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LINE: Free Calls & Messagesfor Android

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Line is a free VoIP messenger app that allows users to make voice and video calls as well as basic text messages. In addition to the standard slate of mobile messenger features, Line also blends in aspects of social media. This includes a Timeline feature similar to those on Twitter or Facebook, and the ability to follow other users and "official" accounts from media organizations and celebrities. Line also takes a page from Instagram with a camera feature that allows for some basic editing options, such as filters and stickers, before posting. These features all combine in a fun, colorful package.

Make your messenger personal

A unique blend of messaging and social media.

One of the world's most popular chat apps, Line is a free VoIP messenger app that allows users to make voice and video calls as well as send basic text messages. In addition to the standard slate of mobile messenger features, Line stands out by blending in aspects of social media. This includes a Timeline feature similar to those on Twitter or Facebook, and the ability to follow other users and "official" accounts from media organizations and celebrities. Line also takes a page from Instagram with a camera feature that allows for some basic editing options, such as filters and stickers, before posting. These features all combine in a fun, colorful package with plenty of customization options. Though it may seem like the social media features take center stage, Line's basic messenger functions are where the app truly shines. After creating an account on the service, you'll enjoy entirely free calls and messages to any other Line user. If you don't have a large list of contacts on Line, expanding that list is simple. Adding contacts can be done via a quick scan of a QR code, adding a phone number, or a literal handshake feature that will add a new contact if you shake your phones close to each other. Like competitors WhatsApp and Viber, Line's calls boast high sound and video quality in addition to end-to-end encryption. If you're even more security conscious, you can take advantage of another great feature dubbed Hidden Chat. Similar to Snapchat, messages sent via Hidden Chat will only exist for a pre-determined amount of time before being automatically deleted. If you're sending sensitive or confidential information, this feature will doubtless come in handy. Line also boasts the impressive ability to add up to 100 people to a single group chat.

The app's social media features blend effortlessly with the basic messenger options. This mainly shows through in Line's mind-blowingly vast library of stickers, emoticons, and other customizations. Though many sticker sets are available for free, you can also purchase new sets and even send sticker packs as gifts to your friends.The sticker and emoji shop is regularly updated with new selections from both artists and branded sets from movies, TV, and anime. For amateur photographers, Line’s camera feature offers a variety of filters and other fun editing options to further your pursuit for the perfect selfie. The timeline feature is also handy for checking in with news media or just seeing the latest celebrity gossip before sending out your messages, or simply checking in to see what your friends are posting. With such a massive selection of customizations and options to choose from, it's hard to have a boring conversation on Line.

Despite its many advantages, the app does have a few significant shortcomings. One of the most glaring flaws comes when trying to run the app across multiple devices. Currently, a particular Line account can only be associated with one phone and one PC at a time. Attempting to use the app on any other devices means registering a new number or email. Attempting to register the same number on any additional devices means that you'll have to delete your data off one of the preexisting devices. If you're someone who uses a variety of devices, whether at work or at home, it's easy to see how this can become a major inconvenience. Line also doesn't allow free calls outside of Line's own network. Calling outside the network (known as "LineOut") means paying for the call using Line credits. Line provides a five LineOut calls free of charge, but you'll be forced to either view an ad or purchase credits to make additional calls. Though the call rates aren't prohibitively expensive, if you don't have a lot of friends using Line the fees can add up quickly. On that note, Chances are you probably don't have many friends using Line. Another one of the app's limitations is a limited user base. Though Line boasts an impressive 700 million worldwide users, most Line users are currently based in Asia, so depending on where you are you may have a tough time finding friends who also use the app. Another flaw, though minor, is that users need to accept Line's Terms of Service before being allowed to interact with the app's "official" celebrity and media accounts. If you choose not to accept the ToS before using the app, you'll find that your ability to use Line's social media functions will be severely restricted.

Where can you run this program?

You can run Line on any Android phone or device, iOS devices, and Blackberry. Line also has versions available for Windows and Mac, though users should note that registering on a computer will require verification via an email address rather than a phone number.

Is there a better alternative?

Line's unique blend of social networking features with messenger functions means it's hard to compare with any single competing app. If you're looking for a more straightforward messenger experience, WhatsApp boasts many of the same features as Line in addition to a wider user base, meaning you're more likely to find friends and contacts already using the app. Viber is a similar app with the added feature of allowing users to make calls and send messages from a desktop app. It also allows you to yours your account across any number of devices, and will sync your information across each of them. Facebook’s Messenger app includes many of the same social media features as Line, such as stickers, emojis, and calls; however, it lacks many of the messenger functions present on the app.

Our take

Though Line excels as fun and entertaining alternative to other messengers, its limitations to calls and multiple devices put some severe restrictions on its functionality.

Should you download it?

If you're someone looking to use a messenger app for more casual purposes, Line is a unique and fun way to communicate with friends and family. Professionals who use a messenger app for work purposes should look elsewhere, as Line's current limitations mean it's pretty impractical for any heavy usage.

LINE: Free Calls & Messagesfor Android

1.0

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