WeChat Review

Now that you we’ve shared the details of how WeChat works, and you’ve read our article on safety and security while using the app, you may be starting to decide if WeChat is right for you. We’ve got you covered in this article, where we’ll lay out all of the pros and cons of WeChat, and explain how they will affect your user experience.

Pros

  • Fully free to use – WeChat is free to download, install, sign up for, and use, and only charges for completely optional in-app purchases of emoji stickers you can add to your conversations. It is also not limited in any way by what you can do, so you can talk, text, send pictures, voice call, and video call as much as you want.
     
  • Simple layout that’s easy to use – WeChat is very simple, and doesn’t have too many confusing bells and whistles that make it difficult for you to do what you really want – talk to your friends. Simply tap on a contact’s name and start typing to message them instantly. To get more advanced, tap the + button to change to other methods of communication. The app could not be simpler to use!
     
  • Used by hundreds of millions of people – WeChat has over 700 million active users, all over the world. Though extremely popular in China, over 70 million active users are located elsewhere. You’re sure to find someone on your contact list using WeChat, and the app can automatically tell you who you know that is using WeChat, and help you connect with them instantly.
     
  • Many ways to communicate – WeChat offers many ways for you to interact with your contacts, including instant text messaging, voice calls, video calls, picture messaging, sharing contact details, and acts in a way as a social media platform. There are plenty of ways to communicate to satisfy all of your social moves.

Cons

  • Must have a working Internet connection – Though you can save plenty without the need for a phone plan, WeChat requires an Internet connection to work. If you don’t have access to free Wi-Fi, you’ll need to subscribe to your own plan. And ensure you monitor your usage, as video chatting can really use up your allotted Internet data for the month.
     
  • Loose privacy settings – When you first sign up, your privacy settings generally allow for other users to find you, and see you nearby. They can also find your profile, and request to add you, not needing to know you at all. Ensure you check your privacy settings as soon as you create your account, so make sure they are set to a level you are comfortable with.
     
  • Unique features not innovative – WeChat has some interesting features you won’t find in other messaging apps, but none of them are particularly helpful or enhance your experience. “Moments” allows you to save your favorite messages, posts, and incoming pictures, and share them with others, and you can also update your status. WeChat is not focussed on social media however, so these kinds of added features do not offer anything new or particularly useful to its users.

The Bottom Line: 8/10

WeChat is one of the most popular Internet-based messaging platforms for a reason. It’s entirely free to use, and isn’t limited in any way. You can message as much as you want, and use the app whenever you like. You have plenty of ways to choose from to communicate, and the simple layout of the app makes it easy for anyone to learn – just jump right in and start messaging!

Make sure you have a working Internet connection however, and keep an eye on your Internet data usage, as video calls especially can really rack up your usage. You should also keep an eye on your privacy settings, as they tend to allow for a lot of connection with users you likely don’t even know. Make sure you always keep your safety and privacy in mind when using WeChat!

 

And that’s our rundown of WeChat. If you think that WeChat may be right for you, check out our next tutorial on how to download and install the app, and then be sure to read our step-by-step tutorial on how to use WeChat. If you think there may be something better out there for you, check out our article on the best apps like WeChat to learn more.


How Much Does Messaging on WeChat Cost?

Now that we've covered what WeChat is and how it works, and you’ve read our article on WeChat safety, it’s time to learn about the potential costs of WeChat. Is WeChat free, and will it cost me money to use it over time? These are questions we’ll answer in this article, as we explain all the potential costs associated with WeChat, so you don’t break the bank using this popular messaging app.

How much does WeChat cost?

WeChat is free to download, install, sign up for, and use as a messaging app and communication platform. Sending instant messages, images, voice calls, voice recordings, video calls, and some additional information is all free, no matter how long you talk, or how frequently you are using the WeChat app.

You need only a working connection to the Internet for WeChat to work, so you don’t even need a complex or functioning phone plan to make voice calls to other users. WeChat can save you lots of money on messaging, especially if you are travelling or visiting other countries. Rather than getting a temporary phone plan, you can message your friends and family on the go, and take WeChat with you all over the world.

