I believe most of you already been heard about what is WeChat.
Like a lot other smartphone social apps, WeChat is also another social networking app where rich with features.
WeChat had recently hosted an event in Malaysia, at Zouk. The picture above is the group photo that day. But anyway, I will write more about this app detail and its features. And also, if you want to follow up with WeChat’s update, you can actually “Like” their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wechatmalaysia so that you can get prompted with their latest updates.
WeChat is an app developed by a China company called TenCent Inc.(Not 50Cent, coz a company don’t sing).
This app was launched at January 2011 with the name “Weixin”, and had recently re-branded as WeChat in April 2012.
And for your information, Tencent Inc. is the company who developed the QQ instant messenger.
It support several smartphones, such as iPhone, Android phones, Nokia Symbian 60 phones, as well as Windows smartphones.
Ok, now I would like to talk more into its features.
Like every other smartphone users who uses their smartphone for social networking, I too have used tons of apps in my smartphone to communicate with people around me. Each of these apps have its own special features. And of course, WeChat do have some if its special features as well. Anyway, I am going to talk about most of its features, no matter it is their exclusive features or not, as I find them quite interesting to use.
WeChat Splash Screen
WeChat App Info
WeChat support normal authentication by using your WeChat ID/phone number, as well as using Facebook Connect to link your Facebook to your WeChat account and using it to directly login into your WeChat account.
So far, not every smartphone chat apps support Facebook connect authentication, and this, makes WeChat a more convenient app to use, since you only need to remember your Facebook login, if you are using the Facebook Connect to login into it.
2. Search Contacts/Social:
As you can see, it does have similar way to search for contacts using the similar way as another app called LINE. But it does have another way to search for people, where LINE do not have.
Here is what these contacts search option which is listed in the picture at above:
This is actually a feature similar with Instagram, except that it is only within the WeChat network only and it does not provide the feature for you to edit your picture to blur it up etc. In “Moments”, you can upload a picture inside your phone, or take a photo instantly and upload it to WeChat with a caption. Then when people who had added you saw it, they can post comments to the picture you uploaded
b) Add a Friend:
b1) Add by ID: Add a contact manually using their WeChat ID if you know their WeChat ID.
b2) Mobile Contacts: This will scan your contacts inside your phone book, and it will show you which of your contacts in your phone book is using WeChat, then gives you the option whether you want to add them or not.
b3) Facebook Friends: If you had linked your Facebook to your WeChat, it will scan your Facebook’s friend and see which of them are using WeChat and have Facebook linked to their WeChat account, and it will list up and show you the option to add then as your contact.
b4) QR Code: Use this to scan a QR code generated by your friend’s WeChat and add them directly by scanning it.
c) Look Around:
Look Around is actually a feature where it uses your GPS to locate your current position, and it will search around for other WeChat users nearby you and list them up for you to add them as your contact. And in the list, it will show you estimate how far is them from your current position. It will only work if you have enabled your GPS. If you disabled your GPS, it will prompt you to enable your GPS before trying to use this feature again.
By the way, you can also filter whether to search only males or females in the search result, like the picture as below.
d) Drift Bottle:
This feature, is quite a unique feature of WeChat compare to the rest of the social networking apps. Sometimes, you see people write some notes, then stuff it into a bottle and throw it into the sea and let it drift around. This feature allow you to do it in the WeChat sea. And the bottles are able to be pick up by people easily! So try to not write something too personal into the note that you going to stuff it into the bottle. And remember, once you throw away the bottle, there is no way you can delete it, unless you are lucky enough to pick up your own bottle back!
When you opened a bottle that you picked up, you can either throw it back into the sea, reply to the owner of the note, or you can collect them, it is up to you. Usually I will throw it back into the sea.
This feature is a feature that also available in LINE, where you and your friend enter into this mode, then you both shake your phone to add each other into contact list. And if not mistaken, GPS is required to be activated when you are using this feature.
f) Scan QR Code: This one is the same as the “QR Code” features in “Add a Friend”. It is just a shortcut to that only.
Since the QR Code scanning function was mentioned twice, then I think it is best to talk about it as well.
You can actually generate your WeChat QR Code for people to add you directly to their WeChat contact list, and you do not need additional apps to generate it. Just go to “Settings” and click the “Profile” to generate it just like the picture as below, then you can save it into your memory card and upload to your blog or anywhere you want for people to add you into their contact list easily.
There are several interesting features where you can use while chatting with your friends.
a) Text Messaging:
This is something very standard for all social networking apps.
b) Voice Messaging:
Other apps such as Whatsapp or LINE do have this feature as well, but I found that the audio file compression of WeChat is better, because when I send out the voice message, it uploaded very fast, compare to other apps.
c) Group Chat:
Some other standard features which have in most social networking apps.
As you can see from the picture, you just need to press the “+” icon to add someone else in your contact list to add them into the current chat.
d) Chat Plugins:
WeChat also have features where most of those social networking apps have, which is emoticon, send images, video and so on. It also have what Whatsapp have, which is sending your GPS coordinate to your friend via WeChat. Besides that, you can also suggest another friend to the current friend who is chatting with you, as long as they are inside your contact list.
The 2nd picture at above is the screenshot inside “Settings” where you can enable or disable these plugins.
Pros And Cons (Review Summary)
1. Rich with features, compare to other chat apps.
2. Able to search people nearby you, and chat with them before you meet them at somewhere near you.
3. Can pick up some unpredictable bottles via the “Drift Bottles” and read something really funny by some dumb people.
4. Can send voice message instead of typing text, while you are driving.
5. Able to send out your GPS coordinate to your friend and ask them to come and rescue you, if you are in trouble. (Just like what you can watch on the TV).
6. Have the option to let your contacts see only your WeChat ID only, not display your phone number. Or you can enable it to show your phone number to your contacts.
7. Can disable some of the features by disabling the plugins to reduce usage of your phone’s memory.
8. Available in most smartphones, enabling people who uses different brand of smartphones to be connected via WeChat.
1. Very huge size installer, might be not suitable for low end smartphones which have very limited storing space.
2. Memory usage is quite high. Works well in high end smart phones, such as Galaxy S2, S3, HTC One, Motorola Razr, Atrix etc. But low end smartphones will become very laggy after running it for sometime without closing it.
3. Not much users in Malaysia is using it, but can find a lot people from China in it. But currently Malaysian users are growing rapidly, so this is not a big problem so far.
4. Constantly re-run itself in the background. Even after you have exit this app, or kill the process with task killer apps, it will still start it up back again after some time. This is also an issue for most apps we have nowadays, such as Facebook.
5. Unable to use “Fake GPS” to cheat your current location. It will still directly access to your GPS chip for retrieving your real position. Well, this can be a pros as well, as we can make sure people that we are chatting with, are really at where they are now.
So, if you are interested to install it into your smart phone and try it out, just search for it in your phone’s apps installer to install it, or you can install it via the links I provide at below.
Disclaimer: The images I posted in this article is from my Android phone only. It might looks different in other smartphones, so if you see it looks different, don’t worry, it is still WeChat, with a different user interface only.