Matrix is a free open source and secure chat system.

I would like to know if now is the time to replace email with matrix.

So today I decided to test the Element matrix client (https://app.element.io/).

It is made by the group developing matrix, so it respects privacy.

There are web, iOS and android apps, available on the app stores.

I created my account in the web app without email, it is a good thing since I want to replace email. The address of account is @username:matrix.org.

Logging in

  • on the web app: username and password are needed
  • on the iOS app: username and password are needed, it connects to matrix.org by default and it is possible to use other homeservers
  • on the android app: @username:matrix.org and password are needed

Chat

  • 1-1 works well on all platforms
  • Group chat works well on all platforms

Verifying the session

I connected on the web app and my phone simultaneously, I got popups asking me to verify my session. It is a bit unclear how it works, it seems there are no buttons on the iOS and android apps to proceed, only a skip button. On the web app, I chose Compare Emojis then a set of emojis appears both on the phone and in the web app then I clicked the button They matched or They don't match.

Calls

  • 1-1 Voice call: It works fine between all platforms, it is a bit slow to connect after accepting on android.
  • 1-1 Video call: It works fine between the web app and iOS, on android I can't receive or make video calls, they disconnect after a few seconds
  • Group video call: It is using jitsi and it didn't work at all, none of devices connected to the conference call

Encryption

The messages are encrypted, the web app created a passphrase which I stored in a secure manner. After I logged in again on the web app, I was asked for the passphrase.

Conclusion

It looks promising, chat and voice calls already work fine, I will keep using it. Self hosting a homeserver (synapse) requires time since it is updated frequently and takes a lot of ressources so I'm waiting for efficient and mature homeserver software.