In this installment I would like to share some of my favourite voice communication Apps. I shall start with my favourite:
Viber is simple to use, mimics ‘normal phone calls’ closely and offers both voice calls and text messages. I love it If I were calling abroad, this would be my voice app of choice. I prefer it over Skype and Facetime, as it delivers better quality when poorer network quality is available. I often ring South Africa and their network is generally much poorer than we have available in the UK. Skype struggles over the same quality line. Also, it will work over 3G (mobile data), but of course beware not to run up a huge bill!
Drawbacks: Only works sporadically in China. Doesn’t support video calls, but that has its benefits too – not everyone wants to be seen in their jammies, without their make-up on when international calls come through at unsociable hours! Also, not all smartphones are supported, but works perfectly iPhone to iPhone.
Cost: free. Even if you weren’t planning to use it as the app of choice, it could also provide a very reliable ‘plan B’. Libon Premium costs £1.99/month.
Drawbacks: The adverts are annoying. But Libon Premium, which removes adverts and allows you to record a personal greeting is an option. But to be honest, there is no reason why I would pay for it as I don’t need a personal voicemail message and the alternatives are free.
0800 Wizard is new to me. I used to use an app called 08Mate, however it doesn’t look like it is available from the App Store anymore. The purpose of both of these apps, is to enable you to call 0800, 0844 and 0845 numbers from your mobile phone. Otherwise, for some reason that I simply just don’t understand, the mobile companies rip you off completely for dialling a free or national rate number.
If you ever need to dial into conference calls from your hands-free in the car, this is great as it remembers the last dialled numbers, so you don’t have to dial it each time, like you need to for 08Mate.
Cost: Free. Just get it!
Drawbacks: It is only applicable to the UK. It may not even be available for download in other countries. And, when the number is dialled, the minutes you use will come from of your ‘inclusive minutes’, not out of data. So if you don’t have many inclusive minutes, think again before you join hour-long conference calls.
Most people are familiar with Skype as it has been around a long time, and possibly even predates the smartphone era. I remember when computer-based webcams and microphones were required. You can make video or voice calls, although I find it more network hungry than other apps. This means the line often drops, and when using video, it constantly freezes.
Again, there are some countries (like China) that don’t support Viber or Libon, but where Skype works perfectly well. However, you do need to remember to keep the app open and logged in, otherwise callers cannot find or see you to call you.
Cost: Free. Again, get it, and at least use it as a back-up. It is free, after all!
Drawbacks: If you don’t use the free wi-fi version, but use it to call landlines (linked to a credit card), it can become expensive as costs rack up rather quickly.
Next time we’ll look at Apps which are good for messaging.