Does your mobile bill turn you paler than the paper it’s printed on? Armed with our trusty Nokia N95 8GB, we’ve been exercising our thrifty muscle at Stuff investigating applications that could save you money on your mobile. So cast your frugal eye over five of the best VoIP apps for your handset.
Nimbuzz works on over 500 handsets and 90 S60 phones, including our N95 8GB. As long as your phone’s 3G, it’ll offer true VoIP mobile to mobile rather than a call to a local number. That means free calls to other Nimbuzz users and your Skype contacts if you’re connected to Wi-Fi or if you’ve got a flat rate data package. It supports a large number of IM clients too including Windows Live, Yahoo, AOL, GTalk and Jabber.
We found it easy to install, and although we had to register several times with our IM sites, once it was set up it ran like a dream. Call quality was good when our 3G signal was strong but there was a distracting lag when calling our Skype contacts.
Stuff thrifty rating: £££££
Fring can’t offer mobile to PC calling like Nimbuzz, but its intuitive set up wins it points with us. Skype contacts are supported as well as the largest range of IM clients in the apps we tested. It can be a little bit hard to distinguish between contacts as they all sit by a generic Fring icon so you could get your MSN mixed up with your ICQ.
Call quality is also good for VoIP if you’ve a healthy 3G signal. However, we would have liked free voice and offline messaging thrown in.
Stuff thrifty rating: ££££
Those with Windows Mobile smartphones or 3 handsets can bask in full Skype VoIP glory. However, for the rest of us Skype for mobile is still in Beta for most handsets using a Java app. Using the mobile Skype app when not on the 3 network will cost you the price of a local mobile call, although IM capabilities are thankfully free.
So, not really a money saver on the Skype front and the lack of integration with other IM clients is another turn off. Rumours of a proper Symbian client have been circulating the web since 2006, so looks like we’ll be taking a really deep breath until our N95 gets true Skype action.
Stuff thrifty rating: ££
Originally coming out of the Nokia Beta labs, Gizmo5 is now available to a healthy bunch of Nokia and non-Nokia handsets. Calls between Gizmo users are free, while calls out to mobiles are at a reduced rate using credit like Skype. When you go abroad you can set up a special Gizmo number so people back home can call you and pay no more than a local call.
VoIP calls are only available for the Nokia N95 using the Beta version, so we found the set up a little confusing at first. But once we’d got the hang of the chat based help service we had our MSN, AIM, Yahoo! and Jabber contacts nestling in nicely. Call quality suffered from lag and robot voice syndrome over 3G but using Wi-Fi was considerably better.
Stuff thrifty rating: £££
Charging nothing for calls between Truphone users, this app is the most similar to Skype. Web to web calls using Wi-Fi or 3G are free, while other calls are charged at a local rate. A bit plus is that it works completely behind the scenes of your mobile. When you can’t get onto the internet, the built-in Truphone Anywhere feature uses a local number to channel your calls anywhere, meaning you save buckets of moolah on calls abroad.
Easy to install and up and running in no time, Truphone’s call quality lets it down slightly with the dreaded VoIP robot voice making an appearance several times. Another irk is when calling a non-web contact, a personalised Truphone number will appear to whoever your calling, not your own digits. And Skype or IM is not supported.
Stuff thrifty rating: £££