LINE vs WhatsApp Comparison

Comparison Between Two Leading VoIP Instant Messaging Apps

LINE logo
LINE logo. line.me

Both WhatsApp and LINE allow you to make and receive free calls on your mobile phone and are among the most popular instant messaging apps. But which one is to be made the major communication app for saving money on calls and for fluid and productive communication? This comparison takes into consideration main criteria like popularity, cost, features, and others to determine this. 

Popularity 

The number of people using an app is an important factor in deciding to use it, as calls are free between users of the same network, so the more friends and correspondents you have on one app, the more likely you are to install it and use it as it increases your chances to making free VoIP calls.

 

WhatsApp is the clear winner here as, at the time I am writing this, it has reached its 900 million users worldwide. On the other hand, LINE gathers only around 200 million users, although the latter amount is quite impressive. While WhatsApp is popular in pretty much the whole of the globe, Japan-based LINE's popularity is concentrated within some countries of Asia. For popularity, WhatsApp wins. 

Cost 

Both apps offer their services for free, that is you can communicate and call for an unlimited amount of time without paying anything for communication. The app, however, is not unlimitedly free for WhatsApp. After the first year of use, you have to pay a couple of dollars in order to keep using it. LINE, on the other hand, does not impose that restriction and the use of the app remain free throughout. The winner here is LINE. 

Voice and Video 

WhatsApp offers free voice calling between its users, a feature that has been introduced in early 2015 while LINE already had this feature well before.

Now LINE has a huge advantage over WhatsApp here since it also offers free video calling, which the latter does not. 

Also, the calls in LINE are of better quality than those on WhatsApp, probably due to the number of users on the network. Moreover, WhatsApp calls are found to consume more data than LINE calls, and subsequently eat up your mobile data plan quicker than LINE.

The winner here in clearly LINE. 

File Sharing 

Both apps allow you to share files over the network for free. For both apps, the type and format of files that can be shared are limited to multimedia files - photos, videos, recorded voice messages, and contacts. Both apps allow sharing locations too. There isn't much difference in this respect between the two apps so there is no winner. 

Calling Landlines and Mobiles 

LINE scores high here as WhatsApp offers calls only to WhatsApp users. Say you want to call someone abroad who is not connected to the Internet or who is not registered on WhatsApp. You cannot as WhatsApp does not go beyond its network. LINE can. You can still use LINE to make the call to any phone worldwide, whether landline or cellular, at a cheap rate. 

This is called LINE Out, and the rates are very competitive on the VoIP market. For instance, it costs only one dollar cent to call any phone in the US per minute. Same in China and Mexico for instance. Other destinations like Australia and Thailand cost 2 cents. Curiously, calling a mobile phone is Japan costs 14 cents. Here the winner clearly is LINE. 

Group Messaging 

Both apps offer group communication. LINE groups are better since they allow up to 200 participants while WhatsApp allows only 100.

Also, the features in LINE groups are better for management than those in WhatsApp. LINE wins here. 

Privacy 

Both LINE and WhatsApp get you registered on their network through your phone number. Some of you may not be at ease with this and would want to keep their number for themselves. LINE gives the option to register through your Facebook account, for more privacy. Also, WhatsApp has been receiving critics lately for not being at par with respecting the privacy of its users. The winner here is LINE. 

Other Features 

WhatsApp stops here in terms of features. LINE has more. 

The sticker market is well developed in LINE with some interesting free stickers, some depicting real life characters and others conveying emotions in a very meaningful way.

 

Give that LINE users may not have a phone number, you can have contacts in LINE beyond your phone's contact list. Besides, there are some interesting ways of adding friends on LINE: you can scan their QR code, and more interestingly you can have them shake their smartphone while you shake yours close to one another for adding each other to the LINE contact list. 

Both apps can be viewed as social networking apps, but LINE is more developed in that direction in the sense that it has a timeline, thus following the Facebook model more. 

It is also interesting to note that there are some countries, especially in the Middle East, where WhatsApp calling is blocked and LINE is not. 

Bottom Line 

Considering the apps and their features alone, LINE does a far better job than WhatsApp in most aspects. It has more features, and in cases where they share features, LINE has the edge. However, the one credit that WhatsApp has is so important that it can overwrite all the others - WhatsApp has more than five times the number of users on LINE. The reasons for this are quite tricky, but the result is that while LINE is a better tool, most people end up using WhatsApp because of the latter's popularity.

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