Beware a rising Internet data bill

One potential cost of WeChat to consider is that because it uses the Internet, if you do not have an unlimited Internet plan, or you use WeChat on your mobile device on your data plan, it can use up your monthly available usage quite quickly, especially if you like to make video calls, which is one of the best features of the app.

Make sure to try to use WeChat on your unlimited monthly Internet plan, or connect in areas with free WiFi, especially when using the video chat function.

If it’s free, how does WeChat make its money?

WeChat makes its money through the sale of in-app products such as emojis and stickers that you can add to spruce up your conversations with other users. Though these in-app purchases are small (usually only a few dollars), with over 600 million registered users, these yearly earnings can reach into the billions.

You are never required to pay for any of WeChat’s services, and they will never ask you to enter your financial information into the app, in an email, or by any other means. If you receive contact from WeChat asking for this information, this is a scam; do not respond to the message or click on any links sent to you.

 

And that’s our rundown of how much WeChat costs. If you think it may be right for you, be sure to check out our next article where we review the app, to help you decide. If you’re already convinced that WeChat is for you, try reading our step-by-step tutorial on how to download and install WeChat here.


Is WeChat Safe and Secure for Messaging?

Now that you've learnt a little bit about what WeChat is and how it works, you may be wondering if it’s a legitimate messaging and communication service, and if you’ll be safe while using it. In this article, we’ll explain everything there is to know about WeChat security, to help you determine if you’ll be safe while using WeChat. The first question that probably comes to mind is: is WeChat safe?

How safe and secure is WeChat?

WeChat is as safe as other popular messaging and communication apps, as it requires user registration, a verified mobile phone number, and a password to sign in. So long as the user continually protects their password and their mobile device, no one can access their messages or personal profile.

WeChat is secure because it is password protected, so as long as you don’t share your account info with anyone, your messages will stay private, between you and your contacts. This keeps your account secure, however, by default, WeChat keeps the user signed into the app, even when they close it.

This means that if you lose your mobile device or it is stolen, anyone who can access your device can see your messages, and send messages as you. Ensure you sign out of WeChat each time you finish using it to prevent this from happening to you, and to keep your messages as private as possible.

One safety concern associated with WeChat is that when you sign up, your privacy settings are set for you, and by default, allow other users to find you and request you as a contact simply by searching for those who are nearby. Ensure you manage your privacy settings as soon as you sign up, and set them to what you are comfortable with. See our safety tips below for more information on this.

WeChat privacy settings

How reliable is WeChat?

WeChat is a reliable messaging service, as long as the user maintains a connection to the Internet. Users frequently send and receive messages and images, and make voice or video calls with few issues. The service itself is reliable; issues with connections generally stem from a weak connection to the Internet.

6 safety tips when using WeChat

1. Always sign out of your account when you’re finished.

When you’re finished using the app, tap the Me menu, followed by Settings, and finally, tap Log Out. This means the next time you want to use WeChat, you will have to enter your password again. This prevents anyone else who physically has your mobile device (whether it is stolen or you lose it), from accessing your account and messages. It is always good practice to do this with all of your downloaded apps.

2. Change your privacy settings immediately.

When you create an account, you should view your privacy settings and update them to a level you are comfortable with. You can change how users can add you or find you on WeChat, and block any unfriendly users. Tap any toggle button to enable or disable a setting (if the toggle is pushed right and green, it is enabled, and if it is pushed left and grey, it is disabled).

WeChat privacy settings

3. Don’t add other users that you don’t know.

WeChat lets you look for other users nearby, and send them greetings hoping they will add you, but adding people you don’t know on WeChat is the same as talking to strangers. You never know who you’re interacting with, and their profile descriptions and pictures may not be representative of who they truly are. Stick to the friends you know, and avoid adding people you don’t know.

