Skype is a popular VoIP client for making phone calls over the Internet. In addition to calls to other Skypers, calls to landlines and mobile phones are also possible. In addition, functions such as video telephony, messenger, conferences up to 50 people and file transfers are available to users.
The installation and operation of the client, which is available free of charge for Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile devices, is relatively simple: After the installation on the computer, a free Skype account or optionally a Microsoft account must first be set up. If desired, this profile can be individualized with personal information such as e-mail address, date of birth and photo. After successful login, you can use the menu item “Contacts” -> “Add contact” to search for more users in the Skype user directory or save individual phone numbers to add new Skype contacts to your personal contact list – and off you go.
Calls, Video, Chat & Data Transfer
A double-click on a Skype contact opens a menu window in which all functions such as call, video call, start conference, send chat message/SMS or start file transfer are available. The voice and image quality of calls and video calls is quite convincing. NAT routers, firewalls and slower connections are usually not a problem.
The call functions are meanwhile quite extensive: Apart from Skype calls and calls to landlines and mobile networks, group calls of up to 25 subscribers, international calls, call number display and call forwarding to personal mobile phones, for example, are also possible. You can also set up a fixed Skype number to answer calls from anywhere in the world using Skype. Skype internal calls are free internationally – calls to landlines and mobiles require Skype Credits, which can easily be recharged via the Skype website. There are various payment options such as credit card payment or payment by PayPal to choose from.
Video calls in HD
In addition to PC and Smartphone, video calls are also possible via the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The video image is initially displayed embedded in the main window, but can optionally be displayed as a full screen. Since version 5.8, video telephony is even supported up to 1080p, but Skype must run on a PC with a multi-core processor. In addition, at least 380KBit/s should be available for upstream and downstream – on both computers and in both directions. If, for example, there are several file transfers and an additional download is running in a browser, video calls can sometimes cause jitters.
The chat window is also integrated in the main window. If you write a text in the text field at the bottom, you can send it as a chat message or as an SMS (requires Skype Credit), if the recipient has a phone number or Skype number stored. In addition, numerous emojis are available as standard for chatting.
Skype for Web directly in your browser
Meanwhile, Skype for Web also offers a Skype version for the browser without installing additional plug-ins. However, initially only chats and Skype calls are possible and no calls to the classic mobile or landline network. Practical: Calls can also be made directly from Office Online, OneDrive and Outlook.com. On the manufacturer side, however, the in-house browser Edge, which requires at least Windows 10.0.10586 or higher for the service, is mentioned as a prerequisite for this – but in our attempt it also worked with Firefox Version 45.0.2 under Windows 7 Pro. According to a blog entry, Skype developers are working on versions for other browsers and systems.
The program is also available as Skype mobile for mobile devices.
Microsoft came under fire when it was discovered that the company was tracing Skyper HTTPS links. If you’ve been thinking about it, check out the alternatives in our special The 9 Best Skype Alternatives.