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The 6 Best Video Calling Apps

07 Jun 2020
Joseph

Seph

amaysim's tech geek

Staying connected with friends and loved ones is more important than ever. While texting and phone calls are good, they’re just not quite the same as a face-to-face conversation.

Luckily, there are plenty of video calling apps to help keep us stay connected with friends and family, and we’ve put together a list of the best video callings apps on the market.

1. Zoom

The app on everyone’s computer in 2020, Zoom seems to have dominated a lot of the video calling app conversations. You can use it on any device, even if you don’t have a smartphone. It’s designed for you to use it on your computer, making it a contender for the best video calling app for desktop, and especially great for video conferences.

Zoom
Image Credit: Zoom

If you want to be able to make video calls via your iPad or tablet using Zoom, check out our data-only plans that are perfect for those types of devices.

Zoom is full of great extra features like reporting, breakout rooms (sub-rooms within the call), and up to hundreds of participants. Unfortunately, those extra features require a paid plan for the meeting host so Zoom doesn’t quite qualify as a free video chat app, but it is considered the best app for a video conference. All attendees can use their free account.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Free (to a point)
  • Accessible on all smartphones, mobile devices, and computers
  • Up to 100 participants (perfect for video conferences)
  • Unlimited time on 1:1 meetings

Cons:

  • Extra features require a paid plan
  • Limited time on group meetings

2. FaceTime

The most popular of the bunch for users with an Apple device, FaceTime is convenient and easy to use. Unfortunately, it’s not so convenient for people that don’t have an iPhone or iPad, as it’s only available on Apple’s operating system, iOS.

Facetime
Image Credit: Apple

It may not be the best video chat app, but it’s certainly the most convenient for iPhone users. If you’re looking for the best video calling apps for Android, move along to no. three.

Pros:

  • Simple interface that’s easy to use
  • Default on all iPhones and Apple devices
  • Free to use
  • Can have up to 32 people on a call at once

Cons:

  • Only available on iOS and not accessible on other devices
  • Not as secure as other services

3. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the most common alternative to FaceTime for anyone with an Android phone or those looking to call someone with an Android . That makes it one of the most popular (though potentially not the best) video calling apps for Android to iPhone users. Group call sizes were originally limited to up to four participants at a time, but those limits have recently increased to a maximum of 8 people.

Like most of these apps, WhatsApp requires you to input your phone number to use its service. Most of us have a functioning SIM card and mobile number, but if you don’t, you might want to consider grabbing an amaysim SIM-only mobile plan so you can stay connected with your friends.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible on all smart phones and mobile devices
  • Let’s you send links to group chats instead of manually creating a group chat

Cons:

  • Limited to 8 people in a video call

4. Houseparty

House Party App
Image Credit: Houseparty

Houseparty is one of the best group video calling apps for friends who want to chat, play games and have a bit of fun. While not as suited for work calls or important meetings, the built-in features make it ideal for virtual catch ups with mates.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Built-in games within the app for added fun
  • Accessible on all smartphones and mobile devices
  • Let’s you jump into any call a friend is on if they haven’t made it a locked room, creating a spontaneous element that’s similar to walking into a room at a party

Cons:

  • Potential security and privacy risks
  • Frequent reports of connection issues
  • Friends can pop into your call unless you lock your room, which may cause some awkwardness

5. Google Duo

Google’s answer to chatting and video calling, Google Duo. Duo is great and easy to use. It can sync with your Google account and contacts list. Input your phone number and you’re off.

Google Duo
Image Credit: Google

Google Duo is available for free on desktop and mobile, for both iOS and Android users. For people with Google smart devices, like the Google Nest Hub Max, you’ll be able to join in on your family and friends calls, so don’t have to worry about missing out on the action.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Accessible on all smart phones and mobile devices
  • Fun, built-in filters and frame
  • Uses your existing Google account
  • Let’s you pre-record video messages that friends can watch at their convenience
  • Makes use of a Knock Knock service that lets you see your video caller before answering

Cons:

  • Slightly confusing platform that may not be easy for the less tech-savvy to get a handle on

6. Viber

Every platform has a unique selling point, and for Viber it’s their security. Viber doesn’t read your personal messages, they don’t sell your content (no targeted ads based on what you message in the app), they use end-to-end encryption, and nothing shared in their app is stored on their servers. None of that might seem important if you’re just having a chat with friends, but if you value your privacy, these features are a massive bonus for video calls.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Accessible on all smartphones and mobile devices
  • Fun, built-in stickers and gifs
  • Uses your existing Google account
  • Let's you pre-record video messages that friends can watch at their convenience
  • Let’s you share files, locations, and more

Cons:

  • Not as intuitive as some other apps

There’s sure to be at least one app in this list that suits your needs. Now with Facebook throwing their hat in the ring with Messenger Rooms, the group video call software options have become endless.

While video calling with family and friends, ensure you have enough data for the hours of chatter as video calls can be a vampire for your data usage in excessive amounts. Whether you prioritise security, fun, convenience, or accessibility, there will be a video calling app that helps you stay connected to your loved ones.

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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.


Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.

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