that the guys at WhatsApp either forgot or thought it wasn’t cool. Instead of typing a message to your fiancée saying “I love you”, you can just say it and send. The effect is definitely not the same. Hearing someone and reading what they typed is not the same. I find this feature more useful when driving. There is no way I can type a message doing 120Km/hr on the freeway, so I just send a voice chat!  And the other person replies with a voice chat too, so no need to read those little letters when on the steering! I know using the phone when driving is not recommended, but who doesn’t?

3. Social Features

Besides groups, WhatsApp has no other social features! Now WeChat comes with many social features!

  • Facebook Connect – you can login or connect with WeChat using your Facebook profile
  • Moments – share photos with friends, more like Instagram.
  • Shake – just shake your phone and discover other people around the World shaking their phones and connect with them and start chatting.
  • Web WeChat – chat with someone using a PC
  • Look Around – you can use this to find people around you who want to chat. Imagine bored at the airport waiting for your next flight, this could help kill the hours!

4.  WeChat is FREE

WeChat is totally free and that WhatsApp rumour and insecurity about its license expiring in 60 days or so and you don’t know how to renew, is something you will never have to live with when using WeChat.

5. Data Usage Info

WeChat keeps statistics on its data usage and you can easily review and see how bad of good it is compared to its competitors. WhatsApp does not have this info, but when I used 3rd part tools to measure my WhatsApp data usage over a week, I realised WeChat uses about 40% less data than WhatsApp.

The almost 2 months I have used WeChat, I have realised it’s far better than WhatsApp and gives me a lot of peace of mind. The feeling that my privacy is respected makes me happy to use this App. And the cool “nice-to-haves” make it interesting to play with.

WeChat’s enormous size (15MB), however, works against it, especially in Africa where data is expensive and speeds might be very slow at times. WhatsApp is only 8MB

This guest arrticle was penned by Concern Shoko. Shoko is a software developer and the Founder & CEO of web hosting company Mega24.co.za



99 Comments

  1. Vistor says:

    Does this app support users in Zimbabwe? Can’t get Zim on the list.

    1. sinclair says:

      no, but you can still register though I live in … China suddenly

      1. How to Register says:

        how do u register

      2. Dr Chiyangwa says:

        Have you registered? Maybe you can give us a step by step guide. Really wanna try this app…

  2. James Ritala says:

    Thanks for the advert Mr Shoko. Perhaps others may also start migrating from the Whatsapp to this great new tool..

  3. Digital says:

    Whatsapp can send voice recording using attachment. The adoption rate of WeChat is not impressive at all and what is the use of having a chat app that less than 15% of your friends have.

    1. Try using the voice function on WeChat and then try the WhatsApp and see the difference. The 15% isnt an issue cse 2 years ago less than 15% of your friends had whatsapp. Its a matter of time.

  4. [email protected] says:

    Pure opinion! Matter of choice, convenience, loyalty and who got there first.

    Thanks for the return of the tags, Techzim!

    1. ahh you noticed!
      thanks for the continued feedback dude!

  5. anthonysomerset says:

    whats app can also track data usage – at least on iphone anyway

    1. Thanks for the hint, have never used an iPhone in my life! (plz don’t start that war again. lol)

      1. CoolBee says:

        You can also hide if you are offline on the new iPhone 5 am sure more handsets will be doing so.

        1. Chamu Matumbura says:

          But that doesn’t stop you from receiving messages. What WeChat does is you can actually log off.

    2. I can track data usage on my Nokia C3 as well… whatsapp that is

  6. This is very subjective.

  7. CoolBee says:

    Question, does WeChat add contacts automatically as Whatsapp?

    1. A person can only be on your WeChat contacts if you invite them or if they invite you!

  8. kusaziva says:

    And they also say Google+ is “better” than Facebook, but those declarations haven’t come to mean much! And whats with all the promo work now? First it was Yookos and now this?