4. Don’t use the WeChat “Shake” function.

WeChat “Shake” is a function on WeChat where you shake your mobile device, and can see who else is shaking on WeChat at the same time as you, all over the world. By default, these users will send you a greeting, and you can respond, thereby adding them to your contacts. Though this is a unique way to connect with new people all over the world, it also has some safety concerns, primarily, that the greetings are sent by default. Some users send offensive or inappropriate greetings, or even spam, trying to get you to you to visit their websites. If you’re concerned about safety, simply avoid WeChat “Shake.”

5. Think carefully before pressing send, for all messages.

Remember that once you press send, you have given the user you are sending to control over your words and images. Though you can easily delete WeChat messages, this only occurs on your end. Your contact has full control over what you have sent, and can share it with whomever they like. Be sure you’re okay with this before pressing send; as with all digital messaging services, you can never take it back once you have put it out there.

6. Create a secure password for your WeChat account.

When signing up for WeChat, you will be required to create a password. Make sure this is at least 8 characters, but ideally 12-15 characters, with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. This will make it far more difficult for someone to guess your password, or gain entry into your account. 

 

And that’s our explanation of WeChat safety. If you feel safe using WeChat, you should check out our next article where we review WeChat, so you can determine if it’s the right messaging app for you. If you’re already sold on it, skip ahead to our step-by-step tutorial (with pictures) on how to download and install the WeChat app.


What WeChat is How to Start Messaging

Advances in technology have allowed us to communicate with people all over the world, virtually whenever we want. And now, there are many platforms out there to help you achieve this: phone calls, emails, text messages, video chats, and much more. Unfortunately, some of these methods of communication can be very expensive. But what if there was a communication platform that combined all of these features, but needed only a connection to the Internet to function. That’s what WeChat is.

WeChat is an online communication platform that allows you to interact with your contacts through instant messages, voice calls, video calls, voice recordings, file sharing, and social media. It operates for free, and makes for simple, easy-to-use connection to your contacts, all over the world!

How WeChat works + 6 great ways to start chatting online

Once you download and install the app, you can begin adding your contacts (either manually, or by importing WeChat users in your contact list). From there, simply tap on someone’s name and then choose how you want to communicate with them.

WeChat messaging screen

You can choose from sending instant messages and chatting, to recording a voice message, or having voice or video calls with your contacts. You can also easily update your status and location so people know what you’re doing, share contact information, use the “Sight” feature to share what you’re seeing now, or the “Favorites” feature to share your favorite messages or moments you’ve had on WeChat.

As long as you’re connected to the Internet, all of these functions of WeChat will work. The app uses the Internet to send all of the messages, so you don’t need a phone plan to use it. You can connect instantly with your contacts all over the world, and talk as much as you like! There’s plenty you can do with WeChat, and here are some ways you can get started using it.

Ways to start using WeChat:

1. Talk, text, and instant message as much as you want, without a phone plan.

There’s no limit to how many messages you send, or how much you can talk. Because you only need a connection to the Internet to use it, it is a great alternative to modern phone plans which can be expensive – especially if you like to talk to loved ones outside of the country you live in. Save on long distance charges and unnecessary fees, and go with an Internet-based communication platform like WeChat instead.

2. Connect with anyone you know – and even some people you don’t – all over the world.

If you have relatives, friends, or colleagues in other countries, you can easily add them on WeChat and talk as much as you want. There are also some functions of WeChat such as “People Nearby” or “Shake” that allow you to add contacts who are near you, or who are shaking their device while using WeChat all over the world. Send greetings and make new friends in a snap!

To learn more about these functions or add contacts to WeChat, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to use WeChat.

3. Collaborate on a project.

WeChat is also a great tool for work collaboration, as a team can easily set up a group chat and discuss ongoing projects and business. Colleagues and students alike can easily add one another and communicate instantly to update each other on the status of their work. You can also send images and files, so sharing is as easy as clicking.

4. Share your favorite moments.

WeChat allows you to post updates about your life, and save the images and messages you love. Then, you can share those favorite moments with other users. Keep all your contacts up to date on what’s going on in your life, which is especially easy if you use WeChat as one of your main forms of communication.

