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My reviews of Tango & Fring video chat apps

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by justjerry, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    One of the reasons I got the EVO was to be able to video chat with friends and family. I was happy to find there were free apps available that let people on one network with an Android phone video chat with someone else on another network using an iPhone 4 or 4th gen iPod Touch.

    So, I started out with Fring. Free app for both Android and iPhone/ipod users. Easy to install and setup. Tested it with my niece who was using her current gen iPod Touch on WiFi and me with my EVO on WiFi.

    Video Quality: Fair to Good. Wasn't as clear as the iPhone's FaceTime - but it wasn't bad either. Somewhat pixelated and kept getting a "Poor Network Connection" alert. But video never froze or got so distorted that we couldn't make each other out.

    Audio: Crap to Fair. I could hear her fine - but even with my volume all the way up it still was a bit low. She on the other hand could barely hear me - even after tinkering with the settings. I sent a support ticket to Fring about this and they replied saying my niece (w/ iPod touch) should uninstall Fring, reboot her iPod, then reinstall Fring. Don't know if this worked though as we haven't had time to test it as of yet.

    Overall: If the audio was a bit louder on both ends I'd give Fring a 3.75/5

    Apparently somewhat new to the videochat app area - Tango offers the same cross network, platform free video chat that Fring does - but without some of the features of Fring like "FringOut" - being able to call other Fring members for free and/or call other mobile & landlines for 1 cent/min. But I was just interested in a good quality videochat app so I downloaded it and had my best friend who has an iPhone 4 download it as well.

    We tested it out with both of us using WiFi.

    Extremely simple to setup -no registration to go through.

    Video Quality: Much, Much better than Fring right off the bat. However, after about 30 mins we both started to get "Poor Network Connection" alerts and the video started freezing and would be out of sync with the audio. Unfortunately we decided to stop it because of time constraints so we weren't abel to see if we could obtain a better connection by restarting, etc.

    Audio: Excellent. Good and loud on both ends. Only little thing I didn't like so much was that if one of us was talking and the other started to respond at the same time, the one talking first couldn't hear the other until he stopped talking. Not a huge deal, but seems Fring was able to let each user talk freely over the other.

    Overall: Great video quality -while it lasted and excellent audio. 4.5/5

    I have yet to try QIK - only because I've read so many negative things about it being a clunky app, poor quality video and walkie-talkie style audio - meaning to talk, you have to hold down a button. There's been a recent update that I intend to try out.

    I should mention too that both Fring and Tango work on 3G as well as WiFi. I believe there's a PC app for Fring too but not for Tango yet - as they want to perfect the mobile clients first (as stated on their site).

    Another free mobile videochat app available is ooVoo. oooVoo has been around as a desktop videochat app for a while (it's very much like Skype) but now they're launching a mobile client. Currently in beta and only available for Android with iPhone/iPod/iPad (yes they have it on their site - perhaps in preparation for a new iPad with front facing camera?) versions to be out early 2011.

    I'm just glad we have some good free choices when it comes to videochatting. Right now I'd recommend Tango - however, your milage may vary.

    Hope this is helpful.


    SandyJoborn and Epicurean like this.

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  2. alextop30

    alextop30 Android Expert

    When and if skype comes out with a video connection at the standard we are use to on our computers these applications will be forgotten.

    I know skype video came out for the iphone however apparently android users are not good enough to get this feature. Also skype is possibly the most used VOIP programs on the net soooo that only follows.
  3. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I agree. I read somewhere that Skype was available at some point for Android - but then pulled it because of an exclusivity contract between them and Verizon. I could be wrong - but I thought I read this.

    It's a shame Skype isn't available for Android - and it makes them look bad imo.
  4. Facetime is the video chat standard to beat. As usual, though, it is locked in.
    Obviously I'm waiting for 1) a similar Android system, and 2) cross-platform compatibility with Facetime.
  5. alextop30

    alextop30 Android Expert

    Skype is actually available on the android market. The only thing is it currently does not support video chat. You can chat and do voice connection over the app, however you cannot do video which is why the entire android community is so disseminated with the app.
  6. Draiko

    Draiko Well-Known Member

    Facetime, while having both a nice UI and AV quality, is useless since it's limited to Wifi only.

