Skype vs. FaceTime

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Skype vs. FaceTime

FaceTime protects privacy. Users cannot browse a directory, but instead choose from contacts they already know. One cannot search and request chats with FaceTime users. FaceTime is not about social networking, but instead communicating with people you already know.

Integration

Apple has the advantage creating both the hardware and software. FaceTime is optimized to work with the iSight camera and the A-series “system-on-a-chip”. It can leverage video capabilities in OS X and iOS. FaceTime does not work over low-bandwidth connections. This makes for a better picture and sound quality. I don’t seem to get the weird echos and drops in video quality as with Skype.

FaceTime is integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Currently, on the iPhone, FaceTime isn’t a standalone app. It’s a feature launched from the Phone app. FaceTime is a separate app on the iPad, iPod Touch, and Macintosh. It is integrated with the Contacts and Address Book apps.

Quality

FaceTime features much better quality than Skype. Apple has high standards. FaceTime is a high quality video conferencing system. The video is clear and well-defined with smooth motion. Audio sounds clear, and is never garbled.

This comes at a cost. When FaceTime launched, it only worked over WiFi. Currently, it works over 3G/4G networks, as long as your carrier supports it. FaceTime offers better quality compared to Skype, even over the same WiFi connection. This is due to the tighter integration between the software and hardware. FaceTime only works with Apple devices. Skype has to work with so many different devices and is designed to work over low bandwidth.

Skype or FaceTime?

Skype and FaceTime are both excellent video conferencing systems. I recommend using FaceTime whenever possible. The quality is better and privacy is protected. With FaceTime, you won’t have random people popping up for a chat. For most Skype users this doesn’t happen. However, during the George Zimmerman trial, Skype revealed a critical privacy flaw.

You can’t always use FaceTime. It only works with Apple devices, for now. Skype is a great choice when you need to chat with someone using Windows, Android, or even Linux. It’s also a great choice if you have a slower Internet connection or need to save bandwidth. Not everyone has unlimited data plans.

Overall, FaceTime is the better video conferencing system. Like most Apple products, FaceTime has higher standards. The tight integration between hardware and software make for better picture and sound quality. Skype is a much more successful platform. Far more people use Skype than FaceTime.

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