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Raketu review

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I’ve been using Raketu for a few weeks prior to this review. This newcomer to the VoIP arena made its debut on September 12, 2006, and it shows definite promise. Their goal is to do no less than to overtake Skype as the leader in Internet voice communications, with the following strategy:

1. Offer more features than anyone else.
Never have I seen this many features wrapped up into an IM client:
  • SIP compatible
  • Voicemail
  • Conference calling
  • Subscribe to news, stocks, weather, podcasts and other RSS feeds
  • Integrated media player with karaoke mode
  • Picture viewer
  • Integrated travel planner, using Yahoo's Farechase for cheap flight results
  • Send free SMS text messages to mobile phones
  • Download game plug-ins to play with others online
2. Offer free calls to landlines in 42 countries until the end of 2006. I've been told that Raketu may add more countries to this list as we approach December, and they are also considering an extension of the promotion into 2007. However, I have found that in order to make free calls, you must have at least $0.01 of credit on your Raketu account. You can sign up for the free trial, which will put $0.01 into your account for 1 hour, but it will revert back to $0.00 after 1 hour whether or not you have been using the service for the entire time.

3. Offer interoperability with other IM clients. The Multi-Messenger lets you exchange text messages with your contacts from any of the following accounts into a single interface:
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • ICQ
  • MSN Messenger
  • Google Talk
  • Yahoo Messenger
  • Skype (*Skype is not integrated into Raketu the way the other clients are. In order to communicate with Skype contacts from Raketu, a Skype client must be installed and running on your PC.)
4. Offer a less controversial VoIP service by not creating Supernodes. With this approach, Raketu avoids a security issue that plagues Skype while still claiming to have high completion rates and excellent voice quality.

Raketu is banking on these four offers to propel them to internet telephony fame. They also want to launch RakIn and RadioShow services in the near future. Everything (except the battleships game plug-in) comes in an installer package of only 3.4 MB. So far, everything looks good. We'll have to wait and find out if Raketu will be successful in becoming a Skype-killer.

Interface
If Raketu wants to attract more users, they'll have to make some major changes to the usability and appearance of both the website and the application. I navigated through all the pages in the website and all the windows in the application, but the process just wasn't intuitive. However, once you know where everything is, you'll find that nothing is more than one or two clicks away. And in an e-mail exchange, their tech support team mentioned that the website will be re-developed with user friendliness in mind. With that aside, the Help menu offers informative guides and movie tutorials that every beginner should be sure to check out.


Voice quality
Now we arrive at the make-or-break issue. Does it sound alright? Can I understand the person I'm talking to? And you'll be glad to know that the clarity is fine. Though it's not like a local call on a standard phone, the quality is on par with Skype and cell phones, with little to no noticeable echo or static.

Raketu advertises that it only needs a connection speed of 36 kbps to make calls, as long as the user isn't downloading any files at the same time. For those of you on WiFi connections, they also claim that Raketu works even when your signal strength is as low as 15%. I haven't tested Raketu on dial-up, but when I was making calls at a WiFi hotspot (with a good signal), I found that the voice "stuttered" a little bit. This would happen for a few minutes then clear up. Of course this depends on your WiFi connection, but for best results stick with wired broadband.

Bug Report
Nowhere on Raketu's website or in the program does it mention that this program is in BETA testing. The current version is 1.0 but they still have a built-in mechanism for reporting bugs. Rather than using that form, I'm going to just list my finds here. I'm sure the Raketu team will be fixing them in an upcoming release.
  • Stocks often say [Quote not available]
  • Weather feeds work only on occasion
  • Newsreader doesn't format combined Blogger/Feedburner feeds well, though this problem may be caused by either Blogger or Feedburner because most feeds are fine
  • The media player has unhelpful error messages when required codecs are missing
  • The multi-messenger occasionally crashes upon closing
To wrap-up, Raketu is a product you'll want to look out for in the future. Once they've dealt with their usability issues and fixed some bugs, their rich feature set may give them the advantage over Skype and other competitors. The functionality is all there, now it just needs to be optimized for the masses.

Pros: Good voice quality, free calling promotion, no supernodes, compatibility with SIP and IM clients, free SMS, many features, guides, tips, and tricks

Cons: User friendliness, appearance, must buy credits to make free calls, lingering bugs

Overall: 4 stars (out of 5)

Have you had an experience with Raketu that you'd like to share? Leave a comment or e-mail me at voip_telephony [at] yahoo [dot] com and I'll publish your review or directly link to the review on your website.


