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The lack of an independent desktop application had always been one of the few bones I wanted to pick with Whatsapp. Hunching over a handset every once in a few minutes during office hours can be somewhat laborious and continuously makes you wish for a convenient alternative. You just would do with anything that delivers that convenience on your PC without having to touch any extra gadgets and stuff.

For some time now, the Whatsapp web version, accessible via a web browser has been the principal go-to choice (Someone might want to scream Bluestacks, but it’s never been my favorite).

Whatsapp recently released an independent application, one that anyone can download and install onto their PC and they are good to go. Whereas one has to go http://web.whatsapp.com/ with the Whatsapp web version, this app only requires a one-time installation that can be launched like any other application. It is available for download at: https://www.whatsapp.com/download/.

You should be able to see something similar to the screenshot below;

Whatsapp - Download Page

It comes with the flexibility of choosing the download/installation language. The Windows installer says it’s meant for Windows 8 and higher, but I have tried it on Windows 7 and it still works perfectly.

The Windows installer is about 62 MB in size, and the installation process is pretty basic – the typical double-click to open, and choose to install. It takes a couple of minutes and the application is ready for use.

Upon completion of the installation, the application opens with a code scanning prompt similar to the one prompted by Whatsapp web browser portal.

Whatsapp - Install PageScanning the code grants you instant access to the standalone Whatsapp application (See screenshot below).

Whatsapp - First Page

This is slightly different from the web portal, shown below (for comparison purposes);

Whatsapp - Whatsapp Web Page Sample

The Pros:
1) Independence from browser activity. Some browsers freeze with resource-intensive activity and may crash. When this happens, all previously open windows will have to be re-opened, sometimes resulting into a break in the communication chain (in case you were chatting with someone).

2) Streamlined resource management. Sometimes Whatsapp may consume more resources than it ordinarily would. This may make a browser unresponsive, and may freeze or crash. With this application, it is easy to have it isolated (via Task manager for example, if you are using Windows) without affecting any other running programs.

3) The application comes with a separate, clearly defined menu, and this partly enhances the navigation and management of chats, groups and chat history.

The Cons:
1) Almost all features are still the same as for web.whatsapp.com. Clicking on a particular contact, for example, does not have the option of “Media” to show and/highlight media files that might have been exchanged between the two parties.

2) Like its web version predecessor, the application does not allow transfer of certain media types – such as mp3 music files. One would have to first convert them to mp4 format. The alternative would be changing the file extension, to mp4.