Earlier this morning, the private beta of WhatsApp for Windows Phone received an update that enabled voice calling (VOIP) for the modern messenger service.
We got our hands on the latest release and demonstrate how it looks - and how it works - on our Lumia Icon calling an iPhone.
So how is it? The audio quality is magnificent, much better than you would expect for such a new service. In general, it is quite fast to make the connection to the other party's phone and it uses your WhatsApp number for identification purposes. There are clear indicators that it is a WhatsApp incoming call as well, plus users can decline and use messaging instead.
Public release and Skype
There's no word on exactly when the full Voice Calling feature will be rolled out to public users of WhatsApp on Windows Phone. Seeing as it now only spreading out to the beta group it is safe to say we are likely a few weeks out before things are finalized.
The good news here is we are not too far behind Android, who only received this feature a few weeks ago (plans for the service were announced in February 2014).
Can WhatsApp with voice calling beat Skype? Perhaps not for business users or those who like to jump on PC, tablet and phone, but for pure mobile we think WhatsApp has a good thing going.
WhatsApp voice is only for the beta version of the app. The public version of WhatsApp that's in the Windows Phone Store does not yet have these features! Please do not ask about how to get access to the private beta, as there is no public sign-up method. Thank you.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.