LINE BAND is a fun and useful app that allows you to gather together your real life groups of friends and interact with them in separate boards. If you already have an account with LINE, you can integrate your contacts with LINE BAND.
What can you do with LINE BAND?
The purpose of LINE BAND is to set up message boards for different groups of friends (known as 'bands' in the app). You can interact in real time with members of a band, so that every contact in that band can see what is being posted.
LINE BAND allows you to post messages, photos and stickers to the board. You can even create polls for fellow band members to respond to.
There's a separate section for photos, where you can upload photos and video and even create albums. Photos and videos can be commented on by all members of the band.
LINE BAND includes a group chat feature, where all band members can chat together in real time. Again, you can attach photos and stickers to spice up your chats. It's possible to make one-to-one chats with individual band members, if you prefer.
Another useful function of LINE BAND is its schedule, which allows you to create events in your LINE BAND calendar, including descriptions and maps if you like. You can set reminders for events and define repeating events, as well as syncing events to your phone's calendar. In our tests, the calendar didn't work very smoothly and often events weren't accessible by other members of our groups once we'd created them.
There are lots of options and settings within LINE BAND. The settings menu allows you to edit the description of your band, enable/disable notifications, set the band cover design, connect with Facebook groups, and manage the group's members. You can also leave or delete bands if things aren't working out for you.
How do you use LINE BAND?
Using LINE BAND is a bit of a crazy experience and it can be awfully confusing to start with. The setup process is lengthly and baffling. You need to register with your phone number and get a verification code sent to your device, but this often doesn't seem to do anything. You can choose to sign-in via Facebook or LINE networks, but again, this is hit and miss, so signing up is a bit of a trial and error affair.
The user interface itself looks neat, but once a lot of activity starts up on your bands, it becomes a bit confusing. Having separate board and chat windows is particularly baffling if some people are posting messages to the board while others are using the chat facility.There are separate notification icons for recent Board activity and for chat activity, but it still feels a little strange to use.
Inviting people is easy though, and there are a number of ways in which you can get your friends on board with LINE BAND. You can send invites to LINE contacts, phone contacts, phone numbers, or by copying and sharing the URL that links to your band.
We'd recommend checking out the LINE BAND tutorial and video introduction before you start using the app, so you don't get overwhelmed by it. Unfortunately, this fails to cover the sign-up process, though.
Still not perfect
LINE BAND looks great and there are lots of options for customizing your chats with stickers, photos and backgrounds. Unfortunately, if you've bought stickers via the LINE app they won't be available through LINE BAND (probably because it's not made by the same developer).
The performance of LINE BAND could be better and hopefully some improvements will be made in future releases. Video loading times are very slow and the app crashed a few times during our tests.
Chatting with groups of friends is great fun using LINE BAND. The app isn't perfect though. It's fiddly to set up, confusing to use and needs some performance fixes.