First look at WeChat’s brand new Mac desktop application. It’s pretty solid for a first version.
Very similar to web version of WeChat.
- File transfer between phone and desktop.
- Clean UI consistent with mobile experience.
- Menu bar notifications.
- Very fast, pulls contacts and transfers files in the blink of an eye.
- No sync of chat history from phone to desktop.
- No moments, one of the key selling points of the mobile app.
- Feels like an add on to mobile experience not an equal partner.
- Need to re-login every time you open the app.
- Overly simplistic preferences.
To download it just head to WeChat’s dedicated Mac app download page. They only want you to do one thing on this page.
Once you’ve downloaded the 9mb file and opened the app for the first time you’ll be presented with this QR code.
Scanning the QR code with the WeChat app on your phone is super simple and after clicking OK you’re logged in almost instantaneously.
The UI is clean, simple and will instantly feel very familiar to anyone who uses the mobile app. Overall the team who built this did an excellent job of keeping consistency with the mobile app. Notice the “File Transfer” chat, this allows you to send images between your phone and your desktop much faster than almost anything else I’ve tried (dropbox, email etc).
The emoji selection is also straight from the mobile app, but an additional “default” tab lets you access a subset of the beautifully designed native OS X emoji.
An easy to use built in screen capture tool is the second of two desktop only features and feels incredibly solid. The only challenge I had was switching between OS X apps once I had entered screenshot mode. This is mainly because I run everything full screen and use ⌘-tab to switch between apps which doesn’t seem to work once you’re in screen capture mode.
The group chat ui is also well designed with a handy tab at the top showing all members of the group.
Clicking your profile opens up a nicely designed little card where you can change your easily change your status.
Clicking the QR icon in the top right corner of the profile card brings up your QR code. A nice feature, but not sure quite how useful it is.
In the current version preferences feel like an after thought. Very simply designed and poor labelling and explanation of what the settings control.
Overall great first go, looking forward to seeing how they develop it. Reading about the strategy that made WhatsApp so successful there seems to be a lot of similarities in the way WeChat is developing by prioritising user experience over revenue.
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