15 Comments:

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous jojolereptile said...

Thanks for the review. The problem is the same as with all these brand new VoIP phones: there aren't many subscribers. Fortunately the search funktion in Raketu is pretty powerful.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed some fuzzy icons in Raketu while using win 98, but on my new pc win xp it is very clear.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am using Raketu for quite some time and it's cool! The features of communication,entertainment and information are pretty intresting.I love the multi-messenger set-up option the best as it allows me to chat ,send instant messages to many messengers like Yahoo,MSN,Yahoo and many more with opening just one application.Raketu is very User Friendly and looks to be one of the bset software I have ever used recently!

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you guys wanto have the latest version of Raketu. Then download it from www.raketu.tv, this look of Raketu is very different...

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANYONE CAN HELP ME IN SORTING OUT MY PROBLEM WITH RAKETU. i CANNOT MAKE RAKOUT CALLS EVEN THOUGH I HAVE INSTALLED IT PROPERLY AND SET UP FIREWALL AS PER ITS REREQUIREMENT AS WELL CHANGED THE SIP VALUE.

HELP HELP HELP.....
RELPY ROBINJHIRAD@HOTMAIL.COM

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger Zack said...

Do you receive this error: "MSVCP71.dll not found" ? If so, there is a fix you can download from Raketu's website. The 'support' link has lots of useful FAQs, and I believe they will even help you troubleshoot your problem by e-mail. Lastly, make sure you have sufficient credit remaining!

 
At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Dan said...

MSVCP71? is that the MFC Runtime, I'm sure you can download that from microsoft.

Does Raketu support SMS to the UK, if not, you could integrate the API from www.freebiesms.co.uk

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the "MSVCP71.dll not found" error you can download and run a patch file from the Raketu's website here is the link:
Check error no. 4.
http://www.raketu.com/en/error-messages.php

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) They charged me four times instead of just once.
2) You can't call to a lot of the destinations, even if they say it's possible.
3) Oh, by the way, customer service... just forget it.
4)Don't even think trying raketu.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Waki said...

Yes, the features are promising but the execution is not good. I am NOT a happy customer of raketu. I bought credits to make calls but the success rate is very low. The worse thing is that they charge me even if the call doesn't go through. Many people have complained about this on their own forum but the preblems has not been solved. I did not have trouble calling the US, or Japan (recently I can't reach Japan too). The voice quality though is one of the best. I have credits in my account but I can't use them and they will not refund. It looks to me that the Supernodes guys get the job done, though more expensive and with the noise about security.
My suggestion, stay away from raketu if you plan of making calls to phones. You do not have to buy credits though to use other features, so you can try it.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raketu review
- Voice quality: comparable to Skype but not as good as Betamax.
- good customer support - responded to my email the same day and followed up few days later
- software client has a lot of features but unfortunately is not very intuitive. You have to learn to use it. Even the basic version is loaded with features.
- supports outgoing caller ID but sometimes adds some extra numbers in front of it.
- they use SIP standard you can't connect ATA device. For me this is a major draw back.
- call setup takes up to 20 seconds
Overall promising company but they still have to work on the details.

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first used Raketu's Rakout it worked fine. Since paying my money I have been able to send a text message to any mobile phone. Voice calls only work to landlines. Calls to mobile phones all go directly to voice-mail, fine if I just want to leave a message. Support has asked me for screenshots of error messages. They have the info already, I just don't have time to support the support. I guess i'll try Skype.

 
At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worse service ever. I regret using this service...please stay away. The voice quality is horrible and there is no customer service support. :(

 
At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WAS TOTALLY ANGRY AT RAKETU!!!

After paying them $10 and after 2days of using their unlimited service...( i still have 5700plus minutes left On my account..)
I'VE GOT THIS MAIL FROM RAKETU...WITH NO FURTHER EXPLANATION!!!!

Cc:
support@raketu.com

Due to suspicious activities on your account, we closed your Raketu account.





Sincerely,

The Raketu Team

www.RAKETU.com


I sent emails and asked them why they closed my account? but until now, NO ANSWERS FROM RAKETU!!!

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

 

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