Ever since June, when we learned of FaceTime, Apple's two-way video-calling feature for the iPhone 4, we've been waiting for Fring to make its competitive move--especially since Fring announced its intention to release the very same features last March.
Since Fring, the joint VoIP-and-multinetwork IM client, was still offering only one-way video calls when we pitted it against FaceTime on the iPhone 4, it wasn't hard to predict the victor of that battle. So for honor's sake, we retested the updated Fring for iPhone, fresh in the App Store with two-way calling, when it was released on Thursday.
It would be cruel to kill you with suspense. While certainly better than it was earlier this month, Fring's two-way calling on iPhone 4 doesn't even approach FaceTime in the arenas of design, video quality, and audio quality. There are some reasons for all of these, however, some areas where Fring can improve, and plenty of cases where despite the drawbacks, using Fring will make sense. Are you ready?
Fring versus FaceTime, part deux
Like FaceTime, Fring uses the iPhone 4's front-facing camera to share video of your visage to your calling companion. Fring lets you make video calls through Skype and SIP, and other chat networks that support such calls. The video shows up in the same location as FaceTime, though the incoming Web cam image we saw was much grainier than FaceTime's. Bandwidth may have something to do with that, and we tested Fring over both Wi-Fi and 3G.
We're disappointed that Fring's video is smaller than FaceTime's and shows more of its bland background. FaceTime undoubtedly lends a richer visual experience. Fring is also less flexible than FaceTime since it's blocked access from swapping between the front-facing and standard cameras, unlike Apple's pet app, which can jump between cameras to broadcast both your face and the view in front of you.… Read more