May 29, 2013 10:42 am

Living with WeChat on the Nokia Asha 308

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Instant messaging app WeChat has proved particularly popular on Windows Phone and other platforms, and the app is now available for Nokia Asha Touch. I’ve been getting to grips with WeChat on my Nokia Asha 308 to see what it’s like to live with.

Signing up to WeChat is a simple process. Just pick the country you’re in, and then enter your phone number. You also have to be aged over 13 to register. Once you’ve entered those details, you’ll be sent a text code to register with.

We found that simply opening the text message was enough, without even needing to enter the code into a verification box. After that, just add your name, and you’re good to go.

The first thing you’ll see when you open WeChat is the ‘Chats’ page. From here you can do everything you need to add friends and start conversations. Click on the menu button at the top left and you’ll be met with the following options: Start Chat, Contacts, Social, Settings, Delete Chats and Exit.

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Adding contacts is easy; simply tap the menu button, click ‘Social’, and then enter the phone number of the person you want to add, or add them from your contacts list.

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When you actually start a conversation with a friend, the message thread looks like any other instant messaging / text messaging service. You can write messages to friends, add emoticons, and it’s all incredibly simple. You can also select a number of friends to send the message to.

WeChat offers a particularly brilliant feature though; instead of typing, simply press and hold the call button on your Nokia Asha, and you can record voice messages. As soon as you let go of the call button, the recording ends, and it’s automatically sent to your friends.

The idea of bite-sized audio snippets may seem like a strange concept when you can simply pick up the phone and have a proper conversation, but it’s actually incredibly convenient.

It’s just as easy to use as sending a text message – you can ask friends to meet you at a particular time without fear of getting into a long and drawn out conversation, for instance – but it’s actually a lot quicker, without having to search for the right characters, letters or emoticons.

You can also add photographs to your conversations – when you’ve opened a chat thread simply click the menu button and tap either ‘Take a photo’ or ‘Choose photo albums’ – letting you select between existing snaps or taking a new one especially for your conversation.

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With WeChat running in the background, you’ll get notification sounds and vibrating when you receive messages, making it just as convenient as any of your Nokia Asha’s integrated instant messaging or emailing features.

Overall, WeChat is a great app to use. It’s so easy for instant messaging apps to feel gimmicky, aimed at teenagers or overfilled with features – but this definitely isn’t the case here. Even the fact you only need a phone number to add friends – rather than messing around with usernames – makes things a lot simpler, and I really did love the ability to add quick voice messages in place of text.