Popular instant messenger WhatsApp has finally made room for video calling. You read that right. WhatsApp, an app that once emerged as a replacement to SMS now supports video calling beside texting, file sharing, and voice calling abilities. Meaning, you can now connect with your friends and family over a video call right within your WhatsApp.
This feature is currently available only on the latest Beta for Android (version 2.16.318). If you want to check the version of WhatsApp running on your phone, open WhatsApp > navigate to ‘Settings’ > then ‘About and help’ > and then ‘About.’ Here, you will find out if your WhatsApp is updated enough to support video calling.
To download WhatsApp Messenger for Android (Beta), go to the app page on Google Play Store. If you are not a beta tester already, there you will find an option to opt for beta testing at the bottom of the page. Once this is done, you can simply install the app from the same page itself. After installing the beta, you will be pushed to the latest version of WhatsApp Beta.
Go to a WhatsApp profile you wish to connect to a video call. Click on the call button in the top right corner that will further prompt you to either make a voice or video call. Earlier, tapping the call button would straightaway make a voice call.
If both caller and receiver have this beta installed on their Android phones, they will connect over a video call right away. However, in case the person you want to video call hasn’t installed this beta, you will come across an error message saying “Couldn’t place a call.” WhatsApp also shows call details such as time, duration, and the size of data consumed.
We at Pricebaba tried out video calling on WhatsApp over 2G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections.
On 2G network
Upon connecting over 2G, video calling connection was highly inconsistent. For almost the entire call duration, the video feed of the other person was either unavailable or paused due to poor connectivity. While the audio feed was still available, its quality is mostly dependent on your network coverage. WhatsApp video call on 2G connectivity is unusable and we’d recommend you to use on 4G.
On 4G network
The 4G experience was mostly good for the sizable chunk of the call duration, except for times when we observed some stutter in the video feed. The audio quality was way better than 2G and we had no problem listening to the other person.
Later, we tested video calling on our office Wi-Fi connection. The call quality was comparatively much better and the connectivity was sufficient enough to make a video call. We observed that WhatsApp delivered best video calling experience possible over Wi-Fi at the cost of more data as compared to 4G.