Skype vs Viber: The Android Phone App Face-Off!

February 21, 2012


VoIP apps are probably the most useful things you can install on your Android device. With a 3G or a Wi-Fi connection, you can call and message your contacts for free. Now we all know that Skype is the pack leader when it comes to VoIPs, but with the arrival of Viber on Android a few months ago, has the playing field already been leveled?

We’ve tried installing both apps on our own devices (Samsung Galaxy Mini, HTC Wildfire, Samsung Galaxy Tab GT-P1000, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) to check out their strengths and weaknesses. Here are the things we found out.

Skype

Skype has long been synonymous with online calls since it was first launched on desktop computers, so it’s great to know that they deliver the same user-friendliness on mobile devices.

Upon downloading and installing the app from the Market, you’ll be asked to either enter your Skype username or create a new account. The app will then give you three options – sync all your contacts, sync only with existing Skype contacts, or don’t sync at all. According to the notification, “it may take a minute or two”. Well, ours took around thirty minutes on both Wi-Fi and 3G. We don’t really know why — it possibly could be because of carriers, or the fact that Skype is actually pretty heavy on the memory – but you’d better try doing something else first while waiting for everything to sync.

Once you’ve collected all your contacts, you can freely play with the app. You’ll notice four categories on your main page – Contacts, Recent, Call Phones, and Profile. Contacts is a simple and clean list of names in your network (depending on what syncing option you chose), and it shows which of them are online and available. Recent gives you “events”, or the latest numbers that you’ve contacted or that have contacted you. Call Phones will direct you to your keypad. Profile shows your profile picture and your customizable “mood status”, as well as other information such as your email, Google, and YM accounts, among others.

As always, Skype has awesome in-voice quality during Wi-Fi or 3G calls. Video calling, the feature that separates Skype from other VoIP apps, was pretty nifty. The voice quality was great, the video was clear, and all in all it was a pretty smooth experience. Doing voice calls from tablet to tablet didn’t have any problems, but phone to tablet (Galaxy Mini to Galaxy Tab 10.1) didn’t work since apparently the Galaxy Mini didn’t have the minimum requirements needed for, so we got normal voice call instead. Skype’s blog has a list of devices that support video calls which you might want to check out.

Viber

Now on to Viber, the app that some say can give Skype a run for its money. Although the simple purple interface isn’t as appealing as the happy sky-blue of Skype, its functionality is definitely worth checking out.

Download the app from the Android Market or from the Viber website. After installation, Viber will prompt you to choose your country, after which you’ll need to enter your phone number – no more signing up or keeping another user name, which is actually a relief. Once you’re done, the app will tell you to wait for a text message that will give you a number code which you’ll need to proceed. In our case, a pop-up with the needed four digits appeared first before the SMS arrived. It’s probably to ensure that you get your code if in case you don’t receive the SMS.

When you’re done, Viber will immediately sync with your entire address book, and the entire process only takes a couple of seconds. The synced list will not only show the names of your contacts, but also who of them are on Viber. Tap on a name, and aside from contact info, you’ll see that the first two options are “Call Viber – Free Call” and “Send Message – Free Message”. If you choose these two, you’ll need a data plan or a Wi-Fi connection.

The part that we like about Viber is that that you get a pop-up of messages received, which is much like what Handsent does. Another thing is that you don’t really have to be in the application to receive calls. Meaning, it automatically launches when you receive a call.

As for voice call quality, Viber still lags a bit behind Skype, as there’s a bit of reverb going on, but it gets better as the call progresses.

Viber is accessible even after you exit and go offline, unlike Skype that needs you to go online before you can log on — although of course you can’t use your free calls and free messaging. Offline, Viber can act as your default regular call and messaging app, as it doesn’t cause any lagging to your device.

The Final Word

Both apps are definitely worth installing, since their strengths are pretty much different from each other. For one thing, Skype has video calling. That’s enough reason for you to use it. Viber, on the other hand, is light and as mentioned earlier, can actually be your call and messaging app, even offline. Personally, I’ve got Skype on my tablet and Viber on my phone, but it’s up to you how best you think both apps can be utilized. In the end it’s all about getting the best bang for your buck, and with regard to that, Skype and Viber both deliver.

Comments

  • Turbosoob

    What about Line2?