    1. I don’t see anything wrong with sharing opinions, especially if you present the reasons why you came to certain conclusions. In car blogs they compare cars like New Ford Ranger vs Toyota Hilux and most readers love it, so I don’t see why we can not do the same on a tech blog without being accused of doing “promos”.

      Try WeChat and compare with WhatsApp and lets hear your side.

  9. ProfessorT says:

    i see no difference between wechat and mxit….and as for voice messages i am sure you are not aware that whatsapp is able to send audio, picture and video messages. Please research a bit. As for whatsapp charging you a quick look at your end user license agreement will show you that you have a year, after which you pay 99c a year….which is hardly a lot. Data usage is also available via the whatsapp settings. Very uninformed article heavily biased against whatsapp

    1. 1. I have never used mixit and that’s why its never mentioned it in this article.
      2. You definitely have never used WeChat voice chat, so you won’t know how the it works. There is no such function on Whatsapp (Android). And we are not talking about sending videos and audio clips.
      3. WeChat is FREE and 99c for Whatsapp is NOT free!
      4. Data usage I agree, its there on Whatsapp, I had missed it but someone showed me where it is.

      And about the comparison with kik messenger, you can help us by doing it, I have never used kik, so cant compare it to anything!

      1. mufay says:

        i have used whatsapp voice chat several times. Revise your article.

        1. Please share with us how you do that. I use Android on HTC and there is no such function. thanks in advance.

    2. madhora says:

      0.99c per anum not 99c

  10. Whatsapp user says:

    Failing to register, no zimbabwe on country list… using a nokia phone

    1. You can pick any country!

      1. ic0n1c says:

        But it says it needs to verify by sending you a text message, so can you pick any country?

  11. ProfessorT says:

    a better comparison would have been between whatsapp and kik messenger, which is what whatsapp architecture is based on

    1. Guest says:

      whatsapp is based on XMPP. Whats yo point here?

  12. How to Register says:

    Has anyone registered for this app in zim, and how? i dont see zimbabwe on the list of countries…..

    1. Dr Chiyangwa says:

      Also having that problem, and the promoter seemed to have disappeared…

  13. dinso says:

    This is a ridiculously uninformed and biased article. Thumbs down

  14. Sam Takunda says:

    Enter opinion of a dumb consumer who know the only distinguishing thing between Windows 7 & Windows 8 is the tiled “screensaver”

    WeChat has feature-blot in comparison to WhatsApp. It confused the nuggets out of an uncle of mine. People aren’t on WhatsApp because they don’t know the alternatives. They are on WhatsApp because of the company’s mission: a better alternative to SMS. With ever increasingly busier lives time for calls is hard to find yet we want at all times to be in touch. That’s WhatsApp. Clean & simple. Everyone is also moving to $martphone$, $o that means their charge of a dollar a year to $martphone people who hate Ads (money has to come from somewhere sooner or later) makes it even more welcome. That’s why everyone wants a top of the range car, no one ever says “I want a [insert used japanese vehicle] because it’s close to free compared to the cost of [insert the car in that movie you like]”. I don’t know, but over-exposure to text-based communication (Fb, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter) for the past half-decade and before has made us regular consumers to like text better than voice. Usually because it’s multitasking-friendly, you can go back to it & you can have your friends in one conversation when one’s in the bathroom, the other at work, another in class.

    Security? I’ve heard of WhatApp being hacked, but the first line in the article lost me. Unauthenticated HTTPS what? I’m sure HTTPS is plural for HTTP, how i write addresses in my browser.

    Oh, and privacy concerns? I wouldn’t care less if the Facebook masthead was a marquee of my inboxes. What would they do with the data? Threaten me for liking Winky’s page?
    Voice calls? When we consumers tried Viber the audio was horrible. We concluded our “networks” aren’t ready yet for any audio.
    Pictures? The Kardashians Instagram, so will i.

    That’s our nature. We’re stupid. We know.