    Tango is my favorite so far but is missing two key features... 1) Desktop software (possibly irrelevant as the Windows and Mac OSes take a back seat in the Home/Office) 2) Bluetooth headset support for Android (Also missing from the other Android video calling apps due to something in the Android Bluetooth stack).

    Skype is in bed with Verizon right now. I wouldn't expect Skype to have full video calling functionality over 3G/4G right away unless you're on Verizon... that, frankly, sucks for both Skype and the tech sector in general. Skype could lose some major ground here.

    I, honestly, won't be doing any major amount of Video calling unless I can use my bluetooth headset. Using the current "Video call speakerphone" setup in public is an annoying experience for everyone.
  7. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Actually FaceTime is only limited to WiFi because of restrictions ATT set for it. Their network is already so overrun with data that allowing FaceTime to work using its 3G network would only gum things up more. So FaceTime can work on ATT's 3G (there's even a hack out) but the setting to do so is "hidden" for lack of a better term.

    It's unfortunate that Skype is in bed with Verizon. Kinda shows their priorities when it comes to its user base.
  8. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I did some research to see how FaceTime worked (via video compression) vs. Tango and came up with some conflicting results:

    FaceTime uses Apple's H.264 video compression codec. Apple has pledged to open the infrastructure of FaceTime to 3rd party developers. So far it has prevented them from accessing the H.264 hardware video compression on the iPhone.

    However, in this article from UberGizmo reviewing Tango it states:

    "What really sets Tango apart, though, is the perfection of peer-to-peer (P2P) video streaming that can, apparently, “scale to hundreds of millions of people.” According to Tango’s executives, its video compression and delivery algorithms may be better than other P2P services such as Skype or FaceTime. Tango’s proprietary algorithms allow ultra-compressed video to move from handset-to-handset over cellular networks and Wi-Fi. This means improved performance with nominal infrastructure (i.e. server) costs. All of the bandwidth is handled directly. It’s a data connection, so call minutes aren’t eaten up. Setton, Tango’s technology lead, has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford. He wrote the first book on peer-to-peer video streaming and contributed to the development of H264 or “MPEG4,” the video standard Tango uses."

    In this article from All Things Digital, the author states:

    "Apple has pledged to share its FaceTime technology with other companies and is likely to spread it to more of its own products over time."

    This was back in Sept. 2010. Anyway, this confuses me because these articles state that Apple won't allow it's H.264 codec to 3rd party developers, but then Tango says they use H.264 as their video compression codec. If both FaceTime and Tango use H.264 then you'd think the quality would be equal- right? That's where I'm confused. I think I'll email the Tango developers to hopefully get a solid answer.

    At any rate, Apple's not stupid and I see them opening up FaceTime- cross-platform/network sometime in the future - but how soon? Probably not anytime soon. However, with the extreme popularity of Tango and it's ability to be used on WiFi, 3G and 4G networks and cross-platform capabilities - it can only make Apple really start to take note and really start to work on opening up FaceTime for everyone.
  9. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    And I just found this too:

    Tango Takes Face-To-Face Video Calling Beyond The iPhone With 8 Million Downloads

    "....In the past three months, it’s grown from about 1 million downloads to 8 million (see chart. Of those, 7.2 million became registered users, and 42 percent (or about 3 million) have made a video call in the last 30 days."

    Full article at TechCrunch
  10. Epicurean

    Epicurean Android Enthusiast

    Just tried Tango on 2 Epics on WiFi. One of the Epics is rooted on 2.2.1, the other is stock 2.1. Tango was easy to install from the app market on both and we were able to connect right away. Same issues as reported by Jerry, when we both tried to talk it didn't work very well but we got the hang of it.

    I will be traveling next week and will give it a better test. But so far, Mrs. Epicurean is very happy.
    justjerry likes this.
  11. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for your report. Keep us updated on your future use. For now I'm sticking with Tango.

  12. Rone222

    Rone222 Lurker

    I went to Android Market and looked at the comments. About 90% of the people were complaining they couldn't use their front camera with Tango. Did you use a front camera phone? Do you know how to get it to work with a front camera phone like the Glaxay S 4G I use?
  13. justjerry

    justjerry Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Weird the whole point of video calling is to be able to use the front camera (the one facing you as you look at the face of the phone). It works fine on my EVO 4G but unfortunately I don't know why it's not working on your Galaxy. I would go to Tango's website tango.me and submit a support request.

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