Top 5 FaceTime Alternatives for Android

Top 5 FaceTime Alternatives for Android

Who needs an iPhone, anyway? These Android replacements for FaceTime do everything Apple’s video chat app can do and more.

If you’re not an iPhone owner, but still want to get into smartphone action, that’s fine! There are many great Android phones. That said, Apple’s expertise in mobile software gives the company an edge in a number of areas, and video chat is one of them.

FaceTime, the native iOS video app, is a solid program that has been polished to brilliant and is fast becoming a generic verb like Xerox. You don’t video chat with someone, you do them FaceTime.

With an Android phone, however, you can’t. So what can Android users do in this age of social distancing?
This is the beauty of the open market of ideas that is the Google Play Store. If you need an Android alternative to FaceTime, you don’t have one, but several to choose from. We took the main candidates for a test drive to compare them with each other, taking into account price, reliability, restrictions and features.

Developers are also constantly improving the experience, so you can expect apps in this feature to see new services and better stability the longer they are offered. While it’s easy to stick to Hangouts, there’s certainly a lot to be gained from experimenting with other Android FaceTime alternatives, depending on what friends and colleagues are using. We unreservedly recommend the five apps on this list.

The instant FaceTime alternative isn’t that bad. Hangouts is Google’s real-time text and video chat service. One of the best things is that it’s massively cross-platform and linked to your Google ID. Not only does Hangouts work great on every Android phone, but you can also take it to your desktop, even your Mac desktop. Hangouts has replaced Google Talk as the native chat app within Gmail (and Google+, but let’s not talk about that) some years ago, and the team has perfected it a lot since then.

An interesting aspect of Hangouts is that it works beyond simple person-to-person connections. The platform supports conversations with multiple people for up to 10 people. Google also offers a mobile version for iOS. An advantage of Hangouts over FaceTime is the management of data latency. Apple recommends using FaceTime while connected to a wireless Internet connection; Hangouts handles standard cellular data rates much better. Plus, voice calls to other Hangouts users are completely free.

If you own an Android phone, you should also have a Google account – it’s the key to all of the company’s many services, including Hangouts. Keeping your address book tidy allows you to combine all your message streams into one easy-to-follow feed.

When you think of video chat services, Skype is the gray-haired grandfather who still manages to resist. First released in 2003, the system shared a backend with the Kazaa music sharing system (remember music sharing systems?). It grew steadily until 2011, when it was acquired by Microsoft to replace Windows Live Messenger. Of course, this makes it the default messaging client for Windows phones, but the Android versions are pretty solid.

Early versions of Skype for Android didn’t integrate well with your mobile device’s address book, making adding contacts a chore. In 2014, the 5.0 update finally brought him into harmony with the Android ecosystem, allowing him to access existing content. This simple change has brought Skype to the pinnacle of Android video chat services.

Skype’s video chat services work in a variety of bandwidth situations and maintain constant monitoring of the quality of a call. You can score the call later, and depending on the hardware you’re using to make the video call, the video can be streamed in HD.

Basic Skype accounts are free and give you unlimited, individual video chat on any supported platform. Skype used to charge a subscription fee for multi-user video chats, but group chats are now included in the base service. Continue to charge for calls to phone users outside the Skype service, either by the minute or with a monthly subscription.

Tango (for Android)

Tango (for Android)

If you’re looking for a full-service FaceTime alternative for Android and have friends willing to jump ship, check out Tango. The app debuted in 2009, and unlike the other offerings on this list, Android is Tango’s primary platform. Although there are builds for iOS and Windows phones, Google’s operating system is its native element. This means that hardware optimization is at its peak, leading to a smoother user experience and better call quality.

On a Wi-Fi device, you can interact with any of Tango’s 200 million users without needing a cellular connection. The service supports voice calls, video calls, text messages and picture chats. Accounts are free and the sign up process is quick and painless. If you want to try to get your friends involved with you, Tango allows you to send text messages and emails to your friends to try and get them to sign up for the service. As long as everyone you want to talk to uses Tango, it’s a solid all-purpose communication tool. Keep in mind that unlike other services, Tango’s video chats are strictly one-on-one.

The developers of Tango present their app not only as a communication tool, but also as a full-fledged social network. This means a public profile and news feeds, games, stickers and other bells and whistles. If you’re looking for something that does video calling like FaceTime but offers so much more, Tango could be your jam.

Viber started out as a text and audio messaging app, but the development team quickly realized that it would need to add features to compete in a crowded market. First, the crew replicated audio chat like Skype and then, in 2014, they introduced video chat functionality. While relatively new to the market, Viber is a powerful app that serves as a FaceTime alternative.

One of the best things about Viber is its clean and intuitive design. While Skype and Hangouts look like legacy desktop apps that have been awkwardly moved to mobile experiences, Viber was built from the ground up with your phone screen in mind. In 2013, Viber received a desktop app, but the company’s clear focus is still on mobile devices.

Viber’s biggest weakness is that it has no way to communicate with users outside of its service. Unlike other platforms that use the SMS protocol, it is not possible to send messages to contacts who are not Viber users from within Viber. While most people with Android devices have a Google account by default for Hangouts, that’s not the case here. The service boasts 280 million users worldwide, so it’s not a niche product.

It doesn’t get any better than that. Zoom Meetings is the choice chosen by our editorial staff for videoconferencing tools. Our review praises its “stellar performance at a reasonable price”. Anyone who works from home is probably already quite used to jumping on a Zoom call multiple times a day from their computer. Fortunately, Zoom Meeting is also available on Android, where it is known as Zoom Cloud Meetings. It’s easy to use, offers a generous free account, and delivers stellar performance.

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