WhatsApp just rolled out a new feature recently: You now can make video calls on the app. This means, you no longer have to rely on FaceTime or Skype to have face-to-face conversations on the phone. But does it really live up to the hype? Here are five reasons that will get you started on it.

It’s more convenient than just calling
Think about this: You’re in the US and your sister asked you to buy a jacket from Old Navy for her. “Get me anything,” she said, but you know how picky she is when it comes to clothes. Unless you’re an expert at describing clothes in detail, a voice call just won’t cut it. And exchanging text messages takes too long, especially if she’s the kind whose status stays at “typing” for a few minutes. Warning: only use this feature if you have unlimited data roaming or WiFi.

It reduces the possibility of miscommunication
Video calls are almost like real-life conversations since you can pick up on non-verbal cues. This means you’re more likely to pick up on tone and body language, such as sarcasm, which makes it less likely for you to misunderstand what the person is saying.

It’s convenient
If you’re already using the chat function of WhatsApp on a regular basis, this makes it easier for you to switch between text messages and video calls. All you have to do is tap on the call button – the same one you would when making a voice call via WhatsApp in the past – and select whether you want to make a video or voice call. This alleviates the additional step of starting up another app.

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You can multitask
You can continue to check and send messages when you’re in the middle of a video call on the app. This means, you can reply to urgent WhatsApp messages without having to end your video call. If you accidentally hit the home button and leave the app, don’t worry, your call won’t be disconnected. Rather, it will be automatically switched to a voice call. (In other words, don’t start b***hing about the other party unless you’re sure you’ve disconnected the call.)

It’s encrypted
Just like your text messages on WhatsApp, your video calls on the app is also encrypted. This means, only you and the other party have access to the shared data. This prevents others from eavesdropping during your conversation and gaining access to sensitive data.

The downside? According to Gadgets 360, it uses up more mobile data than FaceTime and Skype. And as with most video calls, the quality is not the best unless you’re on a stable Internet connection or WiFi.

Image: Marcel De Grijs / 123RF.com