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Archive for the ‘Smartphone App Reviews’ Category

1km is a Korean social networking application for smartphones.  This application is very popular among Koreans.  I downloaded this app about 6 months ago and so I decided to do a review on it for interested audiences. 🙂

Just so you know, this app is currently only available in Korean… knowing a little Korean is helpful in terms of navigating around on the app and communicating with people, since it is a social networking app…  My Korean is elementary and I am able to use the app without a problem.

PROS:

  • For native Koreans, it is a very good app to meet other Koreans in the area-since the app extracts gps data.  I’ve met Koreans on the app who are traveling in the US and miss home, so they want to interact with other Koreans. 
  • For non-native Koreans, this app is a great way to practice reading and writing Korean.  Personally, I use the app to practice basic conversation skills and learn new phrases and vocabulary.  You’d be surprised, but I’ve learned quite a bit of vocabulary and grammar points through conversations.  Most of the time, if I did not understand a phrase, the other person would explain it in simpler terms that I did understand and THAT really helped. 

CONS:

  • This app is filled with bullshitting bullshitters.  About a handful of people you talk to are genuine… and the rest lie… about everything.  Oh and probably because they have hidden motives-
  • Speaking of hidden motives, there are lots of old 아저씨s and young 변태s who will reach out to you.  It’s really disgusting when the old men send you pictures of themselves (to clarify, they send you photos of their faces… O_O) and ask for your pictures… Not going to lie, sometimes I gag.  A couple of times, I even had some 아저씨s ask me to marry them and “create a fairytale” with them.  On the other hand, the young 변태s act normal at first- we could be talking about butterflies and rainbows and suddenly they’ll turn the conversation 180 degrees and ask if I “like to have fun” or if I can send “sexy photos” of myself to them. 
  • It’s really a dating app.  This might be a pro to some people, but I think it’s a con.  I joined 1km to have genuine conversations but the majority of people on there want more than that (plus, they don’t even have genuine conversations!?).

The overall picture?  Well, 1km is just a community of old and young perverts (and “loose” women I guess since the girls on there want attention from men… pretty badly).  Scratch that- not everyone is bad on there.  Any social networking app/place has freaky and regular people… Also, I feel like the app is better utilized in Korea. So I like to keep the app around for my entertainment.  I don’t take everything that goes on there seriously… only the learning and practicing Korean part. 🙂

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

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I first downloaded kakaotalk about 2 months ago.  I have been using the app since and if anything, I have fallen deeper in love with the app than when I first got it.

So before I get into details about the app, I’ll give you a little summary about what the app is:

Kakaotalk is a free messaging application for smartphones.  It is also available on ipods and ipads, however you need to activate the app on a mobile device first.  The application is based in Seoul, Korea and was founded by Kim Beom-Soo.  Some features of kakaotalk include 12 different language translations available, contact sync with your phone book, group chat, emoticons, free calling, and theme customizations.

Now that we have the basic info out of the way, shall we move on to the juicy parts of this app?  (haha ok maybe not juicy… but the meat of this app?)

I think it’ll be easier to organize all the things I have to say about this app into 2 categories: pros and cons. 

PROS:

