Skype is one of the best voice over IP services and instant messaging clients that comes bundled with a powerful set of calling, video, messaging and sharing capabilities.
The program can be run on various platforms, such as Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone, as well as Windows 8.1 tablets and touch PCs.
Account registration and prior configuration settings
You may sign in using your Skype account or skip this step by entering your Microsoft or Facebook authentication parameters.
As soon as you are able to sign in, the program reveals a configuration wizard designed to help you check your sound and video by testing your speakers, microphone and webcam, and set a profile picture by taking an image or uploading a custom photo from your computer.
Intuitive user interface
Taking into consideration that the utility aims to integrate calling, video, messaging and sharing options into a single layout, it manages to successfully deliver a clean and smart design so you won’t get lost navigating or tweaking its features.
Skype lists all your contacts in the main window, provides quick access to recent conservations, and lets you search for contacts by name, Skype name or email, or you can save a phone number.
What’s more, you can check out updates from your contacts, call mobiles and landlines with the aid of the built-in dial pad, create a group for sending instant messaging and files, and change your status (Online, Away, Do Not Disturb, Invisible or Offline).
Calling and video features
Skype gives you the possibility to call anyone else on Skype, call mobiles and landlines worldwide, set a group of people together on one call or video call, get your Skype calls forwarded to any phone, as well as enable a smart video feature for getting closer with a face to face catch up.
Sending messages and sharing data
The tool gives you the freedom to send a message during video sessions, make use of the instant messaging service for chatting with your friends, as well as create voice messages.
The instant messaging panel is kept very simple, and you may insert various emoticons, drag and drop files (be they documents, images, photos or videos) directly into the conversation window, search for words using Bing, remove or copy messages to the clipboard, edit sent messages directly in the conversation panel, and sort messages by Skype or SMS.
Contact management and other handy features
You can view the profile of a user, rename it, add it to Favorites or a custom list, mark conversation as unread, block a person, view old messages, remove a user from Contacts, and hide the selected conversation.
What’s more, the tool lets you send contact details on Skype by simply dragging and dropping the contact into the chat, share your computer screen, as well as send instant messages, enable video calls with your Facebook friends, and view news feed directly from Skype.
Skype lets you back up your contacts to VCF file format, sort contacts by online or name, reveal Outlook contacts, hide those who are offline, and enable IM notifications.
Rich set of configuration settings
Skype comes with a comprehensive configuration panel that enables you to start a call when you double-click on a contact, appear as Away when you are inactive for a user-defined time, run the tool at Windows startup, alter audio and video settings, play a preset or custom sound upon various events, and enable Skype Wi-Fi.
When it comes to privacy features, you may allow calls and IMs only from people in your Contact list, keep history, automatically receive video and share screen with anyone, and manage blocked contacts.
Other settings allow you to display notifications in the system tray upon different events (e.g. contact comes online or goes offline) and tweak several advanced features for configuring Internet connections and altering hotkeys.
Top product on the market
All in all, Skype proves to be a reliable application, moves fast, delivers a user-friendly environment, integrates a rich-featured suite of configuration settings, and is suitable for all types of users.
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