5. Unlimited video chatting.

One of the best features of WeChat is that you can video chat with your contacts as much as you like. Video chatting is more and more becoming the way we talk, and WeChat allows you to do this using an Internet connection, and has no limit on how much you can talk. Simply start a video call, hold your mobile device up to your face, and then see your contact on the screen!

6.Talk while you travel and don’t worry about short-term phone plans.

If you’re travelling for a short or long time, or go on an exchange to another country, WeChat is a great alternative to trying to find short-term phone plans, which are often expensive for what they offer you, or limit what you can do substantially. Instead, make sure you have a connection to the Internet, and use WeChat for all your communication needs; you’ll save a lot of money.

How much does WeChat cost?

WeChat is free to download, sign up for, and use, and almost all of its features are free. You can send messages, images, voice recordings, and make voice or video calls, all for free. Some in-app items and downloadable stickers can be purchased. And users must pay for an Internet plan to use the app.

When using Wi-Fi, the WeChat app is free. Be sure to take caution when using the app with data on your mobile device, as it can use many MB of your monthly data (especially for video calls). Try to always use WeChat on Wi-Fi to avoid these charges.

How secure and safe is WeChat to use?

WeChat is as safe as most messaging services, as it requires user registration and a password to sign in, meaning each account is secure. You can also manage who you add as a contact, adjust your privacy setting to limit how others can add you, and block any unfriendly users to end contact with them.

WeChat does pose some safety concerns however, as anyone with a mobile device can use it, and there is no verification of identity. It also allows you to search users nearby, or connect with strangers all over the world. Be sure to exercise caution when using WeChat and interacting with strangers, and always check your privacy settings to make sure they fit what you’re comfortable with.

To learn more about this, and see our tips on how to stay safe while using the app, check out our article on WeChat safety and security.

The history of WeChat and why it’s so popular

WeChat was created by the Chinese company Tencent, a company that gained its fame as a pioneer of Internet-based instant messaging. It’s app, WeChat, was invented by Xialong Zhang, and was launched in 2011. It is currently available in 52 languages, and its number of monthly active users was one of the fastest growing increases for an app, ever.

WeChat is one of the most popular Internet-based communication platforms, boasting over 800 million active users. Its popularity comes from the fact that the service is free to use, and is not limited in any way. It has a simple layout, is easy to use, and allows you to connect with so many users, all over the world.

The pros and cons of WeChat

WeChat is one of the most popular communication apps for a reason. It is free to download, sign up for, and entirely free to use; as long as you have a connection to the Internet, you never have to pay for it. It also has a very simple layout, and is easy to learn how to use. It also offers users many ways to communicate, including instant messaging, voice calls, video calls, and voice recording, all with no limitations on usage.

Some of the cons of WeChat are that to use it, you need to have a working connection to the Internet. Though it can save you money by avoiding expensive phone plans, you must have a subscription to an Internet plan, or at least find free Wi-Fi in order to use it. Another issue is that when you sign up for WeChat, your privacy settings allow users to gain a lot of information about you, and add you as a contact very easily; make sure you change these privacy settings as soon as you sign up. In addition, the added features of WeChat such as Moments or Shake don’t add much to the communication experience.

The best apps like WeChat

There are some great alternatives to WeChat out there that offer you many of the same features. One of the most popular is WhatsApp, which is also very similar to WeChat in layout and execution, and has almost as many active users as WeChat. Kik, or Kik Messenger, is another app like WeChat that focusses on having fun while you talk, and allows link sharing, creating your own memes, and drawing while you chat. Skype is another popular alternative to WeChat, and was one of the pioneers of the free, online video chat, which is also similar to Google Hangouts, Google’s online communication platform that allows video and voice chatting, as well as screen-sharing and many other collaborative features.

To learn more about these, and all the great features of these competitors (and others), check out this article.

 

And that’s our introduction to WeChat! If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out the rest of the TechBoomers course on WeChat, including our next article on how to stay safe while using the app. We’ve also got you covered with step-by-step tutorials on how to download and install the app, how to create your account, and how to use WeChat. Start learning now and become a WeChat pro today!