Most iPhone and iPad users tend to gravitate towards FaceTime for all their video calling needs. After all, why wouldn’t they? FaceTime is fast, easy to use, and native to iOS. However it does have one drawback: It won’t allow you to video chat with people on other platforms.
If you’re looking for an alternative app that is more universal, here are 5 great alternatives that you should try. Of course — they’re all free, for video calls at least.
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Over the years, Skype has grown to be synonymous with video calls — and is arguably the most popular platform out there. Its iOS app was initially criticized for being slow and unresponsive but it is much, much better now and glides along smoothly.
It is worth noting that Skype is also great instant messaging platform and will let you place VoIP phone calls (though that requires you to subscribe to the pay-as-you-go option).
Just as iOS comes with FaceTime, Android comes with Google Hangouts — and there really is very little that separates the two nowadays. The big difference is that you can get the Google Hangouts app even for your iPad or iPhone — and it will allow group video chats, which can be really quite amazing.
On top of that, Hangouts seems to work great even in low-bandwidth conditions — which is something that you may want to consider if your internet connection can be a bit spotty.
If you find that most video call apps are resource hogs that include a ton of features that you barely ever use — you’ll love Fring. It can do a lot of what FaceTime can, comes with group video calls too, and yet somehow manages to package all of that in an extremely lightweight and minimal app that feels ever so clean.
While Viber may have started off as a VoIP phone call service, it has evolved past that by leaps and bounds and now incorporates video calling along with instant messaging too. It is one of the more polished apps out there and has a pretty slick user interface. Generally, Viber has tended to focus more on the iPhone than iPad, but it is fully compatible with both and also includes some basic games that you can play with your friends while chatting away.
Compared to most of the other FaceTime alternatives, Tango is relatively new — which is why the fact that it has grown to be one of the most popular video calling apps is a testament to just how good it is. To say that Tango is feature-rich is an understatement, and aside from video calls you’ll find instant messaging and even mini-games tucked into the stylish and modern exterior of this app.
Which one should you use? Largely — it’s up to you. The important thing is that with any of these apps you’ll be able to video call your friends who use Android or even Windows or other platforms.