QCharts Review - What Every Day Trader Should Know...
Read Best Technical Analysis Charting Software to get an overview on what is available.
QCharts is the professional frontend for Quote.com's "Livecharts" streaming chart service. It is a popular charting application among active traders and investors which has grown to include news, dynamic hotlists of various sectors and integrated trading with some partner brokers. Quote.com is now under the management of Lycos, a popular internet portal during the internet bubble years. The main competitor to Qcharts in its "price and functionality" range is eSignal, another popular charting frontend within the active trading community.
If you have not done so, it is highly recommended that you try out Qcharts' free 30 day no-risk trial offer. That is the best way to get used to the software and learn the basic operating terminology and nuances of charting software. Many charting software use very similar interfaces and terminology so if you are familiar with a couple of them, the rest will be a breeze to pick up.
Charting Capabilities and Data Lag
The charting capabilities of QCharts are actually quite good and are considered among the best in the industry. The same however cannot be said of the data-feed as many a time, QCharts data will lag the market. The situation can get exceptionally bad during high trading activity periods which are normally triggered by critical economic reports e.g. FOMC announcements and the like. To be fair, many other data vendors also suffer data lags during such "fast" markets. You can discuss Qcharts problems in the Qcharts User Supported Forum which is an excellent resource from its active users and developers to fine-tune your QCharts installation. Problems like data lag can be overcome by various means like changing data servers to ones which are physically closer to your vicinity or detecting server response times using the various tools recommended, in other words, servers which have shorter ping times from your PC.
During the trial, you should also pay close attention to how much resources your computer is using when running QCharts. If your CPU is pegged to the maximum, your computer's setting may not be optimal in running QCharts. Some users in the QCharts message boards have solved their CPU pegging problems with a simple change in the Windows XP cache settings, although others in this same situation resorted to buying totally new high end machines. From experience, QCharts ran flawlessly on a 1.8 GHz machine equipped with 1 GB RAM. The amount and quality of RAM is important when running these kinds of applications as you can never have too much, especially if you also run third party add-ons to QCharts like Stockwatch Pro. Generally, however, 512MB of RAM will more than suffice to run a stable real-time charting frontend like QCharts. Crucial.com makes reliable memory upgrade modules which are a must in today's trading computer systems.
Other notable features that add value to QCharts are as follows:
- Unlimited realtime quotes from 15 exchanges gives greater flexibility to traders who are constantly scanning for opportunities based on their automated trading systems. Many other charting platforms limit the trader to a certain number of securities (say about 40) for the basic package with an option of adding more at an additional cost.
- QCharts has also one of the deepest historical databases with over 6 years of intraday data and 15 years of end of day data which will satisfy any system trader's backtesting needs.
Currently, the basic QCharts plan costs $95 and if you need option monitoring tools, the monthly charge is $119.95. If you intend to use MetaStock for your frontend charting with the added capability of backtesting, explorations and expert advisories, the monthly charges balloon to $199.95. Note that all these charges exclude exchange fees, which normally can add $10-30 to the monthly charges depending on how many exchanges you choose.