Skype iPhone video calling hands-on

You may have read earlier on Pocket-lint all about Skype 3.0 launching in the App Store, bringing video calling over 3G slap bang onto the iPhone.

Heck, you may have even taken it for a spin already, testing it out over 3G and Wi-Fi to see if it lives up to the hype. But if you haven't, fear not, because Pocket-lint has done the reserach for you.

First up (and somewhat unexpectedly considering that he's got the day-off), Pocket-lint editor Stuart Miles (and dog Boston) called news reporter Paul Lamkin (that's me by the way) from the middle of a field using 3G to the Skype 5.0 for Windows on Wi-Fi.

As you can see from the picture below, the display from Stuart's 3G end was rather pixelated, but no more than you'd expect. It coped well with close-ups of his face, it was only when Stuart switched to the rear-facing camera (an option that is easily accessed with a quick push of the camera icon) to show off his location, that the image became a bit too blurred.

However, the call clarity was almost perfect with no dropped words and a constant, unfrozen display.

We then switched to 3G to 3G between two iPhone 4's and the result wasn't noticeably different. We both had decent 3G coverage it must be said, but you'd hardly try and make a Skype video call if you were struggling for signal. After all, take away all of a smartphone's bells and whistles and it can still act as a regular phone - and you are allowed to use this ancient technique if you want.

And, when you receive a video call you have the option to answer it with audio or video from your end so if you're in an area with a poor signal and someone video calls you, you can always choose to go down the audio route.

Further tests were carried out between an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 3GS, and although the 3GS has the conundrum of only being able to carry out one aspect of a video call at once, due to its lack of front-facing camera, it's nice that older iPhone model users can get in on the video calling fun. You could always use a mirror we suppose, if you wanted to both see and be seen.

We also tested iPhone 4 to iPad, with the latter only being able to receive video calls obviously, as it has no camera at all....until the iPad 2 is announced next month that is.

Skype for iPhone video calling also works two-way with the latest iPod touch, and you can receive video on an iPod touch 3rd generation too.

When it comes to making video calls from your iOS device to a desktop, your buddies are going to need to running Skype for Windows 4.2 and above, Skype for Mac 2.8 and above, Skype for Linux or ASUS Videophone.

It's a great (and long-time coming) addition to what is a great, free, iPhone app. It's nice that Apple is finally letting developers tap into the iDevice's camera capabilities and it's yet another boost for a technology that seems to be gaining popularity - although we weren't all that interested in it first time around in the early noughties.

Skype 3.0 is in the App Store now. It's free, so take it for a spin and let us know what you think using the comments below.



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