VSee is a group video chat and screen-sharing program that’s been around for several years, operating as a professional-level communications tool for businesses seeking a little more oomph than mainstream alternatives like Skype are capable of delivering. It’s been available for iPhones since 2013, but has only recently arrived on Android phones after a brief beta testing period.
Once launched, VSee lets you initiate and receive video chats or instant messages, and check to see who’s online and available. Incoming texts send a push notification that appears in your phone’s status bar. If you’re offline at the time the message is sent, the app sends notification back to the initiator and lets them know you’re unavailable. The next time you sign in, a notification of the missed message pops up. Missed incoming video chats work the same way, appearing as a missed call in the drop-down status bar.
One of VSee’s biggest selling points is its ability to facilitate video chat even through low-bandwidth connections on 3G, 4G and WiFi. Not only does this translate to being more forgiving when working through slower connections, but it also means you can conserve precious plan data.
As a remote communications app, VSee performs well with few to no glitches and delivers a clear picture even in low-bandwidth scenarios. In addition to offering users the ability to switch from front- to rear-facing cameras in the middle of a call, a secure level of end-to-end encryption is also included that effectively eliminates the possibility of anyone eavesdropping in.
All of that said, there are a few limitations that could be a key deciding factor for the as-yet-uninitiated user. The app only supports video and text chat, for one, and it doesn’t support screen sharing or file transferring like the desktop version does. It also doesn’t do some of the things Google’s Hangouts platform is known for doing well, like sharing map locations and photos. Landscape mode isn’t supported either, and installation requires a somewhat involved registration process that nags you to “invite” at least one other user before testing the app out.
But for those who’ve used VSee on their desktops, none of these extra steps or limitations are likely to be a deal killer — especially if you’ve already got an extensive list of personal and professional contacts that use the platform as their preferred method of communication. If you’re keen on testing out a different mobile video chat platform and don’t mind the extra steps, VSee is available now as a free download from the Google Play store. Give it a test drive — you may like it enough to never use Skype again.