WengoPhone Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • MakingCalls
  • (5 more, see all...)

I've spoken before about the importance of VoIP, when I reviewed Ekiga. Now, another application is up for review- the much younger WengoPhone.

WengoPhone 2 has many interesting features that might make it a really popular piece of software. Before mentioning those new features I'd like to say that sometimes you'll not be very lucky and running WengoPhone correctly will not be possible from the start. On my first try, I just downloaded the binaries on a Fedora machine and I fired a shell script that opened WengoPhone. The program started but most of the features didn't work as it should. Since I didn't have any compilers on Fedora, I moved on the SuSe machine, I downloaded the sources, compiled and then fired WengoPhone. That's a lot more like it because now I can see an interesting working application. They shouldn't be condemned very much because there is a small warning that says that WengoPhone 2 is for advanced users.

Perhaps the coolest latest feature of WengoPhone 2 is the interconnectivity with Yahoo, MSN, Jabber and AOL messengers. I think that WengoPhone borrows this feature from GAIM and this is very cool since GAIM is a great messenger client for Linux and also for Windows. The support for multiple messaging protocols will attract a lot of crowds because even though most of these people prefer to use VoIP, many of them still use GAIM or Kopete. Maybe someday, WengoPhone or GAIM will have support for voice over all this popular protocols.

Wengo's interface is based on Qt, which is good news, and more good news come when you think that the VoIP engine uses several high-end projects that are implemented in such way as to provide an easy to use call control API. One of the advantages is that you can use login names in the contact list, allowing you to ignore the long default SIP numbers. The audio quality provided by the engine is pretty good, but you'll still need a fairly good Internet connection, unlike Skype.

As any modern Internet application, WengoPhone also works through NAT. This is absolutely required for a software that wants to provide quality services to everybody and some good softwares don't function correctly because of this but from what I've tested, WengoPhone works correctly.

As I created my WengoPhone account I got 2€ worth of landlines communication. Yes! You can call land lines or mobile phones and even send SMS with WengoPhone but you'll need some credits. I saw the rates that they use and I must say that I can't see how it can be any cheaper for some countries. For others it can be somehow expensive so you'll have to check it out for yourselves to see if it's worth it in your case. Anyway, with the credit I got from Wengo, I wasn't able to call my cell phone but I was able to call the fixed line and the quality was better than expected.

WengoPhone docks nicely in the system tray and allows you to close the application while it is still able to receive phone calls or messages. Right-clicking the tray icon provides a fast and easy access to some of the features so I guess that here, things are pretty good.

One of the best things about WengoPhone is that the project is open source. This allows fast improvements to the software and some peace in mind knowing that they can't do things to the software that can pass unnoticed. Unfortunately, I somehow expected an encrypted chat with other Wengo users but no encryption is available in this version. I know from my own experience that unencrypted chat can be spoofed easily with a software like Wireshark.

The Good

Things like cross instant messaging, video calls and excellent VoIP support with possibility to call phone lines and send SMS are excellent assets for this software.

The Bad

WengoPhone is hard to install making it a software for the advanced user in Linux. Other downsides regarding this software aren't really there for mentioning at this point.

The Truth

WengoPhone is probably the best software out there for communicating with other people. I was very impressed with this software but I'm more of a person that communicates over the mobile phone. At some point I'm sure I'll start using VoIP on a daily basis and the first software that I will look into will be WengoPhone.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 5


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
NEXT REVIEW: KNotes

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