Tuesday, 13 August 2013

WhatsApp Added Voice Chat Feature; A Review

Its pretty obvious that WhatsApp is the most widely used messenger in many countries. But recently we witnessed the emergence of voice oriented messengers like WeChat, Line etc. which not only offers better user interface but also provides the user with a lot more of options. Though these new generation messengers are mainly dedicated to one touch voice chat, it also supports 3G features like voice call and video call. This prompted WhatsApp to introduce one touch voice message feature. Here I am reviewing the WhatsApp Messenger about its new Voice chat messaging which they have implemented last week.

The most important and good part is that we don't need to download and install a new version of whatsapp to avail this new feature. All you got to do is just open whatsapp on your phone and you'd be surprised to see an icon of a mic next to the box for typing text message. The procedure is same as those of Wechat and Line. We just have to press and hold the Mic icon and record the message in the form of voice and the message is sent soon after the icon is released. The quality of the recorded voice is quite impressive. Voice is recorded in high bit rate MP3 format thus increasing the time consumed for sending the message. Moreover there's no provision to reduce the quality of the voice recorded. It works well in a 3G network but may struggle to match the pace when the network is 2G. Whereas Wechat and Line works efficiently in 2G network as well. Wechat has got an option to reduce the voice quality and hence the size of the voice message to speed up the chatting in case of poor network. This is an important feature which is found missing in WhatsApp.

Another factor which slows down the voice chat is the complexity involved in this process. For instance if I have to listen to a voice message I've received I need to download it, ie a download bar appears which might test our patience in case of a network failure. While in Wechat we can straightaway play the voice message without any downloading delay. This is apparently because of the low file size of the voice message in Wechat. WhatsApp shows the friends who are online by the timestamp "Online", whereas Wechat doesn't providing any online status about your friends. The "Last seen at.." indicates the time when the user signed out WhatsApp,this way knowing the online status makes us chat more active than without.

You should also check:

 Download Updated Version WhatsApp for Voice Chat
 Download Free WhatsApp for Windows/Mac PC

Another feature of Wechat which I found interesting is its music player action. Suppose if we get more than one voice message from a single contact we don't have to play all of the voice message, we just got to play the first voice message. After completing the first message it will automatically switch to the next. WhatsApp lacks this feature and we need to play messages one by one manually to hear each of them. Here I have shortlisted the pros and cons of Whatsapp which is given below.

PROS of WhatsApp Voice Messaging: 
  • MP3 quality voice recording.
  • Send or Delete voice messages in a single tap.
  • Easy to know if messages listened (blue mic icon) or not(grey mic icon) .
  • Works well in 3G network.
  • Enhanced Encryption of data.
CONS of WhatsApp Voice Messaging: 
  • High file size of the voice message.
  • Lacks the option to change sound quality.
  • Communication may become slow in 2G network.
  • Manual download of the voice messages disturbs the continuity of the conversation.
  • Need of playing each voice message separately.
So that was my review of the voice chat service in Whatsapp. I hope they'll fix all problems in the upcoming versions of Whatsapp.

'WhatsApp Added Voice Messaging Feature; A Review' is a Guest Post from Sreekanth KG, a B.tech student from India.
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