Chomi is entering the social networking market that is dominated by Facebook and that has Google in denial about the death of Google+. In this review we took the Chomi offering for a spin and were looking for gems that could see it outlive the many who have tried and failed at taking on Facebook.
Starting up with Chomi
We installed the app on a Google Nexus 5X running Android Oreo (8.1.0). It is available on a plethora of platforms such as USSD, chomi.mobi, the iStore and the Play store at a size of 1.83mb. Registration is rather trivial in that you only need an email and a password and you’re in. What would have been nice to have is the ability to use your account with other social networks to log in – but we understand the rationale behind not going that route ;). After registering you are not encouraged to complete a profile, so you can dive right in.
Chomi’s interface is what one would expect from apps these days. It’s main menu is at the top of the screen and gives users the ability to share a thought, upload a picture, or upload a video. What was missing is the ability to tag someone in a post, however the ability to add a hashtag to your post does exist and a list of all the hashtags are quite prominent and occupies a menu item at the top of the screen. The app is riddled with Google ads which was disappointing because they don’t look/feel like the rest of the content on the platform.
It almost feel as though Chomi is developed as a web application that has been pushed through phonegap to generate a cross platform mobile app (we hold nothing against phonegap, we have seen some pretty slick cross platform apps that feel amazing under the thumb) and this is evident in the interface which is not as responsive as one would expect. There is some lag as the pages load when tapping on any of the menu items at the top of the screen, it caused us to sometimes double tap menu items because there is no indication that the content is busy loading. On many of the personal profile screens text and icons are overflowing the space they occupy and feels almost incomplete and rough around the edges.
The interface leaves a lot to be desired.
All content on the platform is user generated and comes in formats such as text, photo, and video with the ability to attribute it with hashtags for aggregated discovery. However, at the time of this review, because we didn’t follow anyone, most of the content on the main screen were admin generated content and nothing from the broader network. Under the “Photo Fun” menu you will find photo’s that has been uploaded by the boarder network.
Using Chomi as a social networking platform
Have a look at our review of the app in the video below.
The app does not feel as slick and as smooth as most apps we use on a daily basis. Given all the platforms that are being targeted one can only assume that its architecture is hybrid and this shows in most of the UI elements. Apart from the support of all South African languages the app does not have many stand out features that is required to draw the masses from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and we fear that that might be chip in the notch that will make or break Chomi.