Skype for iPhone: The Voice Call App (5 out of 5)
Skype users know that the program is more than just a chat program. You can make free voice calls to other users and, even better, you can call landlines and cell phone users. This requires a fee, but it’s relatively inexpensive. The iPhone app released by Skype makes using voice and text features as seamless as using the native phone app.
If you have an online number and calling plan with Skype (mine costs a total of $7/month), you can make calls and receive voice mails right on the iPhone. Note though, if you wish to receive real time calls, the app must be open and online. The calls are very clear, and the voicemails are visually listed, as they are in the native phone app. Additionally, you can import contacts straight from your iPhone. The interface clearly mimics the phone app as well. The folks at Skype have done an excellent job replicating the iPhone calling experience.
Limitations (3 out of 5)
Text messages can be sent to mobile phones for an additional fee, but note that you cannot receive SMS text messages through the Skype iPhone app.
It would be possible to add calling features to an iPod Touch using this application, but part of what makes this app so great is the use of the integrated mic on iPhone that the Touch lacks. You also need a Data or Wifi connection to use the app, which places even greater limits on non-iPhone users.
Skype for iPhone: The Bottom Line (4 out of 5)
That said, while it probably won’t replace the native phone app for most users, it makes an excellent second line. That can lower the amount of minutes used each month. It may even allow for some iPhone users to drop to a lower calling plan, and save some money on their cell bill. That alone is a good reason to download this very useful free app. Clearly, lots of thought went into the app’s design, and it’s sure to make many a short list of favorite apps. True, it isn’t perfect, but if it were, one would suspect AT&T might start to get uncomfortable with the idea. Perhaps that’s an even better reason to check out the Skype app.