WhatsApp Video Calling Review: FaceTime Needs to up Its Game

We used the feature and here is what you should know

Image: Facebook/WhatsApp

In our last tech story, we told you that you could now make video calls using WhatsApp. The updates have been rolled out for iOS, Android and Windows. The application during its launch in India promised to have been optimised for Indian network connectivity. Does it really live up to all the promises made? Here is what we found.

Being one of the most popular messaging application in India and with over a billion monthly active users, WhatsApp’s latest introduction seems to be catching up fast among its users. In a competitive sense, this is one of WhatsApp’s boldest moves challenging top notch video calling apps such as Skype, Google Duo and FaceTime.

Intrigued by the competition, I decided to check it out for myself. Given I am an iOS user, the update was a no biggie for me. Over a strong Wi-Fi connection, the feature worked out without any hindrances. Over mobile data connection (Vodafone), the call seemed to have gone through, but it experienced a lag. This however was within proximity. Call connectivity across borders on different Wi-Fi connections (4G against 3G) still had strongly satisfying results. Both video and voice quality were pretty clear and resulted in zero lag.

At present, the data usage on a mobile data connection for the application is not a lot. That, however, is subject to networks and data packages. The usage readings haven’t shown much of a fluctuation against the same application’s voice call feature, which is good news.

What’s interesting is WhatsApp’s video calling feature launch couldn’t be more perfectly timed. With India witnessing a data revolution of sorts, given the introduction of Reliance Jio and its promise of 4G VoLTe, WhatsApp’s video calling will only boost the battle of the networks. The rising competition has obligated other telecom networks such as Airtel and Vodafone to slash their prices to retain their consumers.

Given the Facebook-owned application’s cross-platform reach, Apple’s FaceTime will have to up its game with a stronger and more innovative comeback to keep its users engaged. From the first look and use of WhatsApp’s video calling feature, we seem to be convinced that it is indeed an exciting new feature we should all try and use. However, we will have to stick around to see how long the quality sustains itself.