LINE lets you call, chat and send photos to others for free, from your smartphone or computer, as well as follow companies and celebrities, and share updates with friends in a social network-style Timeline.
Chat and share to connect with your friends
LINE allows you to chat with your friends, as well as make free video and voice calls to other users of the service. You can also make premium calls to your non-LINE contacts from within the app or block or hide any contacts you don't want to be able to contact you via the app.
Hidden Chat is a Snapchat-like feature where you if you open the 'Hidden Chat' option you can send time-limited secure messages that will only be displayed for a set amount of time once the recipient has opened them.
The app also has Timeline feature, which gives it a social network feel, as your friends using LINE can like and comment on what you post. You can write a post, or share a photo and sticker. Businesses and celebrities are now using LINE so you can add them as contacts to keep up with what your favorite celebs or doing or what stores, brands or restaurants have on offer.
If not many of your friends are using LINE then you can shake your phone (or just touch the screen) to find random people to chat with nearby.
There are lots of stickers, emojis and themes on offer, and LINE has also spawned a lot of spin-off apps that allow you to play games, take photos and more. You can now choose whether to receive messages from these linked apps.
LINE is easy to set up, allowing you to register with your phone number or email address (the latter option only gives you access to text chat, though).
The voice and video call functions of LINE work very well and the sound quality is excellent. There is a slight delay in calls both via WiFi and 3G, though the quality is still better than Skype.
Text chatting in LINE is easy, with support for group chats of up-to 100 people, and a good selection of emoticons to add to your conversations. Unlike WhatsApp, LINE allows you to chat between the desktop and mobile versions of the application.
The user interface includes so many options that you can end up getting lost and unable to get back to the home screen or your past chats. This is especially true from Timeline.
More than just your average chat app
LINE is an interesting alternative to apps such as WhatsApp, Tango and Viber, as it allows you to make good quality video and audio calls on your phone for free while bringing in some extra features, such as time-limited messages and a whole host of linked apps. Overall, LINE offers you a lot of features in just one app while still working smoothly and being easy to use.
What's new in the latest update?
The latest version of LINE (4.7.0) makes several tweaks to improve your chats. The timeline menu has been refined to focus more on groups, you can now archive chats, and the thumbnail size has been beefed up for images and videos in chats.
Another interesting new feature of LINE is its support for Android Wear. This means you can now check what's happening in LINE from your wearable Android device.