When comparing IMO vs WhatsApp, the Slant community recommends IMO for most people. In the question“What is the best team chat software?” IMO is ranked 20th while WhatsApp is ranked 54th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Video call support
Pro Beautiful User Interface
Although IMO has a comparable, and in some cases superior, feature set when compared to the competition its key selling point is its interface.
From LifeHacker when it won "Best IM Client":
Signing on, navigating chats by tapping the tabs at the bottom, searching for buddies, and virtually any other operation is easy to find and use. The app, itself, is very quick. Even sending a voice IM, if you don't feel like typing, is responsive and sends quickly. Everything imo does it does well, but it's excellent navigation really makes it top notch.
IMO also has a fully functional website that you can use for chat while on your desktop or laptop. This really puts IMO ahead of the competition as you can use the same system on all your devices so you don't have to deal with overlapping notifications etc. (Note: IM+ also has this feature)
It should also be noted that it has the highest rating in the App Store due to both the UI and its stability.
Pro Easy to switch between conversations with tabs
Tabbed chats make it easy to switch between conversations
Pro Lists and chat histories are searchable
Both your buddy lists and chat histories are searchable.
Pro Accounts can be linked so you don't have to sign in to several accounts
Pro Push notifications
Pro Concurrent sessions
Concurrent sessions allow you to be logged in on your desktop while also being logged in on your phone.
Pro Chat groups
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 Widely used
WhatsApp reported 1.5 billion users in 2018. Your friends are most likely already using WhatsApp, so it's easy to get setup.
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 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 Signal protocol
Whatsapp uses the state-of-the-art Signal protocol that ensure strong end-to-end encryption.
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.
Con No support for third-party instant messaging networks
On March 3, 2014, IMO will start discontinuing support for all third-party instant messaging networks.
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 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 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.
Not open source.
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 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 16 MB size limit.
Con Web interface uses message mirroring
To use your computer to send messages your phone must be on with a consistent data connection.