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Skype for Android

The official Skype app for Android lets you place free voice and video calls to other Skype users, or, for a small charge, voice calls to landlines and mobile numbers. Further, the refreshed app sports a new interface with a focus on messaging, making it easier than ever to fire up a chat. Without question, though, its improvements in overall stability and speed make Skype 4.0 truly a remarkable update. The app runs more smoothly than it did in versions past, and overall it just feels a lot more solid. Unfortunately, though, what taints this otherwise impressive release is the fact that it has actually lost a few features that its previous version enjoyed.

Skype – free IM & video calls apps for Android

Skype may seem like a complicated app, with its video, chatting, and landline-calling capabilities, but rest assured, it isn’t. Its newly designed interface is decidedly tidy, with only three main tabs to house most of the app’s functions.

With version 4.0’s clear focus on messaging, the app now opens up directly to your recent conversations. From here, you can tap on a contact to jump directly to a conversation (instead of a profile page) and reply. Otherwise, you can swipe left to get to your favorite contacts, and swipe again to see all of your contacts. With the new design, Skype feels like a much lighter app that’s meant for quickly firing off messages to friends. In fact, it now feels more like it’s primarily a messaging app with voice and video capabilities rather than the other way around. And that’s not a bad thing. But as good a messenger as the new Skype is, it is missing a few of its more advanced features that avid chatters might miss. For instance, the app no longer lets you send files to other users. While I personally didn’t use this feature often, it was a convenience that many took advantage of.

What’s great about the Skype mobile app is that it lets you place calls just as easily as on the desktop. From the main screen, you can hit the call button and dial a number or from a conversation, all you have to do is hit either the phone or video button to place a call. Within a call, you can easily toggle video on and off with a single tap. Also, it’s worth noting that you can have two-way voice calls with only one person transmitting video.

What’s great about the Skype mobile app is that it lets you place calls just as easily as on the desktop. From the main screen, you can hit the call button and dial a number or from a conversation, all you have to do is hit either the phone or video button to place a call. Within a call, you can easily toggle video on and off with a single tap. Also, it’s worth noting that you can have two-way voice calls with only one person transmitting video.

When it comes to video calling, we had something of a mixed experience. Calls started fine and, although you can turn video on or off, we couldn’t find a way to switch from loudspeaker to ear speaker. As video calls started on loudspeaker, we didn’t see the problem, until we had a video call disrupted by an incoming cellular call. Declining the celluar call meant we could return to the Skype video call, but we were then stuck on ear speaker. Equally, if you’re in a Skype call, you really shouldn’t have normal calls jumping over the top.

So there’s some tweaking needed to make this experience really work well. Either those in-call options, like switching speakers, need to be more obvious, or added if they’re not there. Aside from calling, your status and account are managed by tapping your avatar in the top right-hand corner. It’s here that you’ll also find the settings menu with the option to sign out of Skype, something you’ll want to do if you’re on the move and need to conserve battery as it will still be quite a drain.

So there are some areas we’d like to see progress, and fairly quickly, but we’re happy that Skype does seem to have a unified sense of direction. We felt the old app was too heavy, too slow, and in recent months, too difficult to sign into, and some of those areas have at least been addressed.

Skype : Fast and reliable VoIP, video, and messaging Apps for Android

The good: Skype for Android has fantastic audio quality and impressive video call quality. Overall the app runs smoothly and is noticeably more stable than before.

The bad: Skype is still missing group video chats, and there are no more file transfers between users. Also, there’s no way to switch between front-facing and rear-facing cameras during video calls.

The bottom line: Whether you’re a Skype user or not, version 4.0’s impressive video quality and stability make it a great option for your VoIP, video, and messaging needs.

SKYPE RATINGS & REVIEW
USER INTERFACE89%
FUNCTIONALITY91%
PERFORMANCE89%
ALL OTHER87%
TOTAL RATING89%

Skype (2551 downloads)

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