    • Technowledge

      There’s a great ebook report that details
      the data usage (and other phone resources) of the Skype and Viber mobile apps.
      Search on Amazon Kindle for ‘Skype vs Viber: are VOIP mobile apps viable
      alternatives to cellular calls?’

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  • http://www.viber.com Viber

    Hi,

    This is a member of the Viber Development Team!
    Thank you for your review of Viber!

    Viber is presently adding the final tweaks on our improved voice engine in order to adjust to as many devices as possible, your feedback is welcomed. You will surely be pleased with the results :)

    If anyone has any questions/suggestions for Viber, please feel free to write, and we will address them shortly.

    Thanks you,
    Viber Team

    • Sherman

      Hi, I just use Viber recently. I was struggled between Tango and Viber. Viber is a very great app. However, on my Samsung Galaxy Ace, the message tone is too low to hear. if viber can let me to choose the ring tone, it will be the best.

      thanks

      • http://www.viber.com Viber

        Hi Sherman,
        We plan to add an option to customize ringtones in the future, and that will solve the problem you’re describing.

        We are still not sure when exactly it will be ready, so stay tuned for news and updates :)

    • bj

      Sorry if i appear dump can i fone England from S
      pain using viber for free ?

      • http://www.viber.com Viber

        Viber offers free calls and texts between any 2 users who have Viber installed, and that are connected to the internet :)

  • http://twitter.com/MeirDeutsch MeirDeutsch

    You might want to check out an analysis Appreciate did on the difference between the two – http://www.appreciate.mobi/?p=295

  • Raimondas

    Hi, I have installed Viber in Samsung Galaxy S2. . The app is very good for calling .
    But one problem – I cannot see and hear incoming ring, when Viber is “in shadow” -switched on but not open. Friends complains that I do not hang up, but I just can not see. I always find that something call my only when find a little red sign top at the left on screen..

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Hi,

      Are you using a Custom ROM on your Galaxy S2?
      Also, do you have a Google Account (Gmail, for example) associated with your phone?

      • Raimisg78

        I use ny phone with android 4.0 from Google market.
        Also, I have an account at Gmail and google+

        • http://www.viber.com Viber

          Thank you for the information.

          We invite you to take a minute and report this issue to our support team – they will hopefully be able to guide you through a solution. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/ukGVJ0

  • Khurrumhussain29

    skype is not compatible with my W008+ Android 2.3. why is so. I cannot install this what is the problem? I am facing same problen with viber.

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Please note that Viber does not officially support your device yet, and that may be the reason for the problems you are experiencing. Here is the full list of officially supported devices: http://bit.ly/rqbZEw

      We are continuously working to adapt Viber to more and more devices, and we hope to attend to the problems with your device soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • Guest

    Hi there,
    I have an Android rooted phone, but perfectly legal. I rooted it to transfer apps to the SD
    I am connecting through my ISP in Argentina. I set my number and after that I haven’t received any sms or call in the last 48hs. I uninstalled it and tried again and I still haven’t received any code.
    I normally receive calls from abroad on my phone. But the calls from abroad need a different number when they call to Argentina. I tried entering that number (it has an extra 9 between the country code and my number) but it was automatically deleted.
    How could I make it work?
    Thanks

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Hi,

      We are aware of the special way of calling Argentina from abroad (and our servers handle it), but it seems like the problem you’re experiencing might be different.

      Have you tried registering when connecting to a few different WiFi networks?
      Also, make sure to take 24 hour gaps between each registration attempt.

  • viral

    viber support in which samsung phones?

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      The full list of officially supported devices can be found in this link:
      http://bit.ly/rqbZEw

  • http://www.facebook.com/halftome Tamási Benjamin

    One thing, that I think is missing, and that should definately be pointed out, is that Viber is only for phones!!! There is as of yet, NO PC Version! Which means, I cannot call someone from my phone, who is on their computer. However with skype, I can call from PC to phone, or visa versa. Big + for skype!

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Viber for PC is something we’re planning for the future :)

    • http://twitter.com/fuzzybee7 Eric Nguyen

      already available recently, loving it <3

  • sammy

    How much data does viber use out of my 1.5 g plan. Skype uses about 25% for a one hour video call.

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Viber uses about 0.25MB per minute of call, and negligible amounts for text messages (approximately 1KB per message).

