Features & Use
Test Device: Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Android version: 4.1.2
The majority of users that originally had Talk don't need to install the Hangouts app, the present version is simply a Talk update. Although there won't be a need to install it anew, you will be required to confirm your telephone number. Once that is done, you can view existing chats or create new ones in the overview of your conversations. You can either choose a single person, or create a group. The app's best new aspect is the clear view of its main options. Your favorite contacts are shown with large and easy-to-view images on the screen and come from Google+ and your Gmail. In this sense, the app is very well integrated with other services. What I really liked was the fact that if you can enable new message notifications by vibration in the settings. You will receive the notification for individual chats, and thus disable full group chat. Of course, you can also block contacts.
Once you start a conversation, you can tap on it to view chat history. This service is built like other chats, but seeing who has viewed a message is shown in a different way. This is especially useful in group chat, where the participant avatars move to the last read message.
The wide choice of smileys, inspired by the WhatsApp, only works when there is a relatively good internet connection. There is room for improvement here. Also the images transferred via Hangouts are automatically saved for future viewing on Picasa and Google +.
You can active Video hangouts by clicking the top right button. This starts a video call, similar to the one on Google+. You can also start a video conference, or stop the video if the connection isn't stable enough.
Hangouts (replaces Talk) is an update to Google Talks which allows for a greater integration with other Google services. Messages arrive on time to all connected devices and the ability to share pictures finally puts it in direct competition with WhatsApp. The only limitation and negative point is that you can't use a search function in conversations.
Screen & Controls
Hangouts (replaces Talk) has an excellent design and present Google's new look: a tidy interface with a modern menu with rich animations and intuitive controls.
The conversation list can be opened with a single simple gesture, something that is missing in many apps of the same genre. You're able to start a conversation or leave it directly from the main menu.
Speed & Stability
Hangouts (replaces Talk) work steadily the entire time during the course of our text and message synchronization was always perfect and immediate.
Hangouts (replaces Talk) is a Google app and therefore is free to download in the Google Play Store.