Chat + is an OTT (Over the top) instant messaging app from Vodafone Uganda, it seeks to join the likes of Whatsapp, Telegram, Messenger, iMessage among others offering more in some instances than all the above do but, not without its cons. The ubiquity of Whatsapp makes it the ultimate challenger to beat and so I beg you forgive the comparisons i’m yet to throw your way between the two.
Chat + targets the youth, the ultimate market for almost every marketer out there since they represent the future. The Ugandan populous comprises of a large percentage of this demography and they will likely give Chat + a reception. It won’t stop at them, students communities are also welcome as well as non-Vodafone customers.
However, Vodafone customers have a benefit of a zero-rated experience against their data plans since they won’t be charged a dime for using Chat +. Call it the lockin experience of yesteryear upheld by the likes of Apple’s iMessage. Not to deviate from the lockin experience, registration is pretty simple, submit your Vodafone number on which a pass code will be sent to authenticate the app and you’re good to go.
Just like Whatsapp basic functionalities include instant messaging, media exchange/file transfers and both video & voice calls but Chat + goes Skype to include video conferencing, app-to-mobile calls, app-to-International call, app-to-PSTN calls and an extra mile of receiving calls from outside the app. Sounds pretty awesome right?
However the full functionality of the app is limited to Vodafone subscribers since they benefit the most out of Chat + from on-net calling, otherwise calls outside Vodafone boundaries will be charged a penny equivalent to the cost of an SMS.
The UI & UX
The UI is painted in Vodafone colors of Red and White categorizing All, as all contacts in your address book, Chats for your active chats,chat history, a search and group chat option and recents acts as your call log.
The down bar has all, for all contacts, Chat + for only fellow Chat + signees and favorites as a docket for your favorite ones as it reads.
The top menu bar toggles the menu that includes a dial pad, charge sheet, Invite friends, find friends, help and settings that help you tweak a few things here and there.
Navigating the app is straightforward with no distractions thrown your way since everything is as labeled as it depicts and it is the one thing I loved about the app.
The app crashed often times than not but I guess this owes to the beta nature (1.0.6) of the one I reviewed till I updated to a stable release that is now live both in the App and Play Stores (1.0.8). I having a handful of Chat + users was also a drawback which limited app to app interactions but nonetheless, the experience of chats with fellow Chat + users was seamless.
Chat + stands a chance if Vodafone manages to draw its subscriber’s into using the app as the case with its self-care app, My Vodafone. This is a staple on many of its subscriber’s smart gadgets. My colleague did an awesome review of the app in question. This is well polished up, something Chat + candidly needs to borrow from it. A clean UI and an easy UX will only play to its favor if well implemented.