    Google Trends for just the last 7 days seconds our love for WhatsApp http://www.google.co.zw/trends/explore#geo=ZW&date=today%207-d&cmpt=q

    LOL WeChat is definitely awesome. I’ve had it for months now. But the vice-grip WhatsApp has on non-techies convinced me otherwise. Their network-effects for now are just too strong.
    Good review. Let’s give time time and see.

    1. Peter says:

      very good reply , and true

  15. ic0n1c says:

    Getting invalid phone number error if I try to enter my number with/without the country code…

  16. Guest says:

    tested this app. Not true @ all. Whatsapp offers simplicity which most these IM apps dont have

  17. Alu Moyo says:

    Seems interesting, I’ll give it a go – but I don’t see it catching whatsapp in Zim any time soon. All those people who bought Nokia X2, C3, Asha 201 and the like are excluded – and twumabhebhi twakawanda twune mafone iwawo – saka WeChat yacho hasisina dhiri kana zvisina mabhebi mukati! Saka pakuzoti “BETTER” apa – for some of us hapana “BETTER” kana macontacts acho asipo.
    Whatsapp has managed to squeeze its way into the pockets of even the most non-tech-savvy, Lokshin-Zimbo, thanks to Nokia and their $90 – $95 dollar phones using it a selling point. Just walk into any phone dealer and you will probably find someone buying one of those phone SPECIFICALLY because it has whatsapp. They will ask straight; “ndeipi cheapest phone inewhatapp?”
    Sure, androids has cheap options, but Samsung’s cheapest android phone is $120 – and for Comrade Jimmy Average, that $30 dollar difference is HUGE! Sure, there are some cheaper options like Huawei for $90, but they are not as ubiquitous as the Nokias, and given the choice, our Comrade will always chose the trusted name NOKIA 8 times out of 10. Plus setup is so basic on the Nokias – android requires a certain tech awareness to work with – but the Nokias are easy as 123 – remember most of Zim STILL isn’t computer literate.
    I think that the “special arrangement” between Nokia and whatsapp has been an incredible success for the two – in Zim that is. It crazy to think that even Mxit, which is compatible with more devices than any other chat service out there, and was HUGE in SA right next door, never really gained much traction in Zim. It’s such a confusing market, this little Zimbabwe of ours 🙂
    All this reminds me of this hilarious whatsapp story I read the other day – It kind of illustrates how NON-TECH-SAVVY a lot of whatsapp users are. I’m sure everybody’s seen it, but here is the link:
    http://www.zimdiaspora.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10807:workers-in-trouble-over-whatsapp&catid=38:travel-tips&Itemid=18

  18. jones says:

    on registering WeChat,all the other countries appear except Zimbabwe code 263.Why is this?

  19. Dear guest author,

    Next time please use the app and actually test it IN ZIMBABWE where your articles are read. This article wasted my time reading it, downloading the APP, trying to make it work. I decided to complete the waste of time by coming back here and posting my comment. In general Techzim mos of your posts about apps are not reviews by zimbos, that is quite a shame and annoying. Dont copy paste articles please.

    1. hey there, thanks for the feedback. always good to get. The App works in Zimbabwe. I use it (not regularly though) and I’m in Zim. Would love to help if you got stuck somewhere while installing.

      In general Techzim mos of your posts about apps are not reviews by zimbos

      This particular one is by a Zimbo and I actually don’t remember a review posted here that’s not by a Zimbo… which ones are you referring to?

      1. Brilliant says:

        Hi Kabweza. I’m failing to install Wechat on my iphone because Zim is not listed please help.

    2. Saw this disappointing comment late. But here is my response as the author.

      1). I am a Zimbabwean, born and bread in Zvishavane, studied Computer Science at NUST, lived 3 years in Harare, now based in Johannesburg. I regularly visit Zim so I am always up to date with trends.

      2). This article was not copy pasted. Please show me the “original” since you are so sure it was copy-pasted.

