A WhatsApp Messenger user review
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Recently, one of my closest friends moved to another province, and discovering new apps that allow us to communicate without any nasty roaming or overage fees has become really important. One of the best ones that I have found (at her suggestion), is the WhatsApp Messenger.
The WhatsApp Messenger functions almost exactly like a normal SMS or iChat, in that it has push notifications when someone messages you. Through it you can send text, pictures, voice notes or video, and all hyperlinks will also function if you feel the need to share something you found online.
What separates WhatsApp from your standard SMS, iChat, or any other of the millions of messenger apps, is that it functions completely on Wi-Fi and data, but the data usage is so low that it doesn’t risk sending your bill into a tailspin of debt, even when communicating long distance.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my friend and I message each other constantly, especially now that she’s so far away. In the beginning I was worried that if I used the app when I didn’t have access to Wi-Fi, I’d get slammed with data overage charges, but then I discovered that the data used, even to send videos, is pretty minimal.
To put it into perspective, I have a data plan that allows for 500MB data usage per month, which roughly translates to about 15-17MB per day. I have never gone over that limit using WhatApp, as well as my Internet browser and Facebook (just for the record, Facebook is a data hog). On average—and I measured this using science—a single message will take up 0.1MB of data. That means I’d have to send over a thousand messages away from any Wi-Fi hotspots just to be in danger of going over my limit. For my lifestyle at the moment, constantly cycling between home and school, it just wouldn’t be possible.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff—what does the WhatsApp Messenger have that’s different from my normal SMS or iChat? One of my favourite things, and call me superficial for saying this, is the ability to have any picture as the background to your message window. Maybe you love that one photo of you and your friends, or maybe you just find the stock photo of a waterfall really soothing? It doesn’t matter, you can choose from the WhatsApp library of stock photos or upload your own.
Cost-wise, the WhatsApp Messenger is unreasonably affordable for what it offers. For new users the first year of the app is free, for people who decide to keep using it after that year is up, the app is only $0.99 for every following year.
I think this app is great for people like me, who want to communicate with loved ones that are far away, or for anyone who has a limit on their text messaging (the horror!). I’d definitely recommend it for everyone!