Last week I spent some time testing the new version of WhatsApp for desktop, and was pleasantly surprised by just how well it works.

If you already use WhatsApp on your phone, or via the WebApp extension for either iOS or Windows, it’s pretty much more of the same.

In real terms, the desktop app is just WhatsApp installed on your Pc or laptop, an extension of your smartphone, and works exactly the same.  And that’s not a bad thing.

As WhatsApp say themselves:

 “Like WhatsApp Web, our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone.”

The app literally mirrors the conversations and messages from your mobile device and it’s all synced, so you can switch between either seamlessly, and with next to no hassle.

But, unfortunately, you do need your phone to access WhatsApp for desktop, and yes, your phone needs to be connected to the internet for it all to work. But for most people, this won’t be an issue, as let’s be honest, these days most people are hardly ever without their phone, so it’s only a minor issue, if an issue at all.

If there is a difference, it’s that WhatsApp desktop allows for much longer messages to be written faster and you can share files and images etc., faster, because you have a full size keyboard and all the advantages that using a PC or laptop have by default.

And just like the phone app, the new desktop version lets you message away with friends, family, and colleagues. The real difference, is that you can just alt-tab whenever you need to write messages or keep up with an online chat while your phone doesn’t need to come out of your pocket.

I found the desktop app very similar to the Web App that’s been around for a while, and having the same access desktop notifications, and keyboard shortcuts, is, I feel, a nice touch.

WhatsApp for desktop is fast and responsive, and it also comes with the same standard encryption as default that the Facebook owned WhatsApp turned on for all its users earlier in the year.

The document sharing feature while standard on most desktop and mobile messaging apps, is another nice feature of WhatsApp for desktop.

If there is a downside to WhatsApp for desktop, it’s that I found the whole verification part of the install a bit fiddly and annoying, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s worth it in the end.

With more than a billion users worldwide, WhatsApp has proved it’s good at what it does, and for me, it’s a useful and agile little app to have on your computer. You can download WhatsApp for Windows and Mac now from FileHippo!