  • Jomar Romero

    great app! but it would’ve been better if you have say, a webclient. =)

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Thanks for the kind compliment! :)

      We have a lot of surprises planned for the future. We recommend that you stay tuned for news and updates ;)

  • PaleWhiteMaleButColourBlind

    Viber continuously crashes on my brand new HTC One X. Yet, is fine ony wife’s ONE X?? Same carrier…

    • http://www.viber.com Viber

      Hi,

      We apologize for our late response.

      Are you running a Custom ROM on your phone? can you think of any setting/application that’s on your phone, but not on your wife’s, that might be colliding with Viber?

      Also, please note that Viber does not officially support your device yet, and that may be the reason for the problems you are experiencing. Here is the full list of officially supported devices: http://bit.ly/rqbZEwWe are continuously working to adapt Viber to more and more devices, and we hope to attend to the problems with your device soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

      • PaleWhiteMaleButColourBlind

        Hi Viber
        My One X is 4 weeks old, so not a lot of software and standard ROM. All the crash emails are being returned to me, undelivered. I uninstalled for now, will return to Viber if I see updated versions.
        Are there another email adress that I can send the crash report(s) to?
        Thanx for the reply!!!

        • http://www.viber.com Viber

          We have already received crash logs from users with HTC One X and we’re looking into them right now.

          We would appreciate your feedback from the next version of Viber that’s released.

  • Awais

    hello visitors, there is a PC version of viber is also available just google it please

  • Аана

    ““I don’t think Viber is going to put Skype out of business,” he says.
    “But they could pass Skype from the mobile perspective. Skype should
    consider buying them.””
    (c)Howard Hartenbaum

    http://viberdownload.com/a-success-story-from-belarus-viber-application

  • Alien-X

    Viber team seems working very hard. Until recently I was disappointed. I was using both Skype and Viber. Normal and average Internet connection speed available through the whole country is about 15kbps to 30 kbps (I am sure that you will be amazed, I am a subscriber of ADSL with 128kbps, and the actual downlink speed is not more than 25 kbps, uplink is 15max.) When we choose IM, that call quality with low bandwidth is one of our proirity. But I found Skype is a bit better in that aspect.

    The thing that disappoint me is I have both tablet and phone and I use skype on both of them and Laptop. At first I tought I could use Viber on my two devices, and later I found that it is not possible. Another thing is that Viber cannot make direct phone calls. Can you fix those? Thanks.

    • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

      At this stage, one Viber number can be assigned with only one device simultaneously. When you try registering to Viber with the same number on a second device, the first device immediately deactivates, and its data (message history, Recents, etc.) is deleted.

      What you can do, however, is register your second device with a different number: your home number, an old cellphone number, family’s or friends.
      In future versions we are planning to add an option to register Viber on multiple devices. Once we have news on that, we’ll let you know :)

  • Anand

    The main disadavanatge I see of Viber is that when you call another viber contact from your phone, even if he is offline and his phone does not ring the caller still gets the ring back tone, which needs to be corrected. Any plans or updates available for taking care of this.

    • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

      Hi,

      When you use Viber, you can tell indirectly if your contact is online as follows:

      When you make a Viber call, you will first see “Calling”. It will change to “Ringing” if your contact is online and their phone is literally ringing.
      When you text, “Delivered” means the message has been received on the other side’s phone (they’re online). If you only see “Sent”, it means it’s been sent from you, but pending the other side to come online (they’re offline at the moment). So, if messages remain at “Sent” and do not become “Delivered”, you might want to check with your destination contact whether or not they are connected to the internet.

      In the future we might add an “Online” status message, but we still don’t know when this will happen.

  • Traille08

    Check out great technical review of bandwidth and data usage of Skype vs Viber (serach Skype vs Viber on Amazon).

  • Richi

    I like both Skype and Viber.Viber is easy to use for someone who does not have Skype name.

  • Frenchyx

    On the new viber interface, How do I accept a viber call on a samsung phone? I just see an icon of a ringing phone, but I I swipe it, I get a popup menu of choices and the call is lost.

    • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

      Hi there,
      Which phone do you have exactly?

      • shree

        samsung galaxy y can support viber/skype??

        • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

          Viber partially supports Galaxy Y.
          Try it out :)

      • shree

        samsung galaxy y can support viber/skype??

  • Thomas King

    I was using Skype for a long time until security became my most important concern; hence switched to RHUB web conferencing appliances.