For beginners in the world of VoIP telephony, one of the most attractive things that a service can offer is simplicity. Once you are a bit more experienced you may want to look for more, but right out of the gate you just want to be able to make calls and receive them. The service offered by iConnectHere is certainly simple, and also highly affordable so it looks like a good bet for someone who just wants an off-the-shelf VoIP service that they don’t have to pay much money to use. Looking deeper, though, how good can you expect iConnectHere to be in the long-term?
Cost: One of the first things to note about iConnectHere is the fact that it comes with a Pay As You Go plan which allows you to use it as much or as little as you want, and make credit top-ups to meet those costs – no monthly fee, no costly contract which will penalise you heavily if broken. In addition, their North America plan comes in at a more than affordable $5.95 per month, and that’s hard to beat. On price, this is a company that does its level best to give you all the options you need. They also offer signing bonuses that reward you for taking their plans, including a $30 bonus for taking the $24.95 per month Unlimited plan. All of the plans are also very reasonably priced. That’s worth a 9/10.
Ease of Installation: Anyone who has used Skype will appreciate the installation process involved with iConnectHere – it is just a simple matter of downloading the software and then installing it on the computer you are using. Assuming your computer has a sound card – most do – and you have a headset or similar device to carry your voice, you’re then ready to go. This is a massive advantage for anyone who wants a VoIP service that they can use immediately. The company behind this software has correctly identified the primary desire of the average customer – to have a service that requires little fiddling about, that you can use instantly. This is why 10/10 is the only fair mark here.
Tech Support: Having scored so well in the early categories, iConnectHere rather fouls its own patch with tech support that really fails to meet up to the standard bearers in a crowded market. Like the similar Skype service, iConnectHere provides the very bare minimum in terms of support – an admittedly very complete FAQ section is supported only by an email address which is buried deep in their website and which requires huge reserves of patience to find, at the end of which you’ll be hard pushed to write a courteous email. They really need to look into this section of their service, because as good as their pricing plans and installation are, their tech support is really lacking. 5/10.
Quality of Voice Service: Once you are actually using the system, there is a lot of good to be said about iConnectHere’s service. That said, given that there is no equipment required or sent when you subscribe, how good the level of voice calling is will depend considerably upon you. If you have a poor headset or external microphone, then you can expect your voice calls to be frustrating affairs. Considering that it doesn’t cost much – if anything – to get signed up, many people will feel prepared to take the cheap route and not invest much in peripherals, but if you don’t already have a very good voice device you should invest in one if you want to get the best of the service. With the right equipment, this is worth a good 7/10.
Speed: It takes no time at all to get signed on, although (again, like Skype), if a lot of users are logged in at once there may be some lagging. This is the eternal difficulty of running a client-based VoIP service – to maintain constantly the kind of bandwidth that will support all of its users at once would be financial suicide for any company, especially during times when service use is low. This means that when service use is high, there will inevitably be lagging and disruption of service. There is no solution to this, but for the price you’re paying it is something people will gladly tolerate. 7/10.
Features: It is hard to find out much about the features offered by iConnectHere, because they aren’t very up front about what features they offer. After some digging around you’ll find a list of eleven features – which is not a lot compared to some of the higher-end companies. That said, iConnectHere aren’t one of the higher-end companies. Not that that is a criticism as such – it’s simple and cheap so it cannot be expected to be feature-laden. What does present some annoyance is the fact that they seem almost to deliberately hide their feature list.
Whether it is an effort to dissuade people from rejecting the service through dissatisfaction at the short list, or a decision to focus on the positives (of which there are plenty), it looks unprofessional. Eleven features is not a lot, and people who want a bigger bulk of features will go elsewhere. The truth is, they probably would anyway. IconnectHere isn’t for the professionals, and that’s fine. But for features, we have to mark it down, and give it 5/10.
Overall: This service is perhaps the ultimate “good in parts” product. While the cost and the ease of installation are big selling points, the almost wilful lack of tech support and the small feature list (and virtual impossibility of finding it on their site) hold the service back considerably. These are things that wouldn’t even cost a great deal to improve upon, and they would turn what is a decent service into a really good one. It’s a shame they have chosen not to do that, and the overall mark of 43/60 reflects this.