Nimbuzz:Free Calls & Messaging
Tested version: 1.3.1 Build: 4624.4630
Latest version: 2.4.3
Requires Android: from 1.6
Nimbuzz:Free Calls & Messaging is a multi-messenger for Android that many users have anxiously been waiting for. Shortly after its release, we posted a short text on our AndroidPIT blog. Now, after a one to two week test phase, here is our official test report.
Features & Use
Nimbuzz:Free Calls & Messaging is multi-messenger that allows us you to chat with your buddies using your favorite social networking sites. Among these are:
- Windows Live Messenger
- Skype for Anrdoid
- Facebook for Android
- Google Talk
- My Space
By the way, Nimbuzz is the only multi-messenger that allows you to chat with your Skype buddies. Despite several weaknesses (more on that below), you should still consider checking out Nimbuzz if you like to chat using multiple services including Skype.
When you first start up Nimbuzz, you'll be asked to log in using your Nimbuzz account or register a new one. As with most multiple-messengers, you only need one account to use Nimbuzz. Once you have an account and have added all your social networking sites, you won't have to reconfigure anything. Everything's ready-to-go.
Screen & Controls
Upon logging in to your Nimbuzz account you'll be directed straight to the main page. There you'll find two tabs labeled "Nimbuzz" and "Chats" at the top of the screen. Under the "Nimbuzz" tag you can view your buddies from all your networks with which you've registered. A small icon next to the name and online status of your buddy lets you know which IM client they're using. Your own avatar including your online status and "mood" is displayed directly under both tabs. Clicking on your icon allows you to select your status (online, away, busy, sign out) and update your current mood. To start chatting simply click the buddy you wish to contact. You can type in your text at the bottom of the screen (you'll find a button for selecting emoticons there as well). Then click send at the end and off you go. Your conversation then appears in a separate window. You can select any individual conversation from a list of all your chats under the "Chats" tab.
The following menu options are available to you from the main page:
- Add contacts
- Hide offline contacts/Show offline contacts
- Display group
In your settings you have the following options:
Communities (here you can select your social networks)
View (here you can adjust the look of your buddy list)
Sounds (here you can edit or change your alerts)
About (here you'll find info about the program version)
Nimbuzz:Free Calls & Messaging looks great, is simple to use, and all the options are self-explanatory. How could this IM client be anything short of perfect? Alas looks can be deceptive...
First off, it is only possible to select ring tones instead of the usual message alerts.
The standard Nimbuzz tone isn't too bad, but there isn't a good selection of tones to choose from, unless you're fine with a 20 second long ringtone every time you receive a message.
That's a bug that simply shouldn't be there. Nimbuzz also proudly highlights on its website that the client reconnects itself automatically when switching between 2G, 3G, and WLAN networks. In my opinion, this is a feature that should be the norm for any app and not something to really brag about. Unfortunately, Nimbuzz has the tendency to "reconnect" every now and then for no apparent reason. Every time this happens your status gets changed and suddenly your "busy" status is switched to "online". That's another glitch that needs to go.
Even though you and I will probably use Nimbuzz from time to time in the future, I'm disappointed by that fact that a product so rough around the edges has been placed on the market. Even the built-in capability of chatting with your Skype contacts doesn't compensate for all the weak points. Without all these bugs and better performance (see Speed & Stability) Nimbuzz would be a top-rated app that would've easily raked up points in our test. Given our mixed feelings about Nimbuzz it is impossible to award it anything over three stars.
Speed & Stability
Someone that normally runs three different apps at once in background mode (iTweet and NewsRob in my case) will quickly notice that Nimbuzz:Free Calls & Messaging just can't keep up in terms of performance. Depending on the amount of apps running in background mode, things can get really bogged down. This is totally unacceptable for any chat client.
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