WhatsApp recently introduced a voice calling feature for its Android and iOS users.
Viber, on the other hand, has been offering the users with free voice and video calling, since its 2010 inception.
So, how do these two apps compare?
Since its 2009 inception, WhatsApp has totally changed the game as far as instant messaging is concerned. WhatsApp managed to topple all the available apps then, to become the best instant messaging app thanks to its availability as a mobile-based app only and it had nothing to do with PCs and tablets as well. This ability made it quite different from the other players in the industry back then, including and not limited to Skype. From its scratch stages, this app had nothing but mobile phone users to the extent of opting to use phone numbers as the user ID rather than the commonly used email address.
Now that WhatsApp has introduced a voice calling feature, there is no doubt that it is ready to go head to head with the already established industry leaders in this VoIP niche, among them, the Viber free calling app. Even though WhatsApp voice calls are currently not available for all the users of the app, the ones already using the feature have nothing but praise for this young WhatsApp feature. This is not the same case with Viber as this app had more than 4 years in the business; so, it definitely has an upper hand in the technical areas than WhatsApp.
The advantage that WhatsApp bears over Viber is the large user base it commands from all angles of this world. This is what will make WhatsApp voice calling prosper, even if the quality is somehow poor. Here’s a closer look at these two apps – WhatsApp and Viber.
Voice calling quality
When putting the two voice calling apps on a head to head comparison, accessing their quality of sound is very important in determining which of the two is the better option. WhatsApp has its largest network of users based in developing markets. These regions are still growing and technology, among the other things, is rapidly growing in these regions. Even though there is a huge user base of WhatsApp in these regions, the type of internet connection they access is not the best in most cases.
Developing nations in South America, Asia and Africa are among the leading consumers of WhatsApp, with India alone recording a user base of over 70 million users. Despite this, there is a huge prevalence of 2G and EDGE networks, which hinders the quality of voice calls. However, if you happen to access 3G or 4G networks, the quality of WhatsApp voice calls is amazing. Despite the poor quality of sound, the fact still remains that you can make a WhatsApp voice call in 2G networks, which is a huge feat to achieve. You will experience some lags in the voice delivery, but the call will still go through.
The good thing is that the WhatsApp voice calling feature is still very young and there is room for improvement, which is one reason why the developers of the app keep rolling out regular updates for the app. While WhatsApp voice calling feature is still in its inception stages, Viber is already a leading service provider in this niche. Viber does not just offer free voice calling, but you can also make free video calls.
Just like WhatsApp, Viber also allows the users to make voice calls over 2G networks. However, expect to experience some lags in voice, which is not that different from what you get with WhatsApp, but much better. Viber users can be sure of enjoying HD quality calls, be it voice or video. However, the video calling feature requires a 3G or 4G connection; or else, the lags you get will be unbearable. Viber has even had lots of time on its hands to craft in another feature known as ViberOut. Using ViberOut, users of Viber can place voice and video calls to the non-Viber users on their mobile phones or landlines. However, users must purchase Viber credit which will be used to bill these calls, but very affordably.
WhatsApp takes pride in its efficient, simplistic and extremely easy-to-use interface that is also very fast. This interface has nothing to do with ads that are common on a number of other instant messaging apps and all these are available for just $1 per month. This UI is very clean and minimal, be it when messaging or voice calling.
The latest WhatsApp UI added a few aspects to the previous interface where there is a new “Calls” tab added, alongside the “Contacts” tab and the usual “Chats” tab. You will also be able to notice a call icon located next to each contact as well as when in a chat window, which eases the process of placing a WhatsApp voice call.
On the other hand, Viber comes with a very unrefined UI that might feel and look a little heavier and congested and this toll can be felt by your phone. There are more options in the UI of Viber, which makes it a little complex than WhatsApp. There is a huge collection of stickers which have been at the center of luring more young people to this platform.
Even though Viber has a rather complex-looking UI, it is very easy to use and navigate; however, you will have to do more in order to learn all that Viber entails. So, if you are looking for an easier to use option, WhatsApp is your choice.
WhatsApp has been lacking in this area and this has been going on for quite some time now. However, just recently, a new WhatsApp Web client was introduced, which allows the WhatsApp users to chat from a PC and tablet. This is in addition to the support for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian, among others.
Even though you will still require your phone to be connected to the internet so as to get the WhatsApp messages sent to your PC, this is an improvement with respect to the accessibility of the app. However, this means that if your phone is lost or battery is dead, you will not be able to receive WhatsApp messages on WhatsApp Web.
Since WhatsApp Web is a web client, you must use a web browser to access it. The only supported browsers are Opera, Chrome and Firefox. Furthermore, there is no support for those using the iOS devices, thanks to the strict iOS restrictions.
Viber, on the other hand, offers the best when talking of compatibility. It can be installed on tablets, smartphones as well as PCs and used independently without the need of the phone app in order to work, like with the case of WhatsApp. You will have all messages on your tablet, phone or PC even if your phone is off.
Furthermore, you get all the same services across all devices, which is not the same with WhatsApp and WhatsApp Web. So, if you are looking for a messaging experience that is untethered, Viber is your app of choice.
While on paper, WhatsApp and Viber look almost the same, when all factors are taken into consideration; WhatsApp emerges on top of Viber. With a user base of over 800 million people from all over the world, it is easier to find someone using WhatsApp than Viber, which is not so bad either with its over 500 million global user base.
So, the big question still stands – will WhatsApp voice calling topple Viber free calling as the better option for making voice calls? Well, depending on how Viber reacts to the recent WhatsApp improvements, things could go either way. However, if things stay the way they are, Viber will soon be trailing WhatsApp in the areas of VoIP services.
Many people who previously installed Viber were looking for an app to make free voice calls, however, a huge number of them were still using WhatsApp for instant messaging. Now that WhatsApp voice calling feature is here, there is really nothing much that will make users stick to using Viber, unless the company makes another move to counter this development. If improvements keep coming in, there is nothing that will stop WhatsApp from becoming the best provider of messaging and VoIP services.