X-Lite is one of the most popular softphones on the VoIP market. It is the most basic of the line of VoIP apps that CounterPath offers, and it is the only free product. X-Lite is not attached with any VoIP service. So, to use it for voice and video calls, one must have a SIP account with VoIP service provider or have it configured within an IP PBX system for internal communication. CounterPath builds SIP-based softphones, server apps and Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) solutions for simple users, service providers, enterprises and also OEMs.
CounterPath offers this app for free so that potential customers can try it on their systems and feel confidence in using their line of products. Most of the business-related features are not included in the app for obvious reasons. Users who want the additional features will opt to buy other more enhanced products in the line, like EyeBeam and Bria.
- Free download and install
- Works with most SIP-based VoIP services and IP PBXs
- Not for commercial use
- No support from manufacturer
- Relatively heavy on resources
Features and Review
The interface. X-Lite has a simple a sleek interface that allies looks and ease of use. There is of course the softphone, which you use to dial numbers. There is also reasonably good management system for contacts, and also call history and detailed call lists. The GUI has nothing to envy from other prominent VoIP apps on the market.
Setup. Installation and setting up are relatively easy, provided you have the necessary information and credentials, which include SIP account information, username and password, authorization name, domain, firewall traversal and other network information. You will get all these information with your network administrator if you are using the app in an internal VoIP system under PBX, or from your VoIP service provider.
IM and presence management. X-Lite manages your buddy list for instant messaging and text chat. The IM window offers text formatting and emoticons. Also, as is the case with most IM apps, you get notified about who is online and who is not, and about the status of your contacts.
Video calls. If the VoIP service provider you use with X-Lite provides video conferencing service, the app is a good tool for making the most of this feature.
Voicemail. The app supports voicemail, again given that your service provider offers it. A voicemail icon is embedded in the interface and upon notification, one click suffices to read your voicemail.
Audio and video codecs. X-Lite comes with an array of audio and video codecs. I liked the option that allows you to select and enable which audio and which video codec you want to use. The available codecs include BroadVoice-32, G.711, Speex, DV14 and others for audio; and H.263 and H.263+1998 for video.
QoS. Another interesting and uncommon feature is the option to configure the quality of service (QoS). This comes handy for deployment within a corporate context. The configuration options are quite few, but at least you get to select your service type for signaling, voice and video.
Voice and video quality. X-Lite also includes an interface for configuring the media quality, with options to reduce echo, background noise, to enable automatic gain control and to preserve bandwidth during silent periods. The video resolution an also be changed. This comes handy when you have to readjust the video size depending on the type of web camera you have or the limitations on bandwidth.
System requirements. There is an X-Lite version for Windows (with multiple versions), Mac and Linux. The app is somewhat hungry on resources, with a minimum hardware requirement of 1GB memory and 50 MB of hard disk space. This is no big thing for new computer systems, but one would expect less bulk from a simple VoIP app. However, the bulk looks fair with the enhanced options listed above, as it is no simple app for simple users only, but an entry-level tool for VoIP communication within corporate contexts.