LINE App Review

A review of the Line app for free calls and messaging - WhatsApp alternative

LINE app logo
line.naver.jp/Naver Japan Corp./Wikimedia Commons

LINE is an app for smartphones that offers free VoIP calls and instant messaging, along with many other features. It has made a serious reputation in many countries in Asia as well as the West as a WhatsApp alternative.

It has even overtaken apps like Skype in terms of the number of users registered and using it. There are currently around 200 million LINE users. Like WhatsApp and Viber, it registers users through their mobile phone numbers, and offers free instant messaging and all the auxiliary features, and also free voice calls between LINE users.

It also offers paid calls to mobile devices and landline users.

It is also grooming a small social network around its service. The LINE app is also often used in countries where WhatsApp and Viber calls are restricted. 

Pros of Using Line

  • Free calls between LINE users.
  • Interesting list of features, including stickers, video games, merchandise and more.
  • A huge number of users, thereby increasing the chances of making free calls. 
  • Allows paid but very cheap calls to landline and mobile users. 
  • Integrates a social network service.
  • Easy to set up and use, using mobile phone number for registration.
  • Versions for Windows PC and Mac also available, along with devices running iOS and Android.

Cons of the App

  • No video calling.
  • No enforcement for security and privacy through encryption. 
  • Still unknown in some countries. 

Review

LINE has become one of the most popular VoIP and messaging service in Asia, and in other parts of the world.

It is a neat and well-made app with some good service behind that is serving more than 200 million users worldwide. This huge user base makes it interesting in the sense that you have more chances of making friends and make calls to them for free.

With LINE, you can make unlimited free calls to other LINE app users who also have LINE installed on their portable devices.

You can also send and receive text messages with them for free.

What do you require? You need a smartphone or tablet that the LINE app supports. Then you need to install the app which is free, and you are good to go as long as you have an Internet connection, which can be through 3G or 4G data plans, or Wi-Fi.

Supported Devices and Setup

Which devices are supported? You can have a version for your Windows PC (7 and 8) and Mac. But more interestingly, you have versions for iOS (the iPhone, iPad and iPod), Android devices and BlackBerry devices.

Setting up is a breeze. I installed and used it on an Android device. Once installed and launched, it registers you through your phone. It tries to locate you and even gets your phone number automatically, but you need to check that, as it has not been exact in my case. It picked up an old phone number no longer in use. Then you need to verify using a code that is sent to your mobile phone through SMS.

Agreeably, it reads the SMS and extracts the code automatically. During the registration process, it asks you for your email address and your password, so it can peruse your emails and addresses to construct your contact list. I don’t feel at ease with that, and this will be the case for many people as well.

 

You can opt out of this, and I would recommend you to. Just select Register Later upon the prompt for your email address and password. You can then use the app as you wish and build up your profile.

The LINE app is used very often in cases where people cannot make calls using WhatsApp or Viber. There are countries that restrict free calling through those apps, mostly to protect the financial interests of their local telcos. LINE somewhat manages to pass through the filter, so many people use LINE instead. It is still unclear why LINE is not blacklisted in these countries. One possible explanation is the relatively smaller user base, but this is changing.

There is apprehension that it may be in the black list soon. 

When you want to call someone who is not on the LINE app, over their mobile or landline numbers, you can still use LINE to call them but the call will not be free. Instead of paying for expensive mobile minutes, you can use your LINE (prepaid) credits to call on VoIP rates that are quite cheap.

This service is called LINE Out. As a matter of example, calls from anywhere to the US and Canada cost one cent per minute. Other popular destinations cost 2 and 3 cents per minutes, while other less common destinations cost more. Whether you will be a winner will depend on the destination you are calling to. Check their rates.

Line App Features

LINE makes a lot of noise about it stickers and emoticons. There is a market for that, especially among the young ones. So, if you are in that, you will like the cartoons and other animations offered, often centered around manga characters. Some of them are on sale. While some people really like this feature, I find it useless.  

You can share multimedia files among LINE app users. The files you send can be recorded voice files, video files and pictures. The voice and video files you send may be recorded on the spot and sent.

You can organize group messages with up to 100 people at once. There are many ways of adding friends, among which are the traditional search, but also by shaking the phones close to one another. You can also share the QR codes.You can turn LINE into your own social network.

The Home feature allows you to place a timeline, a bit like Facebook and Twitter, and allows your friends to comment.

Line compares favorably with direct competitors WhatsApp and Viber. WhatsApp's only advantage over it is its popularity, with its nearly a billion users, and also the end-to-end encryption it offers to ensure privacy.

LINE offers VoIP callings which are cheaper than traditional telephony when calling landline and mobile numbers. WhatsApp does not offer that.

When it comes to Viber, the latter has more if we count the ability for video calling, but the LINE app is still more popular in certain markets. LINE offers more features and a better worked and more intuitive interface than the two others.

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