With the continuous advancement of technology at an amazing rate, a lot has evolved when it comes to communicating with someone. Video Chat is making its mark in the market too with amazing upgrades every now and then, making video conferencing and communicating with people a different experience. Amidst a number of various apps available, two of them have really come out as top notch – Skype and FaceTime.
Skype is a third party cross-platform application which became hyped as soon as it was launched and gradually became the most popular and effective video-chat service. And then Apple introduced their very own FaceTime with iOS 4. This was a couple of years back. Since then, there has always been a healthy competition between these two video calling apps to come out as the best. Both are very similar technically and in functions, but is there a different experience which makes one better than the other? Let’s find out.
Skype has been experimenting with the interface bit by bit over the years and it has been quite a satisfactory experience as per user reviews until recently. The latest updates (version 5) of this video calling app has made its interface larger, intrusive and unmanageable and skype users are going back to previous versions as they were much more user-friendly.
FaceTime on the contrary has a very simple and basic interface with not much to do. Video calling and moving around is quite easy for newbies as it detects iSight camera automatically on startup and detects contacts in address book. But it is still too basic and outdated if compared to the much more developed Skype interface.
When it comes to flexibility Skype wins hands down. FaceTime is exclusively by and for Apple users. It’s working is limited to Macs or iPads and can only call iPhones. Landline calls are not an option. This confinement of FaceTime to Apple only is a very big drawback.
Skype on the other hand, is not any specific platform oriented. It can be used in both Windows and Mac and can also be used for any other desktop or cellular platforms. Skype is also equipped to make mobile calls to any network or landline calls all over the world. Skype thus fulfills its function to the fullest and without any limitations like FaceTime.
The first thing that we notice is that Skype, for any platform or any device is completely free to download and install. Whereas on the other hand FaceTime costs around 0.99$ on the App store. New users who haven’t used FaceTime don’t even have the provision to download and check a trial version. Many users would not want to spend a dollar without getting a hint of what they will be getting in return. Included in these charges, FaceTime provides an interesting feature of free group video calls bundled in the package.
Skype although free, charges a comparatively big sum of 8.99$ a month for group video calls since the last update. But on the other hand it allows free video calls to cross platforms and also provide cellular and landline calling facilities at regular rates.
It is safe to say that the more fitting app out of the two in cost-efficiency matters is completely based on the needs of the user. If the user needs to make group video calls quite often and that is a priority then FaceTime would be a more economic option as it comes at a one-time purchase cost bundled with free group calls. But for everything else other than group video conferencing, Skype takes away the credit.
ROLLING BACK TO PREVIOUS VERSIONS
Both Skype and FaceTime allow auto-updates. Skype provides users with a choice when it comes to accepting updates. This means users who are unhappy with a newer update have the choice to download and reinstall an older version anytime. Apple’s FaceTime doesn’t deliver this provision and once they have accepted an update, there is no rolling back. This one difference makes Skype much more user-friendly.
Call quality of both the applications will naturally vary based on the speed and quality of the internet connection being used. FaceTime and Skype both generally run in 640 x 480 VGA resolutions. Hence, video quality is as good as same for both and same applies for the audio quality in a call.
FaceTime and Skype both also offer HD video quality of much superior resolutions with certain specific arrangements. FaceTime has support of HD quality 720p resolutions limited to the newer MacBook Pros as it requires the iSight camera incorporated with it. As for Skype, both the users in a video call need HD webcams or atleast Skype version 4.2 for windows.
Both the apps are head to head when it comes to call quality. Both provide full screen videos and similar audio and video during a call and the only factor that hence makes a difference is the quality of the internet connection we use.
To a great extent, the conclusion of which one of the two is better is greatly influenced by personal user choices. Both have their shares of pros and cons. FaceTime looks very promising and bundled with its own set of benefits. But personally i would say Skype is a much more flexible, complete and hence superior app. The provision of completely free download, cross platform support and modifications in terms of developments and updates makes Skype much more preferable and desirable. Although, We do hope that FaceTime which is a very close competitor comes up with better platform support and more appealing features.