Although WhatsApp has been around on Windows Phone for quite a while now, the app has never been as good as its Android and iOS counterparts. Apart from the usual interface and live tile support issues, WhatsApp (both on Mango and WP8) didn’t even have lock screen notifications. Thankfully, the app’s latest update has brought this much-needed functionality to Windows Phone. In addition to a better notification system, it is now easier to personalize the app as well, thanks to a host of new options in the app’s settings. The attachment options have seen some improvement as well, letting you share media, contacts and your location with your contacts.
After updating, the most noticeable change in WhatsApp is its revamped live tile. The functionality hasn’t changed, and you still get to see the total unread count from all chat sessions, but the tile now has a new design that makes it closely resemble the stock Messaging app.
WhatsApp has always suffered from the lack of lock screen notifications, but the issue has finally been addressed in this update. Things still aren’t perfect though, as the notification isn’t persistent, and there is no indication that there are unread messages if you miss the initial banner. However, it’s a start, and certainly better than having no lock screen notifications at all.
Within the app, improvements have been made in two areas: attachments and settings. While chatting, you can now send audio files, videos, pictures (from library and camera), contact cards and your location. Thanks to the new options in the settings menu, it is now possible to configure the return/enter key to send messages.
The backup feature has been around on Android and iOS for ages, and it has now made its way to Windows Phone as well. It keeps all your messages saved so that you don’t lose them in case of any application crashes. Once you have created a backup, the app shows the exact time and date when you last used the feature.
Some might say that WhatsApp for WP still isn’t as good as it is on some of the other platforms, but it’s been pretty good for a daily driver in our experience. Sure there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, but in terms of functionality, the app can hold its own against any other Windows Phone app. If you already have WhatsApp on your device, simply update it from the Store. New users can grab the app for free by heading to the link provided below. WhatsApp works on both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.