Menu
Skype 4.0 VoIP Service

Skype 4.0 VoIP Service

If you're a regular Skype user, you'll instantly notice the big facelift that version 4.0 of this voice-over-Internet-protocol service has undergone. It feels slicker and spruced up, and hopping from one feature to another is much easier. But the new version also seems a bit cluttered and bulky, and will gobble up more space on your desktop.

The new pane setup is responsible for the increased bulkiness. Skype 4.0 departs from its predecessor's two-window arrangement--one for your contacts, and one for your conversations--instead consolidating them into a single pane. Switching to the Compact View splits the pane in two, but the separated halves still felt bulky. Whether you keep the single pane or break it into pieces, more stuff is on display by default--and the panes are larger to accommodate all of it. For example, during a call, the interface displays a box with your photo (or icon) along with a message window and buttons for viewing your Skype account and personalization options. Though you can click to hide this box, I preferred the more discreet layout of past versions.

Some new features of Skype 4.0 work well. The new Conversations tab lets you manage a bunch of things at once, so you can flit around from video calls to voice calls to IM chats. And I like being able to engage in a video call right off the bat; with previous versions, you had to initiate a voice call on Skype and then launch the videoconferencing portion, provided that both parties had cameras up and running. Skype can handle a maximum of two talking heads during a given video call.

The company claims that audio and video quality have improved in Skype 4.0--and in my tests, I noticed that voices generally did sound slightly sharper than before. I never encountered words breaking up and sounding stuttered--something I experienced with previous versions of Skype. Indeed, the whole audio experience improved, including the moments of silence during test calls: Voices sounded as though they weren't coming out of a hollow, churchlike expanse of interior space.

The video quality of Skype 4.0 impressed me too. The video stream exhibited minimal choppiness, and I noticed just a couple of brief freeze-ups. Also, the colors appeared richer and less washed out.

With a VoIP program like Skype, improved voice and video quality trumps dubious interface changes any day. So I am moving to version 4.0. That said, some Skype users might want to skip this upgrade. If you're content with the call quality of your current version of Skype, you're happy with its look and feel, and you'd miss Skype's public chats (the new version doesn't let you add new ones), consider staying with the version you have. And of course there are competing services, such as ooVoo, to consider.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments