While social distancing is quickly becoming a norm and work-from-home have become mandatory, video calls have become the new normal. And here, WhatsApp video calls needs no introduction. It was designed for casual use, and that little feature lets you place calls just as easily as an actual phone call. Another fast becoming popular app is Houseparty.
Launched in 2016, this cool app not only lets you catch up with your friends over video calls but also lets you play games with them. Ever since the pandemic started, Houseparty has seen over 50 million sign-ups, and well, it begets a simple question — is it better than WhatsApp Video calls?
Well, that's what we are going to find out in our comparison today as we compare WhatsApp with Houseparty.
So, without further ado, let's get started.
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Supported Devices & Platforms
One of the main advantages of WhatsApp is that you can open the web version of the chat on your browser and chat away. Whether it's downloading a picture or creating a new group, WhatsApp Web or the WhatsApp app (for Windows and macOS) handled them without a glitch.
However, when it comes to video calls, you will have to take into account only your tablet or smartphones. Yep, you can place video calls only from your smartphone or tablet.
On the other hand, Houseparty has a nifty Chrome extension that lets you play games or place calls right from your laptop or PC, as long as you have a working webcam with you.
Now that we have that settled let's see the video calling features.
In the case of WhatsApp, honestly, you do not get much. There's the option to place a call directly or to initiate a group call, and that's about it. On the upside, several tiny features add to the experience.
For one, it's very simple to place a video call. You need to tap on the video icon at the top, and that's about it.
Other than that, it's quite convenient to switch between an audio call and a video call. Furthermore, you are notified of missed calls, and like any phone log, you can see the call history or clear your call records.
On the other hand, Houseparty handles calls a tad differently. As soon as you open the app, your friends will be notified that you are in the house, and hence the name. And it is the same for your friends as well — when they open the app, you'll receive a notification that they are in the house.
So, if you want to place a call, tap on the contact name. The quirky thing about Houseparty is that your other friends can come and crash your party. So, if you want to have a 'private chat,' make sure you lock the room.
Like WhatsApp, you can also add multiple people to a call. The nifty Plus icon on the top of your screen lets you do that. Furthermore, there the option to initiate text chats with your contacts.
However, Houseparty doesn't keep track of calls like WhatsApp. But for an app that's designed for casual usage, I don't think that it should be a cause of worry.
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What Happens When a Call Is in Progress
So, what happens when you are already on a video call?
If you are on a WhatsApp call, and you receive another call over WhatsApp, you will be notified with a notification at the top. You can either choose to answer it directly or disconnect it.
If you recollect, previously a WhatsApp call would disconnect if you receive a call over the cellular network.
As mentioned earlier, anyone on your friend list can join your video call if you keep your room unlocked on Houseparty.
'Tis the age of group calls. Make a plan and get your friends all together in a call, and you can chat away to the sunset. So here, the main question is how many people you can involve in this glorious plan of yours.
At the time of writing, WhatsApp lets you add only four contacts of yours. You can either add them individually or add them straight from a group, and the choice is yours.
In comparison to other video conferencing apps, WhatsApp allows one of the lowest participants in a group call. However, don't be disheartened, for there are talks about increasing this number.
As opposed to that, Houseparty lets you have a higher number of participants on your calls. If we talk numbers, you can have 8 participants in a single room. Talk about blowing the roof of a house virtually.
The best thing about Houseparty is that you can have your share of fun in these calls. If you are in a mood for it, you can play a variety of games. This app hosts four games, namely Guac, Quick Draw, Heads Up, and Trivia (see Awesome Online Board Games). Just tap on the Dice icon at the top to start the roll.
If you are into tech news, you must have heard about the privacy concerns related to Houseparty. Many users had accused hackers of accessing their premium Netflix and Spotify accounts after installing Houseparty.
So far, Houseparty had dismissed these claims and even went forward to offer a bounty of $1 million for information regarding these rumors and misinformation.
As per the folks at Forbes, don't worry about cybersecurity. But yeah, Houseparty does collect an awful amount of data. So be careful with what you provide when you sign up.
Nobody can interrupt your conversation midway without your permission. Call me old-fashioned, but that is how I like my calls to proceed, be it an audio call or a video chat.
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It's Party Time
So, which app should you use? You should have both the apps on your phone and use them as per your requirement. If you want to have fun and play games over a video chat (it's more lively that way), then Houseparty is the app for you. The interface of the app does seem a little complicated initially, but you will get the hang of it soon.
The party sessions locked, and you should be sorted. The call quality is great and so is the video quality.
For meaningful conversations with your friends and family, you can turn to WhatsApp Video calls for its simplicity, ease of use and the end-to-end encryption. The video quality can be pathetic at times, even if you are connected to high-speed internet.
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