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While traditional voice calls and SMS are on the defensive, WhatsApp seems to be taking over.

Each day, WhatsApp‘s 1.2 billion users send tens of billions of messages to each other. The numbers are staggering. Staggering enough, in fact, to make you think that WhatsApp holds all the cards when it comes to instant messaging apps. But it doesn’t.

With over 800 million users, Viber is WhatsApp’s closest competitor, and it too has a steadily growing user base. Yet somehow, you’ll barely hear Viber mentioned in the U.S. and the U.K.

viber vs whatsapp

This is largely because WhatsApp managed to capture a greater number of users early on. This caused a network effect that essentially trapped users into needing to use WhatsApp. Their friends were all using it, after all.

But with Viber’s feature list being far more impressive than WhatsApp’s, the game is far from over. As more people learn about Viber, more people will likely see the benefits of switching messaging services. Allow me to explain.

But first, please note, Viber did not pay me to write this article. I just like their service a hell of a lot more than WhatsApp’s.

There Are Similarities, But They’re Limited

Given that WhatsApp and Viber are both messaging apps, there’s a good deal of overlap in the features that each app offers. For instance, both:

In other words, both are very respectable messaging apps. They do what you expect. And they do it pretty well. But on top of the IM basics we’ve all come to expect, Viber piles on a host of other features that leave WhatsApp in the dust.

Take a look at these and let us know in the comments which you think would be most useful to you.

1. VoIP Features

Both WhatsApp and Viber users can call and message anyone they’re connected to within the app completely free of charge. But this is as far as WhatsApp goes. If you want to call someone who doesn’t use WhatsApp, tough. You can’t.

This isn’t the case with Viber, however.

Viber includes Viber Out, a fully-fledged VoIP feature that allows worldwide calls to mobile and landline numbers for a surprisingly low rate. You just have to load up your account with some credit via credit card or PayPal, and you can call anyone you like. Even if they don’t use Viber.

This essentially means Viber is a decent replacement for Skype Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives Are you frustrated with Skype and searching for alternatives? One of these fantastic video chat and calling apps available on almost all platforms can help you make the switch. Read More  or any other app you use to make international calls.

2. Desktop Access

Yes, WhatsApp has Mac and Windows desktop apps, but these only offer instant messaging features. If you want to make a voice call, you’ll have to use WhatsApp’s mobile apps.

Viber’s desktop apps, on the other hand, are far more impressive.

viber desktop

With these apps, you have access to all the usual IM features. But you can also make voice and video calls to other Viber users. And you can make audio calls to landline and mobile numbers using Viber Out, too. Oh, Viber also has a Linux app!

3. Public Accounts and Chats

Viber claims to be “the world’s most comprehensive communication experience.” And to live up to this claim, they also host public accounts. You can access these via the Public button at the bottom of the app.

viber public chats

These accounts are usually set up by brands or celebrities so they can update or interact with an audience on Viber. There are also other groups related to special interests, such as photography Improve Your Photography With These 8 Facebook Groups Improve Your Photography With These 8 Facebook Groups Want to improve your photography? These Facebook groups will help you. You'll find constructive feedback, tutorials, and tips on everything from framing to editing. Read More  and politics.

The interaction you can have with public accounts depends on the settings chosen by the account admins. Usually these are just streams of updates, rather like a Twitter feed. Sometimes they are public chats between the writers of a publication.

Often the only interaction you can have with these accounts is to “like” the updates. Some accounts also allow you to send private messages.

4. Hidden Chats

If you’re having a chat that you want to hide from prying eyes, Viber makes this pretty easy.

All you have to do is click on the name of the person or group you’re chatting with. Click Chat info, then Hide this chat. You’ll be asked to set a PIN, which acts as a password, so only people with the PIN can access the chat.

This is a quick and easy way to keep sensitive information private, and is a feature that WhatsApp doesn’t offer.

5. Gaming

If you’re into smartphone gaming, Viber has a little something for you. It’s not much, but it’s another feature it has that WhatsApp doesn’t.