      3. Your failure to make the app work is YOUR problem, not mine. And don’t trash my article for your own failures. I have more than 30 people based in Zim who i chat with on WeChat, Kwabeza is one of them!

  20. mukorash says:

    ahh that app is as chinese as they cme tried on android and it worked after i had turned the location service on…the country was China with our Zim country code..then they send me a Chinese welcome audio note…ahh

    the mission turned to be hectic after i tried it on my nokia ummm there is no Zim on that list of countries..my question then why wud i use an app that doesn’t even acknowledge my existance as a Zimbabwean??

    for now cdes and friends m sticking to my Whatsapp

  21. Flo says:

    have been using my whatsapp for almost 3 years now and i have never been asked to pay so as far as i am concerned indirectly free for me. i do understand that at some point i will be asked to pay 99c (as much as a kombi ride anyway). the reason why some of us can not be bothered by messengers is that requirement to add contacts individually, who has time for that?? reason why i left mxit anyway. i wonder how much u will be charged by our local service providers to use that video chat function… WeChat is good just not good enough to compare it to whatsapp

  22. Dogstar says:

    WeChat is a pathetic attempt to win Whatsapp users. Here in Cape Town, I can only get Chinese users. The app itself IMO is much harder to use than Whatsapp. Searching for users, going through my phonebook to see who is not on(there were none) and maybe alerting them to try it(ummm no – not going to flood my contacts with requests to install an app on their phones).

    Nah def WeChat has it’s code in a knot. Uninstalled WeChat in 2 hours of testing it in and around my area.

    my 2c

  23. tnashc says:

    Point of correction, whatsapp has its own data usage report. If your such a good analyst of apps then you would have noticed that feature.

  24. Zim not Supported… Next!!

    1. Zim supported, just not on the list. Go ahead and leave that default (China) there and insert your phone number

      1. marc says:

        This is not working i have left the default and tried my number in several different ways with 263 with out etc etc please can you give exact detail of how the number should be inserted? I am using an Iphone by the way

  25. Ghazal says:

    Yes….Its much better than whatsapp

  26. am says:

    Hi! my audio messaging stopped working. I don’t know what happened but as i remember it started after message saying my we chat has to be forced close. Can you resolve this problem. Thanks

  27. russ says:

    rubbish Chinese app

  28. sk says:

    i prefer whatsapp instead of wechat, bcos whatsapp has msg deliver status but none for wechat. Addtional, whatsapp added feature press n talk like wechat.
    Generally user need:
    1) msg delivery status > viber, whatsapp, LINE
    2) send voice msg with press n talk. >wechat, whatsapp, LINE,
    2.1) voice msg read status for receiver> whatsapp, wechat
    2.1) voice msg read status for sender > whatsapp
    3) share content to most other apps > whatsapp, LINE, wechat
    4) new messages list indicator > whatsap(group), viber
    5) fast start without appearing page logo > whatsapp, wechat
    6) call >viber,LINE, wechat(for wifi only),
    7) simple n lite > whatsapp, viber, wechat
    8) auto add user as in contact > whatsapp, viber

  29. Disgusted says:

    I absolutely hate WeChat right now because the messages are delayed, and all my queries to the WeChat team are ignored.

  30. sanobar khan says:

    I want to know that images and voice notes which are send by wechat are they save in phone automatic as done in whts app in whts app a folder is created n all d images n voices notes send are save so does same happens for wechat if yes den whr is it saved?????

  31. Juon says:

    I cant fine “Enter” in my iphone4 keyboard in wechat, any idea why?

  32. raheel says:

    how i change wechat id any one help me
    i try it gray and can not change

  33. Obnub says:

    The most pathetic plug I have ever read! As for the ‘Issues’ on WhatsApp – I think the author has never really used it!

  34. Ali says:

    By showing who is online and when he/she last logged in, its a nice feature..We chart is not showing it means that is their fault..As per ur saying, even gmail and facebook should remove who is online option..Better wechat people has to accept it, and bring this feature..No need of explanantion 🙂

  35. TZ says:

    Really ? Facebook is going to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion!

