A few years ago, if we were working with our PC and we received a WhatsApp message, we had to interrupt our work, take the smartphone out of our pocket and type the answer from there. Now we can answer directly from our desktop computer, which is much more comfortable and faster (who does not appreciate being able to use the keyboard?).
But although at first there was only one alternative to do this (WhatsApp Web), some time later Facebook also launched WhatsApp desktop app, allowing us to choose between the two.
So what are the differences between the two platforms and which one should we choose in our case?
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Starting the two WhatsApps
If we access whatsapp.com, we can open both the web version of the application (we can access directly by opening web.whatsapp.com) and download the desktop app for Windows x64, Windows x86 and Mac OS X. For the realization of this article I have opted for the first of the downloads, obtaining an .exe file of just over 130 MB.
In both cases, the way to log in once WhatsApp is open will be to scan the QR code they show us from the mobile version.
The problem with WhatsApp Desktop is that it can only be installed on computers running Windows 8 (or higher) or macOS 10.10 (or higher): the rest of versions of both OS, as well as the rest of operating systems (Linux, BSD, etc) they only have the WhatsApp Web option.
Aesthetics and functionality
Both versions of WhatsApp have the same aesthetic (with light and dark versions in both cases) and practically the same interface design, regardless of some other icon that differs (The ‘New Chat’ function is represented by a plus sign in WhatsApp Desktop and by a speech bubble in WhatsApp Web).
In terms of functionality, being also quite similar, WhatsApp Desktop beats the web version due to the limitation in the keyboard shortcuts of the latter: only users of the desktop version will be able to use WhatsApp keyboard shortcuts to carry out tasks such as changing the reading status of messages, moving between chats, silencing them, etc.
Another detail that favors the desktop version is the possibility to view the number of unread messages from the same task bar, option that disappears when loaded as one more tab of the browser.
What’s more, the ‘Desktop Settings’ section of the WhatsApp configuration (from which we can establish that the messaging tool starts automatically when logging in to the operating system) is only available, as expected, in the desktop application.
If you wonder which of the two you should choose in view of what is exposed in this article, the only possible answer is a forceful … “The one that best suits your needs”.
It is obvious that users of older computers and / or minority operating systems will opt for the web version, and it is possible that among those who spend the day sitting in front of the PC, the ‘desktop’ version enjoys greater popularity.