What is Skype?
Skype is a video conferencing software that enables users to make HD video and audio calls through a range of devices including mobile, tablet, PC, and Alexa. Users can contact other Skype accounts for free or call local and international numbers at extremely low rates.
Skype comes with an excellent communication features including group conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, and screen sharing. While most of the software is free, Skype has a few paid features including international Skype-to-Phone plans for $2.99 per month.
Since Microsoft acquired the company in 2011, the software has gone through several redesigns and feature changes. Though other video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have become more popular, Skype is still an industry leader.
Table of Contents
- What is Skype?
- Skype Review Summary
- Skype Pricing
- Skype Key Features
- Skype Weaknesses
- Skype Competitors and Alternatives
- Is Skype Right for You?
Skype Review Summary
Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The company is currently headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011.
When you think of video calling, Skype most likely comes to mind even if you've never used it. And it's no wonder, since Skype paved the way for all other video conferencing tools.
Skype fits the bill for many and was once the go-to platform for both personal and business communication. However, given the rise in excellent video conferencing software platforms in the past few years, Skype has started to fall behind in terms of features and user friendliness. Skype can be clunky to work with, and it is not as streamlined as competitors.
Skype's basic video calling features are free. Skype to Phone plans start at $2.99 per month for US-based phones and landines, and can get as expensive as $7.99 per month for the India subscription. A few more details can be found below.
|United States Subscription||$2.99 per month|
|India Subscription||$7.99 per month|
|North America Subscription||$6.99 per month|
Skype Key Features
This review discusses Skype's features, usability, and customer service availability. We’ll make notes about where the software either shines or falls short in terms of the above three sections. We’ll also include real images of the software to give you a sense of what it’s like to work with the tool.
To learn more about how we research and rate software tools, read about SoftwarePundit’s review methodology.
The software can be installed on your desktop, phone, tablet, or Alexa device. You can also use Skype for Web in your browser with Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
Find and add contacts
Skype has a massive user base, which makes it easy to connect and start conversations. You can search for existing contacts by entering their Skype name. If you don't know their Skype username, you can also search for people by their real name, email address, or phone number. Skype will also show the number of shared mutual contacts to ensure you are contacting the right person.
One helpful tip: if you're searching for someone with a common name, you can also search for their name and location, for example, "Sarah Smith in London".
If individuals you want to invite to video calls don't have a Skype account, you can also share your unique Skype link via email, text message, or chat.
Video Call Features
The basic version of Skype comes with instant messaging, file transfers, a translation feature, and screen sharing. You can also schedule calls in advance and set reminder notifications for your mobile phone or desktop.
Setting Up Meetings
Skype will prompt you to test out your microphone, camera, and speakers. This only takes a minute and should be done once during setup, although it's an important step to take if you plan on making video or audio calls.
Once that is done and you have joined a meeting, this is the view you will see.
You can send instant messages to other Skype contacts, which get delivered straight to their Skype account. You can also share files, record video messages, and send emoticons or gifs.
You can send group messages or messages to individuals, giving you some degree of flexibility when it comes to who you'd like to message. Customers can also make a group call directly from a chat room and search through old messages.
Skype limits participants to 100 within the regular free account, is standard compared with other video conferencing platforms.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business was Skype's larger-scale plan which allowed conferencing and webinars for up to 10,000 people. This is being discontinued and is being replaced with Microsoft Teams, which is the video conferencing tool included in Microsoft Office 365.
Skype is a cost-effective solution, although, like any software, it does have some negatives.
Call quality can vary
Your call quality is solely dependent on your internet connection. Skype only works over the internet, so if you have a slow or intermittent connection speed, you may experience dropouts or other issues when making a call. This may not be a concern when talking with friends or family, but if you're using Skype as the primary communication tool for your business, missing a meeting due to connection issues is a concern.
Potential security and privacy concerns
Security is a big concern these days, especially when you're sharing confidential business information. Due to the popularity of the service, Skype has drawn the attention of hackers who are always looking to steal personal information and passwords.
Microsoft offers end-to-end encryption and continuously releases new updates, although there is still the possibility that your Skype account can be hacked if proper security measures aren't followed.
Skype Competitors & Alternatives
Skype competes with many popular video conferencing software tools. A list of alternatives can be found below.
We've written articles that directly compare Skype to its competitors. Some one-to-one comparisons can be found below:
Is Skype Right for you?
If you're looking for a simple tool to conduct one-to-one audio or video meetings with clients or customers, Skype could meet your needs. It's easy to use, offers reliable video and audio quality, and is free when calling other Skype users. Where Skype really shines is in providing a cost-effective avenue for international communication.
However, there's been an explosion of high-quality video conferencing platforms in the past few years, and Skype has fallen behind some of its popular competitors that offer more functionality for free. Unless you already use Skype, we highly recommend checking out Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams for the leaders in the space.
If you are interested in trying Skype, sign up here.