Review: Skype for Android
Skype doesn’t love me.
This is the sentence I’ve typed to my girlfriend time and again as the myriad of issues in Skype for Android cause confusion in our communication.
I can credit Skype with being the primary means of communication for my relationship. The text chat is clean, attractive, intuitive, and the emoticons are fun. Unfortunately, the programmers have utterly failed to provide reliability, stability, or consistency not only of behavior, but across platforms.
Skype loses things. Messages are often lost in the ether with no indication to the intended recipient that they ever existed. I’m talking on the order of as many as a dozen or so per day, out of hundreds of messages exchanged. Yesterday I lost eight in a row, getting only the first three and last one in a long string of twelve messages. It wasn’t until I got on skype on my computer that they appeared, which defused a confusing situation that could have become very stressful.
Skype lies. I keep skype set to online at all times. However, it will at times claim I am offline while I’m conversing with someone. It will, at other times, say I’m online but will not send or receive messages. Worse still, Skype will appear in my menu bar as running and online, but it will be completely logged out. I won’t know until I go to open the task and it signs itself back on.
Skype behaves erratically. Sometimes hitting the hardware back key moves up a level in the app. Other times it hides the app like the home key, making it impossible for me to see my list of contacts, notifications, or anything else but the one conversation. When I tap skype again, it goes right back to the conversation.
Skype is unstable. I will tap a name to chat with someone, and the task will abort. I will tap the back key, and it will abort. This happens a few times a day.
Skype will doze off. In the middle of a conversation, Skype will sometimes decide it doesn’t want to work anymore. I’ll have a 4G connection, Skype will say I’m online, but no messages will send, though some may be received.
Skype forgets settings. Due to how slow and laggy the interface gets at times, I have accidentally hit the video call button. So I disabled video calling, yet it still was enabled. I went back to settings and saw it was unchecked, but still the video call option was there.
Skype video and audio calling are a disaster. If I make or receive an audio call and try to cancel, it won’t cancel. It continues to ring for several minutes. If I don’t cancel and the call picks up, I will continue to hear the ringing sound effect during the conversation for a minute or so, which is obnoxious. Video calls rarely connect or function passably, even over WiFi. When they first implemented video for my phone, it used the wrong camera and only worked in one orientation.
I feel like they don’t test the software. I have found workarounds for many of these issues. One is rebooting the phone, that rarely accomplishes anything. More often I have to uninstall skype and reinstall it to fix things. This is something I have to do once every week or two. Updating in place usually breaks the app.
The most recent versions of the app scramble message order. If I receive or even send a few messages in sequence, there’s a chance they’ll appear out of order. This makes for some very confusing conversations.
It’s an invaluable app that I use more than any other. Unfortunately, it’s crap.
One out of five. I can get very nearly the same functionality in Yahoo Messenger without any of the bugs.Tags: android, skype