Thursday, December 23, 2010

TextFree with Voice

Barely scraping by with the minimum texting/voice plan for your iPhone?  Have an iPod Touch and just want to text (or call if you have the new 4G with a mic)?  TextFree with Voice by Pinger may just be the app for you.  Working on a primarily for-free basis, TextFree with Voice does just what the title may imply: TwV provides a free texting alternative with the option for an extremely cheap VOIP service thrown in for good measure.  Menus are designed well enough and emulate the iPhone interface that you're probably used to using, while users are also given a real phone number to use for texting and calling.  Gone are the days of having to text with an absurdly weird email address in order to keep up with your friends.  Here's the big question, though.  Is it reliable?

Yes and no.  In the time period that I've been testing the app out, texting speed generally came in at the average rate that you'd expect texts to be sent and received at.  Calling quality, though, was heavily reliant on the type of connection I was operating under.  For example, while under a strong WIFI signal TwV calling would come through crystal clear with limited interference.  Users on the other end of the line could not tell that I was using a third-party calling feature, which was a definite bonus.  However, under an average signal (which is what should be expected in most circumstances), TwV was definitely a bit laggy.  While it was still serviceable, it probably would not be something that you'd want to replace your calling plan with, no matter how cruddy AT&T can be.  It should be noted, however, that minutes are cheap to buy and can even be earned for free if you download certain apps, which is something to keep in mind when making a decision.

I like TwV as an app for iPod Touch users who want to text and possibly call depending on your device.   It can be a serviceable app for people who want to save money on a real calling plan with their carrier (if you have a cell-phone), and can also open up the possibility of texting and calling if you don't have a cellphone to kick around.  I don't like TwV for iPhone users, though, mainly because the age old dilemma still holds true: If you have an iPhone and are spending an absurd amount for one, why skimp on the texts and minutes if you really need them?  Unless you really, really, really (emphasis on really) want to save money, I can't recommend this app for someone who already has the built-in features of the iPhone ready to be used.  It is neat to play around with, and if money is that much of a problem, it can be a serviceable alternative while you are in the process of recovering financially, but I still think that the iPhone's built-in features are steps ahead.  I mean, that is why you got the phone instead of the iPod, right?


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