ICQ 5.04 review: ICQ 5.04

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Quick installation; easy to use; unobtrusive; free voice and video calling; calls landline phones for a fee; spam control; easy to find buddies; supports more than 20 languages.

The Bad Lacks drag-and-drop file sharing; includes advertising.

The Bottom Line Easy, free services make ICQ 5.04 a fine choice for voice, keyboard, or Webcam chats, but MSN Messenger 7.0 and Yahoo Messenger 7.0 offer more features.

Download for free from CNET Download.com.

6.7 Overall
  • Setup and interface 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Service and support 7.0

ICQ 5.04

ICQ 5.04 is a good IM client for home and light business use. This straightforward instant messenger (the acronym stands for "I seek you") offers a quick download and easy installation. You have to deal with modest advertising, but ICQ is less intrusive than MSN Messenger 7.0 . Although the default ICQ interface is a bland mix of pastels, such simplicity understates its capabilities, such as integrated PC-to-PC voice calling. A suite of extra features (dubbed Xtraz) offers customizations, full screen games, and free enhanced communication tools, including voice chat, video messaging, and a virtual walkie-talkie. Do you copy?

The light, 4.07MB download of ICQ 5.04 takes less than a minute via broadband. Once you run the equally fast installer, you can use ICQ immediately. Where some IM clients, such as MSN Messenger 7.0 , change home pages and default search engines, ICQ 5.04 leaves your favorite system settings alone. ICQ attempts to add a toolbar to your Web browser, but you can uncheck a box to prevent that.

After installation, you must enter your ICQ number or register for a new one. Privacy pundits will appreciate how little personal information ICQ requires: enter a nickname, a password, and an e-mail address, and you're set. You can also block your vital stats from ICQ's directories. Our only glitch came when a firewall blocked ICQ registration, but a quick reboot and relaunch cleared that up.

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