Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vonage Mobile Review

I've been using Vonage Mobile on my iPhone 3GS and on my Samsung Nexus-S for a few weeks (after it started being available to Canadians) and I thought that I would write a mini review of the application.

The application does not require that you are a "regular" (landline VoIP) customer. For both applications, you install the program from either the Apps Store (iPhone) or the Android Market (AndroidOS).

For both platforms, after the Vonage Mobile application is installed, the user is required to accept the terms of service. You are then prompted to enter the phone number that you want to associate with the program (in terms of outgoing call display). The default phone number is the phone number for your mobile although you can change the number to another mobile or a regular landline phone. After entering the phone number, the Vonage system sends an SMS to the phone number with a 6 digit confirmation number which you are prompted to enter into the appropriate box. If you don't receive the 6 digit confirmation SMS for whatever reason such as if you decided to use a landline phone number, you are prompted to have the Vonage system call the phone number and give you the 6 digit number. This is what I did for my landline phone.

After confirming the phone number entered for the Vonage Mobile application, the program imports the contact list from the phone. In my case, the contact list is from Google contacts for all my devices. This makes it easier for me because I only have to change/add/delete a contact in one of my devices (or directly on Google Contacts) and the devices will automatically get the updated information. Because I'm using Google Contacts for my phone's addressbook, this is where I noticed a difference in how the program worked on my iPhone 3GS and my Nexus-S. For my iPhone 3GS, only the contacts which were directly listed in my iPhone 3GS were available to me on Vonage Mobile's contact list. However, for my Samsung Nexus-S (and I'm assuming for all AndroidOS devices), Vonage Mobile's contact list not only included the contacts which I saw on my phone itself (which are imported from Google Contacts "My Contacts") but also included the Google Contacts from "Other Contacts". Some people might prefer that the "Other Contacts" is imported but for me, I didn't like it.

I tested the call quality over WiFi and 3G/3.5G/4G (I'm not referring to LTE) and I would say that the call quality is decent (I would say comparable to Skype). I would use the program for short calls (under 5 minutes) over the cellular data network but I would not use it longer due to the latency which can sometimes get annoying. Over WiFi, I find the call quality to be a lot better. Vonage Mobile's call quality (like all VoIP) is largely dependent on the quality of the internet (speed, latency, etc.). Because of this, depending on your cellular network carrier's data network, the latency problem might not be as annoying to you.

The outgoing call display number does work (and displays the phone number that was confirmed initially).

Please note that Vonage Mobile does not allow for the accepting of calls. You can only use this program to make calls and to send messages to people who have this program on their device. The messages sent use the data network (or WiFi) and does not use the carrier's SMS network which can save costs for people who don't have SMS/text plans.

As of the date that I'm posting my review, Vonage Mobile offers 3000 minutes per month for free to call landlines and mobiles in  Canada, the US, and Puerto Rico. I'm not sure how long this offer will remain but it is probably a good idea to give the program a try given that it is currently free and you can make 3000 minutes per month in free calls (whereas Skype charges per minute unless you have a Skype monthly plan).

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

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