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Using WeChat


One of the mobile messaging services I use is WeChat. The other is Viber and Facebook Messaging. I use WeChat to chat with family in China because a lot of people already use WeChat there. It is the most widely used instant messaging service in China, probably because they can’t access many other international services because of the Great Firewall of China!

One of the main features of WeChat is the walkie-talkie like talk feature. You press and hold the talk button to talk, then when finished you let go and it will automatically send that recording over to whoever you are chatting to!

There is also an actual walkie-talkie feature as well but instead of recording the message first then sending it to your recipient, your recipient hears your message in real time as you press-to-talk! I figured this would be good for a group conversation, so everyone can talk to everyone (one at a time) in the same conversation. I found that this could get messy if you have too many participants in a walkie-talkie session as somewhere, somehow, everyone will start talking at the same time leading to nobody knowing what anyone is talking about!

Previously WeChat didn’t have voice call feature, but now it does so you can finally enjoy a fully hands-free experience with WeChat! You can also video call if you want to.

The call quality on WeChat depends mostly on your connection and like many other VoIP apps, the faster the connection speed, the better the quality. I did find that when using just the “Hold to talk” feature, the recording played back to the recipient was decent enough even though the connection speed wasn’t very good. That was what my friend said about the WeChat “Hold to talk” feature.

And just like other instant messaging services, you get to chat using messages, with emoticons if you like, and the ability to share photos and videos with your recipient. You can also share your current location with them as well.

You can add your contacts by their WeChat ID or let WeChat scan your address book and it will automatically find contacts already using WeChat. This is similar to other services like Viber. One feature I did find interesting was the “Hold Together” feature in order to add a contact if in the same room. This requires you to both go to this setting, then both hold down the button until both of your names pop up for you to add!

The main features I use are just the voice, video and group chat.

You can find out more information about all the different features of WeChat here: http://www.wechat.com/en/features.html

In conclusion WeChat is starting to become a good instant messaging chat service but their web-based service needs a bit of tweaking in order to be able to fully compete with the desktop version of Viber and other desktop based VoIP apps me thinks. The web version of WeChat does not have a lot of the features that other similar apps already have.

WeChat is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia, BlackBerry and the web though you must have WeChat for mobile in order to be able to use the web version.