WhatsApp Voice Calls Review: Works On All Data Networks, Slow & Laggy Interface

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WhatsApp calling feature works on 2G, 3G, and Wi-Fi but has frequent lags, call drops, and echoes. (Image via WhatsApp.com)

Popular, cross-platform messaging client WhatsApp has started rolling out its much awaited calling feature via an invite-only system. Have you tried it already? We know that it?s still in beta testing but do you think it?ll fare well against other apps that offer voice calls?

If you?re still waiting for the feature to finally become official, you may check out our review below where we detailed our experience with the elusive WhatsApp voice calls.

Works best on Wi-Fi and 3G

WhatsApp has recently opened it gates and offered voice calls to all Android users, albeit in an unofficial, invite-only version. There?s also reports that some iPhone users are getting the feature. The app?s calling feature for its iOS version is still in its initial stages while a number of Android users is already enjoying the perk since the tests for Google?s mobile OS reportedly started back in January.

If you own an Android smartphone and you?re itching to give it a go, you may do so by following this guide. We tried it out and we?re happy to know that it works well on both Wi-Fi and mobile data networks. However, the new feature is not without flaws. When we tried to monitor data consumption, we found out that engaging in WhatsApp calls consumes a lot of data, although not as much as when you?re watching HD YouTube clips.

It works really efficiently when using 3G and Wi-Fi (it will theoretically work on 4G LTE too but we have tried that). Meanwhile, upon switching to a 2G connection we noticed that there?s a significant drop in call quality. Voices started to sound funny and there?s a definite voice lag. Sometimes, the call just doesn?t go through and the recipient won?t even know he?s called util after a few seconds.

Noticeable lags and echoes

In a few instances, we also heard a beeping sound in the middles of a call. We checked if those were caused by network disconnection or an incoming message and, indeed, a ?reconnecting? icon is displayed but there?s certainly no new messages. Calls drops are also frequent but this is most likely due to poor Internet connection. Of course, the problem will be more pressing if the person you?re calling also experiences connectivity issues.

Yes, majority of the calling feature flaws we experience is perhaps caused by using a slow 2G connection. But on some occasions, the voice delay and echo during calls persist even when we?re using a fast broadband connection. We tried calling some contacts a number of times and there are those instances when the other party does not get the call but the call keeps on ringing on our end.

So, to conclude, this voice calling beta feature still needs more attention from the WhatsApp dev team and it?s definitely recommended to use a fast Wi-Fi or 3G network. How about you? Do you have the feature running on your phone? You can share your experience in the comments section below.

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Photo Credit: ?WhatsApp Media Kit

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