Viber is a fresh, new, and easy-to-use take on VoIP calling from your Android device. It allows you to call and text anyone free and clear anywhere on the globe as long as you both have the Viber app and a data or Wi-Fi connection. With more than 40 million users on both Android and iPhone, Viber remains completely free and without advertising. While VoIP from a mobile device is not a new concept and is a crowded field to be in, Viber is still able to stand out. This is because of its design, implementation, and the fact that you just can’t beat free.
Registration and Finding Your Friends
The very first thing that caught my attention with Viber is the signup process. If there is one thing I hate, it’s filling out forms and typing in passwords on a mobile device. Even on a desktop or laptop, I much prefer one-click signup options. With Viber, they’ve put some thought into the signup process, basically eliminating it entirely.
You don’t need another username and password. Viber simply allows you to use your phone number as your “identity” on their network. On the same note, you’re able to call your friends using their phone number. So, not only do you avoid having to remember yet another login, but you can easily connect with your friends on Viber without having to know anything but their phone number.
This implementation of the registration process makes it seamless for new users to start using Viber. You need no technical skills or knowledge of how it all works behind the scenes to get up and running. It also eliminates the issue of finding your friends once you’ve activated Viber as all you need is their phone number. If you have friends that are not on Viber, you can invite them in a couple of taps and they can be up and running in a matter of seconds.
Along those same lines, there is no need to import, upload, or add new Viber contacts. Viber automatically integrates with your Android contacts and tags those people in your phone book who are using Viber. I was surprised to see how many of my contacts were already using Viber when I had only just heard of it.
Making and Receiving Calls
Viber runs in the background on your device without draining your battery, so you won’t miss any call from your Viber contacts. You can optionally display a persistent notification to remind you that it’s available. When making calls, you have a few options: you can launch the Viber app from your home screen, your app drawer, or a persistent notification. From there, you can either dial a number directly or choose from your Viber contacts.
You can also set Viber as the default for making phone calls on your device. What’s cool about using Viber this way is that it automatically handles the situation if the person you’re calling doesn’t have Viber. In that case, the call will be placed like a regular call using your cellular provider and plan, so you don’t have to remember who actually has Viber. Of course, you definitely want to invite your friends to Viber so that you can save those plan minutes.
Sending and Receiving Messages
While you’re saving your minutes making calls with Viber, you can save your messages through Viber too. It provides a threaded conversation view that will remind you of most instant messaging applications. It’s also a lot like messaging on a certain other platform.
Each message you send can optionally include your location. Viber also includes the ability to send images by either choosing from your photo gallery or snapping a new image. As you can see in the screenshot, there is also a Free Call button that will allow you to quickly initiate a VoIP call if messaging turns out to be insufficient for the moment.
One nice touch about the Viber messaging feature is the notifications. When you receive a new message, you are alerted by your standard Android notifications in your notification bar, but there is also a alert window that allows you to view and respond to the new message without missing a beat.
In my testing of Viber, call quality was excellent on both ends. According to Viber, their “cutting edge technology ensures HD sound quality that is much better than GSM or a regular phone call” and it’s pretty obvious they have something special going on there. I’ve tried numerous VoIP solutions on Android and Viber definitely comes out on top for quality in my book.
Viber is ahead of the game due to their ease of registration alone. It’s easy to sign up, painless to locate your friends, and can be integrated into your daily routine without a second thought. Viber’s free calling is going to be most useful to those frequently connected to Wi-Fi as that is where you get the most bang for your buck: no minutes or data used on your calling plan. If you’re running low on minutes and don’t use much data, you also come out on top by using Viber for voice calls.
Keep in mind, Viber also comes in handy for international calling. As long as both parties have the Viber app and an Internet connection, it doesn’t matter where on earth they happen to be standing. The call will still be free thanks to Viber. Standard text messaging and picture messaging via Viber will also be a huge benefit depending on your situation.
I found Viber reliable for the most part. I had a couple of force closes, but nothing I couldn’t chalk up to my own device as I didn’t have similar oddities on a stock Incredible 2 that I tested it on. With the easy setup, excellent call quality, and instant message notifications, there really is no reason not to give Viber a try.