Within the Viber app, you can find a list of games that allow you to play with your Viber contacts.

viber games

These are not games within the app, but are games created by Viber that can connect to your account so you can challenge your friends. You can play these games even if you’re not a Viber user, though.

These games include:

Is It Time to Switch?

On their own, these features are unlikely to convince you to drop WhatsApp in favor of Viber. In fact, you’ll probably just stick to whichever platform most of your friends and family use.

But perhaps you’ll be tempted to give Viber a try. Maybe see if it’s a viable alternative to Skype. Or you might just start using Viber alongside WhatsApp.

Either way, it’s important to know that WhatsApp isn’t the only popular messaging app out there right now. Viber is just one of many alternatives. And in my view, it’s the best.

Are these features enough to make you switch to Viber? If not, which of these features would you most like to see WhatsApp introduce to its own platform? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Ben
    April 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    The best feature of Viber is that you can use the same profile on your Desktop, Tablet and smartphone.

    Your smartphone does not even have to be turned on to chat on your tablet or PC.

    You can drag and drop files on the desktop version from windows explorer.

  2. sandeep
    April 23, 2017 at 1:02 am

    UI is better on which ? Why try and do 20+ ugly things !
    Case closed !
    Rest is manageable

  3. Sarjo
    April 23, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Am with the view WhatsApp is the best instant messaging application. Also with WhatsApp you can record voice message more than an hour long, whilst Viber the maximum is only 30 seconds. so I think WhatsApp is the best

  4. Emm
    April 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I know whats app is popular but never used it and i don't plan now use only viber amd messenger but plan to get rid of messenger too annoying

  5. thio
    April 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    The most important reason is not mentioned:

    Viber is not owned (yet) by Facebook. That's making it way more secure and you know that the facebook ad providers do not use your mobile number to check out your contacts and via facebook the companies and pages you like.

  6. Affan
    April 22, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Good to know about these features. I am definitely going to try them. Only hurdle I feel in switching to viber is that all my friends are not using viber but everyone is using whatsapp.

  7. Wicked
    April 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Poor reasons. Whats up is still better

  8. Matt
    April 22, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I've been using viber for several years... the cheap calls to international landlines/mobiles are a winner for me. It's useful when you're in a foreign country for a night or two and you don't want to buy a sim card too, you can use your hotel wifi to simply make local calls. It's not ALWAYS better than Skype, but if one isn't working well the other usually is.

  9. Pedro
    April 22, 2017 at 10:54 am

    You forgot to say that viber works on desktop withouth the phone connected. Whatsapp web requires that the phone is connected.

    • Ahmadi
      April 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      this

  10. HH
    April 22, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I prefer Viber but only a few of my contacts use Viber. Most use Whatsapp. This limits my use of Viber and forces me to use Whatsapp.

  11. Daredevil
    April 22, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Try telegram.. you will forget all these shitty spying apps in no time.

    • Nerdy
      April 23, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Telegram is the best...

  12. Bikas
    April 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    There is even more important feature - there'll be absolutely none of your contacts on Viber, so you can avoid those pesky friends.

    Out of all Voice/Video call services I've tested, Viber stands last. Even on high speed broadband on both ends there's huge lag and stutter. I mean how freaking awful they can be?

    Offering 2000 services is nothing when even single one doesn't work half decently.

    • mark gorman
      April 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      my experience has been the opposite on the lag and stutter.... personally worked faster than a skype and tango call. I guess it depends on internet speed and quality and all those techy details...

    • PirateMF
      April 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      You had me at "avoid those pesky friends"...

    • mark gorman
      April 21, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      my experience has been the opposite. my viber has been better than tango and skype calls. I guess it is internet speed and those other techy details

    • superkitebr
      April 21, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Same here. I had a Viber Video call today from Brazil to Hungary. The quality wasn't nearly as good as Skype. Quite laggy. The audio was extremely low, and I had to edit the system volume for my headsets. I don't think bandwidth was an issue because I have a 30Mbit connection and the other side has at least that, but probably higher.

      It really would be nice to have the same quality of Whatsapp + Skype, bundled into just one application.

      Has anyone tried Wired? I'd like to, but it looks a little complicated to use.