9 tips for video calling on PC or smartphone

Video chatting or video calling has become extremely popular in recent years. Children do it with their (grand)parents, young people video chat with friends and even in business online video calls are fully established. Which service do you need on your computer? Which apps are user-friendly? What if you have little light? And what about abroad? We explain it to you in great detail.

Tip 01: Skype

The most popular service to make a video call? That is undoubtedly Skype. Since 2011, the free tool has been owned by Microsoft. The biggest advantage is that you can use Skype on almost any device: on a Windows computer, Mac, Android device, iOS device, Windows Phone or even a smart TV… Not just via an app, but even from the browser . Also read: The 8 best alternatives to Skype.

In addition, Skype is one of the few services with which you can very easily set up a group conversation with up to ten people. You simply start a new conversation and then add two or more people. Is your contact person not answering? Then you can also record a video message and then forward it. The recipient can then watch the clip when he or she has time.

Another feature that we really appreciate is the ability to share your screen. To do this, simply tap the plus button during the video call and then choose Share screen. With the help of Skype Translator it is even possible to have your video calls translated instantly. Unfortunately, Dutch is not yet in the list. However, this will work in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Arabic.

With Skype you can share your screen, have group conversations and even have conversations translated instantly

Tip 02: FaceTime

While you can easily install Skype on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Apple's FaceTime is very popular for one-on-one video calls between two Apple users. The app is installed by default on every Apple device, which makes it easy to use. You simply log in with your Apple ID. FaceTime is even integrated into Contacts, so you don't have to open the app. However, there are not many setting options. Unlike Skype, for example, you can't have group conversations. You can switch between the two cameras or turn off the sound. Fortunately, you can also block certain people. In addition, all FaceTime communications are end-to-end encrypted and not stored on Apple's servers.

Tip 03: Google Hangouts

Internet giant Google also has its own service for sending messages and video calls: Google Hangouts. The service is available for free in the browser or as a tool for PC and Mac and there are apps for your smartphone and tablet. All you need is a Google account. Just like with Skype, it is also possible to share your screen here. This can be very useful if you have computer problems. Group conversations? That is also possible, with a maximum of nine other people. You can also play a game or work on a shared document together. Unfortunately, the sound is sometimes a bit muffled. The video calls are encrypted.

Tip 04: Alternatives

It is very difficult to say which service to use. Moreover, Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts are not the only good tools for making video calls. There are plenty of great alternatives. Are you active on Facebook? You can make video calls via the browser on your computer and via the Facebook Messenger app on your smartphone or tablet. You tap in the app To call to action and then select a contact. On your computer, open a Messenger conversation and then click the video camera button. You should not expect many bells and whistles.

Another service is Tango. That tool is very popular in Asia. Pluses are the good quality and the possibility to play games while video chatting. Plus, you can meet new people by finding nearby Tango users. Unfortunately, there is no Dutch version available and Tango uses more data than average.

A similar alternative is Viber. This service is available not only for iOS or Android, but also for Windows and Mac OS X (and macOS Sierra). Do you use WhatsApp as a messenger service? Then you have to be patient for a while. The app will soon have an extra function that makes it possible to make video calls.

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