WhatsApp alternatives are a dime a dozen, but only a few are actually useful when put to practice. Vippie Free Calls & Messages is a very promising competitor for the other giants, since in addition to new and video calls, there are other useful features such as a free answering machine. Whether the messenger is just as good when put to use will be exposed in today's app test review.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Android version: 4.1.2
After starting up Vippie Free Calls & Messages, you need to sign up with your mobile phone number. Then you will receive a verification code via SMS, which is directly recognized and entered directly.
After registering, you'll be brought to the main menu, divided into 5 parts: contact list, conversations, telephone dialer and history. There is also a button that will open a submenu.
The contact list will already be defaulted to all of your contacts, but you can also choose to only display the Vippie contacts. You're also permitted to call non-Vippie number contacts, but require credit purchased from Google Play. Sending an SMS is also possible.
The interesting aspect is of course the free text messages and calls with Vippie contacts. Messages and phone calls arrive in about one second via push notifications. You will be notified whether or not your messages have been received by the green mark sign. It's also quite strange that the contact's avatar appears at the beginning of your talk bubble during conversations.
Calls are also possible with Vippie, where the voice quality and transmission delay depends on your internet speed. With a 3G connection, there were no problems. Video calls require very good connection, so you should at least have HSDPA. You should also pay attention to the fact that video calls also use up a ton of data.
Unfortunately, though this option is supposedly available, it didn't work to start a video call during a normal call, which means I had to decide before placing the call, whether to use the video function or not. This happened only during the course of my test, but isn't a general rule. The quality of video calling was very good, comparable to Skype on Android.
There are a few more settings within the app, but you should avoid adjusting them. I found it a shame that you couldn't switch off the constant notifications when logged in to Vippie.
With Vippie Free Calls & Messages, I thought it was pretty cool that there was an answering machine, where you can clearly arrange your messages. Unfortunately, the number of Vippie users is still quite low compared to WhatsApp. It also doesn't have a desktop version, a wish professed by many WhatsApp users. That being said, the developer states that there will one available in a month.
Screen & Controls
Unfortunately, Vippie Free Calls & Messages' design isn't very up-to-date and doesn't integrate well into Android 4.0 or higher.
There are also too many sub-menus and too many ways to get to individual functions. WhatsApp offers only one way to send messages, while Vippie has three. However, this could also be seen as an advantage, because it gives the user a lot of options. I think it is something that you just need to get used to and in the end, will actually help.
Speed & Stability
Vippie Free Calls & Messages runs fast but isn’t always very stable. When I wanted to start up the video call during an ongoing call, it simply crashed. Otherwise, there were no other sudden melt-downs.
Vippie Free Calls & Messages, like the name suggests, is free in the Play Store. Placing video calls and sending messages to Vippie contacts is also free of charge, while calls and SMS to regular numbers, compared to other VOIP apps, aren't particularly cheap.
One positive thing is that they give free calls and SMS to any number located in the US and in Canada. Not only that, they will give $0.2 for each friend who accepts an invitation from our users.