Skype for Mac 5 hands-on

Huzzah, Skype 5 for Mac has come out of beta, and into the bona-fide real world of a finished product, but should you upgrade? Pocket-lint goes hands-on to find out.

Quit your current copy of Skype for Mac, install the new one and double click on the icon on the dock and the system fires up remembering your login details from before.

The new version has, for lack of a better word, shrunk - with not only the window now able to be made narrower (handy for when you are working with multiple windows) but the text is also smaller.

That means you get more real estate, less white space (the beta did look a tad too “designy”) but a greater need to squint to see what’s what.

Contacts are listed down the left hand side as before, while the chat window is on the right.

However, now there is a compact mode or a full view mode for contacts that allows you to see or ditch their accompanying pictures depending on how you feel.

The whole system, like the PC option, is one window and while we initially hated this approach when the Skype 5 for Mac beta first launched we’ve come to actually like the fact that you don’t lose windows when having multiple chats - we only occasionally tell each other rather than the WAGs that we love them.

But it’s not just the User Interface that has had an overhaul from the beta to the final finished product. Skype has introduced and tweaked other elements of the software too.

The mini call window is still present - although proving for us to be less stable than in the beta - and the idea here is that you don’t have to open the Skype for Mac application to hang up a call. To be honest it’s a bit of a hindrance - another element to get lost on your screen - and throughout the beta we’ve found that we haven't really used it anyway.

Elsewhere you can now add a mobile phone number to a Skype contacts details, giving you a chance to give them a call when they aren’t online; and although this is the first time it’s appeared in the Mac software the idea is so simple (certainly when it comes to pushing Skype’s Skype Out service) that we’re surprised it’s only just arrived.

Other features that you will find yourself using are the new full screen view in video calling, it’s really impressive certainly if the person on the other end has a decent webcam, and if you are happy to pay the premium group video calling.

Group video calling is nice, but in the free preview we’ve had with the beta it’s something we’ve not really used that much.

There is still no Facebook integration like the Windows version.

So should you download the new version if you’re a Mac user? Of course you should. You’ll really prefer the new tweaks to the User Interface and the fact that having the Skype windows up on your desktop doesn’t take up half your desktop.

You can download the new version of the app via Skype’s website. Interestingly it’s not in Apple’s App Store.