WhatsApp for BB Z10 review: about bloody time

The exclusion of WhatsApp from the Z10 was a crime against humanity. WhatsApp, along with Instagram, Skype, Flipboard and streaming radio apps, are the pillars of any smartphone app experience and a must-have. But when the Z10 launched, none of these apps were present. Today though, WhatsApp has casually appeared on BlackBerry World and it’s still the same, hassle-free instant messenger the world has come to love.

Talking’s overrated

I’ve used WhatsApp since its inception on the iPhone 3GS. It began so innocently, as an app with no marketing behind it, but one that thrived on word of mouth as its vessel for installation. And install it did. WhatsApp now sends over 10-billion messages daily and is the number one IM app in dozens of countries, mostly emerging markets such as South Africa, Seychelles and Slovenia. The app has legs, simply because it’s user-friendly and fuss-free.

The Z10 version of WhatsApp is no exception. I was forced to use the sideloaded version of WhatsApp for a few weeks and it was a bitter pill to swallow. The non-native WhatsApp crashed, hung, had no back button and seemed incongruous to the liquid feel of the Z10. I was glad to delete it this morning.

It’s a free app as well, under 7MB, installs in seconds and gets your social life back in track minus the rigmarole other IMs force on us. WhatsApp has been beautifully tweaked for the Z10. It’s as smooth as silk now, with a look and feel that practically mirrors the almighty unified inbox.

Looks to die for

With an IM, you don’t need fancy graphics. You need simplicity and speed. WhatsApp for Z10 delivers this in spades. As I said above, the unified inbox approach is excellent, and I’m glad WhatsApp took its time tweaking the app for maximum functionality. It truly uses the best features of the Z10 to shine. All chats, group messages, status updates and sundry have their own mini-Unified Inbox now, which is accessed with a left to right swipe. The same left swipe is used to go back from a chat to the main window. No fiddling with a physical key, just a quick gesture and onto the next conversation.

It’s exceptionally buttery and a fine new direction for WhatsApp. It feels so natural I’m not sure why the app never had it before. I think it’s because the Z10 is the best damn phone in the world, currently, and its gesture-happy core is now part and parcel of the WhatsApp experience.

On my previously hacked version of WhatsApp, sending content was a nightmare that caused it to crash. The native WhatsApp for Z10 delivers content in seconds. Tap the three lateral dots in the corner of the chat window and the option menu appears. From here, I can quickly send video, voice, images, my location, contact details, show info and mute the group. It’s great, it works.

Breathing room

It’s as if I can catch my breath again. WhatApp for Z10 is an excellent IM and the heart of any smartphone experience. I urge you to download it immediately.

Verdict: WhatsApp for Z10 redefines the IM experience yet again. It’s a must-have, plain and simple.

Score: 10/10

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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