By Alok Saboo on June 18th, 2010
Last week when I was browsing through the iPhone App store, I stumbled across a mobile VoIP (mVoIP) app – Whistle Phone. Free calls, local USA DID, 3 way calling – it sounded too good to be true!! Given the questionable quality of lot of apps on the App Store, I started testing Whistle Phone with a lot of skepticism. After a week of rigorous testing, I am extremely pleased with Whistle Phone and have no hesitations in recommending it.
Read on for a detailed review (with lots of screenshots) and video tutorial on setting up and using Whistle on your iDevices!!
Getting Started with Whistle Phone
Whistle is available for all Apple devices, i.e., iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. You can download Whistle directly from the App Store (iTunes link). The app itself is also FREE, so go ahead and download Whistle on your device. Follow the steps to set up Whistle on your iDevice:
- When you start the app for the first time, you will have an option to (a) create a new Whistle account; (b) enter existing Whistle account information; or (c) enter SIP account information. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will focus on the first two options.
- Select Create a Whistle Account and enter the correct details. Remember, you will have to validate your account so enter a valid email address.
- Next, you need to confirm your account through the activation link sent to the email that you entered. In the welcome email, you will also receive a FREE USA incoming number (DID). You can use this number to receive unlimited calls.
- Restart the Whistle App and this time select Existing Whistle Account.Enter your Whistle phone number when prompted and then your password. After you are logged in, you should see a screen similar to the one below (with your Whistle number).
- At this point, you are all ready to make FREE calls to any USA landline or mobile (except Alaska & Hawaii). Just dial the 10 digit number, starting with the area code.
- Free calls are ad-supported. So you will see advertisements inside the app and sometimes even before your call is connected.
Whistle Account Management and other features
While this post highlights the free USA calling, if you want to call other countries, Whistle has got you covered. Whistle offers some really good rates to other countries. You can find the complete rate list here. To make calls outside USA, you need to add credits to your account. You can even use your credit to get rid of ads during calls made within USA.
You can add credits and check your existing balance right within the app. You can add credits through in-app purchase, so you do not have to separately provide your credit card information. Whistle exploits the iTunes payment mechanism to offer micro-recharges. You can recharge your account by $0.99, $1.99, $4.99, or $9.99. This is the lowest recharge denomination I have seen so far. Lower recharge imply less risk, so feel free to explore this option.
Follow Me: Whistle also provides another useful feature – Follow Me. Follow Me allows you to forward calls made to your Whistle number to any of your existing numbers.
You can add up to 5 numbers to which the call should be forwarded in case you are not able to answer your Whistle call. If your Follow Me number is within the USA, the call will even be forwarded for FREE. This is similar to the Google Voice call forwarding service, however, Whistle provides much more flexibility.
Follow the short video for detailed instructions of the entire tutorial on setting up Whistle and using it.
Having used Whistle for over a week, I am extremely happy with it. The call quality is very good. No noticeable delay, echo, or feedback. It even transmits your Whistle number as the caller-ID. Whistle has some other great features and can be extended in various ways, something that I will talk about sometime soon.
For the time being, I will highly recommend you all to try out Whistle Phone. It truly is one of the must-have apps on your iPhones or iPads. If you have already been using Whistle Phone, share your feedback!!