Vonage Mobile Review + $50 iTunes or Google Play Giveaway
I know you’re busy so I’ll get right to the point. As a long time Skype user, I was skeptical at first. After giving Vonage Mobile a fair shake in Thailand last week, it turns out that I like this app a lot. I like it so much that it’s now my primary way of keeping in touch with family and friends back home.
Here are the three things I like most about this app, and why I’m going to keep using it:
- All my calls were free from Thailand to the USA last week
- Vonage Mobile displays your actual phone number on the reciever’s phone*
- You can use your own contact list within the app
*I learned the hard way that if you wait to set up Vonage Mobile while you’re abroad, you won’t be able to use this feature. More on that later.
A More in Depth Look
Vonage Mobile comes with all the features we’ve come to expect from a modern wifi communication app including free calls, texts, and video chatting with other Vonage Mobile users. If the person you’re calling doesn’t have Vonage Mobile, the price will display on your phone prior to your call. You can also use the app to look up any number in the world and check the price in advance. And as I write this, all calls to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico are entirely free (up to 3000 minutes per month – and if you talk on the phone for the 2 straight days it would take to reach 3000 minutes, well, you should really get out more!)
I made multiple calls to the USA from Thailand last week, and I didn’t pay a dime. If a call does cost money, you can add credit to the app through Google Play – no need to set up a separate account which I really liked. You can also pay in-app through iTunes for all you Apple lovers out there.
If you set up Vonage Mobile before you leave home, it will display your actual phone number when you’re abroad. This beats some random unknown number showing up on your friends’ and family’s phones, many of whom will send you straight to voicemail because they don’t have a clue that it’s you.
Finally, I really like that Vonage Mobile allows me to use my own contact list from within my phone. For some reason Skype is stuck in its archaic model of being completely isolated from your phone’s contact list. That means when I want to call someone I know with Skype, I have to go into my contact list, memorize the number, go back into Skype, and dial it. With Vonage I simply open my contact list within the app and press Call. Easy.
What I didn’t Like
I didn’t like that you need to have an active, usable phone number to be able to complete the initial setup. I get it, Vonage Mobile needs to verify your actual phone number to avoid fraudulent phone calls. However, at this time Vonage Mobile offers no alternative way to set up the app.
My phone never works abroad and setup would have been impossible had I not used my Google Voice number as a work around. Google Voice lets me check voicemail messages via email, and I was able to get the setup code that way when I was in Thailand.
The end result of all of this was that my Google Voice number showed up instead of my actual phone number displaying when I called someone. The whole thing is still light years ahead of Skype’s random phone numbers, and it’s a total non issue if you simply set up Vonage Mobile before you leave home. Still, it’s sort of backwards when you realize that many people who want to use Vonage Mobile want to use it because they’re abroad and their primary phone does not work. Skype uses a login; it’d be nice to see Vonage come up with a similar alternative method of setting up the app.
Again, just remember to set up Vonage Mobile before you leave home and this is a non issue.
Enter to Win Your $50 iTunes or Google Play Giftcard!
Vonage Mobile was kind enough to provide the $50 iTunes or Google Play Giftcard. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to let everyone know you entered. Bonus points for Tweeting about it!
If you win, it’s your choice of iTunes or Google Play. Contest ends 31 August 2013.
And now the “If I hated it, I’d tell you” disclaimer:
Vonage provided product for this review and giveaway. My review is an honest opinion based on my own experience and has not been reviewed or edited by Vonage.