This homegrown Vietnamese messaging and video app brings effective communication to the masses, giving other international communication apps like WhatsApp and Viber a good run for their money. The app is specifically designed to run on lower-end Android mobile devices and unreliable 3G networks, although it seamlessly integrates into newer iOS devices too.
The sleek design looks good on any iOS or Google Android device. Each user option such as video chat and voice call is set on a separate UI screen with a dominant blue theme, giving a nice uncluttered impression. The video quality is excellent HD but also depends on how great the WiFi or 3G connectivity is. You can customize your profile with a pic and on the Group Chat or Friends Nearby options, you can see other users neatly stacked with their profiles. The interface rating is 4 out of 5.
Zalo is a something in-between WhatsApp, Viber, and LINE, combining Instant Messaging and Voice Call capabilities but also incorporating great social tools. You can Video Chat, access Group Chat with different focus topics such as Education, Tech and Relationships, Microblogging and follow Friends or Celebrity accounts. You can search for friends on the app by name. These public chat rooms are a great addition and make Zalo stand out even from other well-known competitors such as WhatsApp and Viber.
Apart from connecting users easily on a single platform, the app affords you to reduce costs especially on expensive or unreliable 3G networks. It is no wonder Zalo has almost 30 million registered users in Vietnam. It packs all the other features of regular social networks such as Facebook, and you can actually link your Zalo profile to your Facebook and Google+ profiles. Using the app is just as simple as registering with your phone number and importing your contacts from Facebook or Google Plus.
The latest version of the app has an updated UI, and also allows you to create a photo album as part of your shared media. It also introduces the new ‘Group Board’ feature which gives better collaboration with other group members.
Both the Zalo Google Play app and the App Store versions are free, with no in-app purchases. I think the feature deserve 5/5.
Performance and User Experience
Both the iOS and Android apps boast high performance, and there are very few bugs in the app. Some users have complained about being locked out of their accounts and being unable to receive notifications, especially when sent from countries outside of Vietnam. Performance deserves a 4.
The app requires a minimum Android 2.3. Therefore, this is an app for all Android devices. The iOS version requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. All-in-all the compatibility gets 5 out of 5.
- Great UI
- High-level security features
- Offers actual cost savings.
- Limited language support
- Occasional locking of accounts without notice
- There are some bugs.