  1. Free messaging: As long as you have wifi, you can text domestic or international free of charge!  And if you use 3G or 4G then data rates apply based on your text/phone plan.  Sounds too good to be true right?  Well I thought it was a little strange at first too… which is why I hesitated to download it for the longest time… but it’s not a scam.  This service is great especially if you have international friends that you want to keep in touch with.  After coming back from Korea, I missed A LOT of my Korean friends but it was so hard to keep in touch with them- they either didn’t use fb or didn’t check their fb often and email was too slow -_- So kakaotalk is a wonderful service to me because it’s like I’m texting my Korean friends… but free of charge! 
  2. Free calling: This is a new feature that has been added to kakaotalk recently and I haven’t been able to use it much, but I think it’s a nice feature to have available.  I’ve only used it twice (maybe?) with my sister and the quality is pretty good! hehe~ and they even have 2 voice filters available (monster and alien) so I guess it adds a little jazz to the conversation. 
  3. Emoticons: The emoticons are super cute and make chats enjoyable!  Unlike iphones, android phones don’t really have all that many emoticons available (the ones that are available are all aliens).  Plus, as an android user, I don’t receive emoticons from iphones… but kakaotalk fixes this problem!  hehe~ in kakaotalk many more emoticons are available and all users can see the emoticons you send!  Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but I get quite giddy over using emoticons LOL.
  4. Plus Friends: Okay I also don’t really use this feature, but kakaotalk let’s you “plus friend” kpop idols.  It’s nice to have to option to “friend” your favorite kpop idols and be updated on the latest news regarding them.  Sometimes they upload photos and sometimes they even upload voice messages for their fans!  Again, I don’t use it, but I’m pretty sure a lot of kakao users DO plus friend idols.
  5. Alert Tones: This app has its own alert tones you can choose from to alert yourself of kakao messages.  Although I wish more tones were available to choose from, I am satisfied with what they currently have.  There’s one particularly memorable alert tone… it’s of Obama saying “KAKAO…TALK.” ㅋㅋㅋ
  6. Theme Customization: What’s really cute and adorbs about this app is that you can customize it!  You can either change the background of your chats to a photo of your choice or download themes from, in my case, the Google Play Store.  And there are tons of cute themes you can choose from~  I downloaded a few and I switch the themes every once in awhile.
  7. Phone Book Sync: This makes it easy on you… kind of.  Since the app registers your number, it automatically adds people from your phone book to your kakaotalk contact list/friend list.  So instead of asking ALL of your friends for their kakao, they will automatically show up on your list.  Saves you time, no?

CONS:

  1. Blocking: I’m very disappointed in the blocking system of this app.  Even though you will stop receiving messages from the blocked user, they can still see your profile and your photo… to me- that’s not really blocking an unwanted user.  If I chose to block someone, I’d want them to be unable to access anything related to me on the app. 
  2. Emoticons: Not enough.  Seriously.  The emoticons are cute and all… but there are only 3 sets of emoticons and if you want more, you have to either buy or use the free ones (that expire) from the Item Store.  Highly highly unsatisfied with this fact.  >.<  Also, the U.S. version has less emoticons and specifically, less cute ones!  The Korean version has a greater variety of cute emoticons… but they have not developed such cute things for the 외국인s yet.  Hope this gets fixed 빨리빨리  !
  3. Message Read Sign: Sometimes this is good, but most of the time… it’s just annoying.  In a chat room, after you send a message to the other user, a number will appear next to your message.  The number depends on how many people have to read the message.  So let’s say I’m chatting with user “A.”  I send a message to A and a 1 will appear next to my message.  If A reads the message, the 1 will disappear.  If A doesn’t read the message, the 1 will remain there until A reads it.  Sometimes I run into the problem of reading a message… not knowing how to respond so I don’t… and then the other person keeps hounding me for an answer.  This feature is too creepy stalkerish if you ask me.
  4. No Control: … of being on other people’s list.  Let’s say user “B” knows my ID and adds me to their contact/friend list, but I don’t want to be on B’s list, I have no say in that.  Maybe this bothers only me… but I’d like to have some sort of control over who’s list I’m on LOL.
  5. Absent Video Call Feature: No explanations required.  haha. I just think a video call feature would be an awesome asset to kakaotalk.

To summarize, I think this app is just absolutely amazingly brilliant.  Maybe I think this because I’m in love with it… O_O  I mean, there are other messenger apps out there, such as kik, LINE, and whatsapp, and I personally have never tried those apps before so I can’t really say… but from screenshot comparisons, kakaotalk is definitely the CUTEST app. 

If you are a cute person or like cute things, kakaotalk is a great choice.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5

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