The most beloved software for free PC-to-PC calls, Skype also lets users make voice calls to landline and mobile phones for very low rates. Skype may not be a full-on replacement for your phone, but it's a fantastic supplement.
Skype is the go-to program for free PC-to-PC voice and video calls, according to Skype reviews, and its low-cost plans for calling landlines earn equally effusive commendations. A review of the updated version for Windows 8 by PC Mag praises the excellent voice and image quality as well as the easy setup and touch-(or click-)friendly interface. The few disappointments with this newest Skype software, the review continues, include the inability to send files, share screens, make multi-party calls, and search or sort contacts. Older versions of Skype incorporate such functionalities and this expert expects the Windows 8 version will fall in line soon. The view from Top Ten Reviews is more muted, less due to performance weaknesses than to the shortfall of features and lack of personalized tech support with the free and cheapest plans. Indeed, this review gives the service a thumbs-up for overall value and usability and for its site-based user support (FAQs, help topics, and tutorials). Users' Skype reviews clearly show that the monumental fan base is rooted in the ability to contact friends and family anywhere in the world with free Skype-to-Skype service.
Skype is a software-based VoIP service that's designed primarily for voice and video calls, which are always free, but you can also sign up for a variety of plans that let you call landline and mobile phones. There are no startup fees and the software download comes at no charge. Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada starts at $3 a month, and $8 a month adds Mexico to the mix; $14 a month gives users unlimited worldwide calling to landlines. You can also opt for a premium account at an additional $5 a month that includes group video calls and screen sharing, unlimited calling to any country, no display advertising, and live chat support. Skype offers a small set of features (caller ID, call forwarding, and text messaging) for a fee. One important note: Users must maintain a separate phone line for emergencies, as Skype does not support 911 calls.
If you're looking for a dead-simple and super-cheap way to make PC-to-PC calls, as well as landline calls, Skype is the best choice. All you need to get started is a PC or mobile device and a microphone. Of course, you'll also need a webcam if you want a Skype user the other end to see you. In short, Skype assures you quick and affordable access to folks around the world, whether they use Skype or not.