  36. Fartsomann says:

    Concern Shoko, I personally think this is just fanboyism that you showed here a year ago. Just wondering why you would think that way. Am not a techy like you but you missed and mixed a lot of issues. I have used both apps on Android, iOS and Windows. Whatsapp just routes your SMS via the internet instead of the normal via MNO. The issue of data usage has been sorted out already. Let me respond to your assertions like a common user.

    1. Next time you think of reviewing apps on a blog like this, learn to appreciate all platforms. We don’t want to extrapolate your platform orientation. Try the app on all the popular platforms to have a balanced review. Remember normally iOS get prime features in most apps, controls are different for the same app on different platforms.

    2. Privacy issues – message delivered option is just similar to the old SMS settings where you activate the Delivery Report. Furthermore, we expect your phone contacts to be your buddies, whether personal or professional but still they are people you communicate with. So what’s the problem of having a delivery report? Try a voice call to one of your buddies; if it fails they might be out of network or their phone will be off or they might have blocked you! If a call gets through, it definitely means they are “online”. We have even perpetuated the practice of “beeping” based on that “online” status! You talk of logging out of whatsapp to prevent disturbances and you cite turning off data as turning off other “apps”. My question is whether you would accept “disturbances” from Gmail, Gtalk and Skype? Now tell me what is more disturbing gmail (with all it’s goddam spam), skype (both a VoIP and IM) and Whatsapp (an IM) only? Don’t your HTC have a mute option useful in prayers etc that you said? The issue of anyone with your number sending you a chat is just similar to having anyone with your number calling or texting you! Is that any different? Maybe you like the BBM way, where you have to beg people to accept your PIN? It’s like filling your phone book manually as opposed to syncing them with Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, etc. Lastly the last seen stamp poses no threat for it just shows when last you were connected to Whatsapp servers and nothing else! It’s just like saying you last accessed Facebook last year. It actually assist in showing whether your message will be seen in time.

    3. The voice and video chats are quite beautiful and I give them a thumbs up though we can still send clips via whatsapp. The usefulness to a common user might just be the same.

    4. Third Party Integration – some may like it, some hate it but besides issues of bloat ware, it’s like playing Candy Crush Saga via Facebook rather than downloading the game as a stand alone app. My WeChat took more time to boot up and connect compared to Whatsapp. For those who need a simple and clean App, whatsapp is the best, otherwise the rest are really bloated for our flaky internet.

  37. 5 billion on digital advertising ‘ everything from website
    display ads to Facebook, Twitter, mobile, e-mail and then some ‘ this year, and by 2016, that should reach an even $62 billion. It took an ordinary webmaster and showed him how to market on the
    web. The traffic driven by these attractive offers leads
    to better conversion rates.

  38. Ahmed says:

    Stay away from wechat.

    They are fake, nobody is actually using their app.

    They used my number too create an imposter inactive fake account that cannot be recovered eventhough i recieve the verification sms.

    They do NOT respond to any support email.

    They are china based fake company just like majority of fake business companies from china online.

    Beware, DO NOT USE WEHCAT, they will steal the contact list and make fake accounts with it for all your contacts.

    1. Anonymous says:

      There are many people use Wechat, for it’s really good use, and their contact lists are not stolen. It’s not fair to Wechat. Maybe you went the wrong register way.

  39. Aline says:

    We have no choice but how to get what you want out of a relationship suffer
    for sometime before we could be able to accomplish all your tasks
    in school.

  40. Thanks for sharing such a fastidious opinion, article is nice,
    thats why i have read it fully

  41. abuyazen says:

    add me any whatsapp 00966568982656

  42. breeze says:

    Is wechat is safe for sending pics

  43. jusstive90 says:

    I wan to wechat or femeley&my fren…

    1. Anonymous says:

      We chat ni nak download cakna??

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