Qnext Unified Communication Suite review

Reviewed by: Kate Em, June 2008
Published by: Qnext
Requires: Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Vista; Mac OS X Tiger or Panther; Linux (tested with Red Hat, Debian, Xandros and Ubuntu)

MSRP: Free download

Once upon a time, email was King of the Internet, making it easy to swap news with friends half a world away without needing handfuls of snail-mail days or a bank loan for telephone calls. Then along came instant messaging and suddenly we were all talking in little text boxes in real time. Qnext is a multimedia, multi-protocol communication and information exchange software product. Qnext is designed to hook up with friends, family and business contacts online no matter which Instant Messaging (IM) client they're using.

First came AIM and ICQ, then Yahoo and MSN joined the rush. Now there are so many IM options it’s hard to decide which to grab. Worse, our family and friends all use different IMs and before we know it our desktop is littered with IM program icons. Qnext changes all that. Order comes out of the chaos. For that alone and the streamlined way it deals with the task, Qnext is worth having, but instead of stopping there it offers much, much more, packing a big set of other P2Web goodies too.


Qnext is a versatile communication client which lets you open up ‘zones’ which are attached to the messaging window in place of pop-up boxes. Into these zones files of any size or media-type can be dragged and dropped directly from your desktop, allowing you to instantly share music, video, photo and text files or accept incoming files from whomever you are linked with. You can also enjoy group chatting with friends using multiple IMs by joining with them in the Qnext window, as well as streaming music for all of them to enjoy.

And as if all that wasn't enough to make Qnext a must-have application, it also provides you with a remote desktop which allows you, or anyone with permission, to connect to that desktop from any other computer, or to view files (again only with permission) in total security.

Looking at security, Qnext uses an embedded 192-bit encryption key for all peer-to-peer communication. In Qnext, all items sent travel through Qnext alone and not over a public network like AIM, MSN Live, Yahoo Messenger and other IMs. Communications pass directly from your PC to your friend or colleague's PC and won't be archived on any IM network's servers.

If you still aren't completely convinced, keep in mind that Qnext (like all the other popular IM clients) is free — it will cost you nothing to try it for yourself. Once you do you may never want to change. Grab it now and get rid of the clutter.

Cons: There aren't many. I would have liked to see a blog in the business model, or rather a means to to use Qnext to publish directly to a blog. The user interface could be more intuitive. Qnext occasionally loses track of your login status if another program crashes while Qnext is running, requiring a shut down and restart of Windows in order to reset Qnext (it's a Windows-only issue apparently because we could not reproduce the problem on Mac OS X or Red Hat/Debian/Xandros/Ubuntu Linux). The Qnext installation includes what we assume is a customized Java version which seems to use more RAM than it should.

Pros: Seamless functionality for text and voice chat, file sharing and music streaming with a group of friends no matter which IM they use. Easy to remotely share files from desktop. Very secure private network. Better IM client feature compatibility than Trillian. File transfers of all sizes work seamlessly between Qnext and Yahoo Messenger, MSN and AIM. Video chat worked well between Qnext, Yahoo Messenger and MSN using a couple of different Logitech webcams. Qnext is working on remote desktop access from your mobile device, a feature which is scheduled for release later in 2008 — a fascinating development if it works, and we're going to watch for it.

Editor's Note: This review came to us through a Qnext partner, so rather than publishing it without any scrutiny, we decided to challenge reviewer Kate Em's "Qnext Is Great" mantra and check it out ourselves. Turns out, Qnext really is hands-down more effectively integrated with a large number of IM clients than Trillian, a fact which automatically puts Qnext in a class by itself. Why? Because we're genuinely tired of multi-IM clients which promise much but deliver far too many problems along with the good stuff — IM client feature compatibility issues being the most prominent and irritating with an inability to video chat or perform file transfers at the top of the bug list. Qnext seems to work well with several different versions of AIM, MSN and Yahoo Messenger. So good for Qnext for shaking off some of the historical issues apparently endemic to multi-IM clients. Kate Em also states that ". . . all items sent travel through Qnext alone and not over a public network like AIM, MSN Live, Yahoo Messenger and other IMs." That's not quite accurate because even though data exchanged between Qnext users may not be intermediately archived, it all still has to pass through your ISP, the Internet backbone to which your ISP connects, and the ISP used by the person with whom you're communicating. In other words, Qnext is software which can be used to create secure temporary networks. Kate gave the product a 5 out of 5 rating, but we feel that the user interface needs improvement and knocked it one back.

KSN Product Rating:



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