When comparing WhatsApp vs Riot, the Slant community recommends Riot for most people. In the question“What is the best team chat software?” Riot is ranked 6th while WhatsApp is ranked 16th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Straightforward interface
The interface is very simple, fast and easy to use. You can start using it as soon as the app has been downloaded - it does not require setting anything up or registering. You can communicate with anyone in your contacts list that also uses WhatsApp. Includes useful features like seeing when a contact is currently available or typing.
Pro Effortlessly builds your contacts by using your phone number as identification
WhatsApp will automatically find all of your contacts currently using Whatsapp and add them to your contacts. This makes it really easy to setup and given that it's the most popular messaging app it's likely that a lot of your contacts are already using it.
Pro Widely used
WhatsApp reported 800 million users in April, 2015. Your friends are most likely already using WhatsApp, so it's easy to get setup. Also it's the overall highest rated messaging app on the play store.
Pro Message mirroring on web app
WhatsApp can be used from the desktop via Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. Accessing it requires using the Android app to scan the QR code that's presented on web.whatsapp.com.
Pro One-on-one texts can be encrypted
WhatsApp has implemented end to end encryption for messages sent on it's service. Even WhatsApp has no way to read a users messages.
Pro Web and mobile (iOS, Android) versions available
Pro Supports text, voice, video
Integrates with Jitsi for multi-party video chats
Pro Uses Matrix, the open communications protocol
Pro Very good and simple interface
Riot has a very simple interface, adding the ability for more unexperienced PC-Users to use it.
Pro Widgets support
Want to watch that flick at YouTube and discuss it at the same time? Have Grafana graphs stacked above your DevOps team chat? Collaboratively edit Google Docs and chat over without switching applications? This is possible with Riot.
Pro Bridges to other networks
You're not confined within Riot's or even Matrix garden, and you don't have to make users of other networks switch to Matrix.
Con Single device
You cannot use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices (e.g. a tablet, a PC and a cellphone). The account is tied to the device with the specific cellphone number. Chat history is deleted when you sign in to a new account, unless you have created a backup.
Con Hard to migrate history cross platform
Migrating your chat history from Android to iOS or the other way around is not so simple. In some cases it requires a 3rd party app and in some the only way is to migrate specific chats one by one.
Con Shares meta data with Facebook
WhatsApp shares your messaging meta data with Facebook if you do not opt-out in the settings. If you use the same phone number for WhatsApp and Facebook, the profiles can easily be linked.
Con No cloud sync
Messages are not stored on WhatsApp server for privacy and security reasons.
Con Limitation on shareable file sizes
WhatsApp now allows users to share files of any type, but there is still a size limit.
Not open source.
Con Tied to carrier phone number
WhatsApp cannot be used by people without a smart phone with an active cell plan. If your phone is lost or damaged, or if your phone number changes, you cannot get messages sent by friends without them updating your phone number. You cannot send message to them until you are able to get SMS messages at your phone number.
Con Web interface uses message mirroring
To use your computer to send messages your phone must be on with a consistent data connection.
Con Still in active yet early development
There is clearly a User Experience issue esp. in web version which the developers are aware of and are working hard to improve. They've got the concept concrete, so UX won't be an issue in no time. Most often used parts are functional, but some are yet not.
The success of riot depends on how fast the development is, or it'll get outdated too quickly as developers of Signal and Telegram have predicted.