As we all know, video calling is almost non-existent in America for a variety of reasons. Some carriers don’t support it or they cripple it and when there is some support for it then it is very expensive. Well, how about free two way video calling? I’ve been playing around with VZOMobile (it’s in beta testing) and it works well for the most part. Let’s talk about it for a second though.
If you’re using a device that lacks a front facing camera (like a Fuze or a Tilt) then when you run the application you need to go to the camera settings and check the boxes for Diamond and 180 degree rotation. Oh and then you need to point your rear facing camera at a mirror:) Well, you can’t see your screen and be on it at the same time without a front facing camera:) [The other option is to not change the settings but instead view your phone by looking at the screen of your phone in a mirror but one way or another a mirror will be involved – in my case a bathroom mirror;)]. If you are using a phone with a front facing camera (I was testing it on an HD) then you need to hold the screen in landscape mode so that the text on the bottom of the screen is right side up but the video of yourself you see in the bottom corner does not rotate properly. It works over wifi or a regular data plan but you should know that it does not work well on Edge (it’s Edges fault, not VZO’s fault). Like Skype, the worse the connection the longer the lag. The stock photo from their website is somewhat inaccurate. On the real screen you’ll see yourself in the lower right hand corner as well. When you initiate a call it takes a few seconds to get a connection and then your phone rings using your stock ringtone. If you try to connect but fail then the recipient gets an email telling them that you tried to call them and it did not go through. I did get some failed attempts at connecting (which I think is to the VZO server but it’s not clear) but if you just close the app and reconnect it would work fine again and I didn’t get a dropped video call in my tests. I didn’t test this enough to get a sense of battery life but if you are uploading and downloading at max bandwidth don’t expect to be talking for hours on end unless you are plugged in.
One other thing it can do is connect to the PC version of VZO so that you don’t need both sides to be on a mobile phone (and since one side has high bandwidth that should help the latency issue a lot). From an ease of use perspective it scores very high. All you need to do is put in the callers name and hit connect and just like Skype you’ll begin the call.
I can already hear half of you telling me that there’s no lag and it’s awesome and the other half saying that there’s a long delay so I’ll preempt it – it’s all a question of connection speed. If you were looking for a free two way video calling solution that can even connect to PC’s or phones then start downloading.