Send instant audio, text and photo messages to individuals or groups via your smartphone.
These days, many individuals use their smartphones more for texting than for actual phone conversations. Texting is a convenient way to communicate back and forth, but it can be tedious, especially when trying to type out long messages. There are several apps now available that harken back to the days of CB radios. These push-to-talk apps bring a new level of convenience when you don’t want or need to make an actual phone call. One of these apps is Voxer. This free app, which is available for both Android and iOS, allows you to send instant audio messages as well as text and photo messages. Voxer for iOS was tested for this review.
After you download the app to your Android or iOS phone, you need to set up an account. You can log in using your Facebook credentials or you can sign up using your personal email. Facebook recently did away with the ability to allow third-party apps to access your Facebook friends list, so the app can no longer match you with your Facebook friends who log in to Voxer with Facebook. By entering your phone number into your Voxer profile, the app can locate friends who have you in their address book. You can send SMS) messages to invite people to download and start using Voxer.
When you open the app, you have a list of all of your friends that are using Voxer. From here, you can also invite friends to try Voxer. Tap on a friend’s name and you are given a list of all the messages you’ve exchanged. Tapping on any of the messages will start the audio playback and, unless you stop it, Voxer will play the entire conversation until it reaches the end. During playback, you can tap the rabbit icon at the bottom of the screen to speed up messages by one, two or three times their original speed. You can also view any pictures and text messages that have been sent.
With the Voxer app, you can communicate one-on-one or in a party chat. You select multiple people and your voice message is sent to all of them at once. Replies sent from anyone in the party go to everyone else as well. You have the option of leaving a party chat conversation, as do the others in the group. Voxer also allows you to add people to the party as the chat continues. There is even a “note to self” option, whereby you can leave yourself personal reminders.
You can listen to voice messages via speakerphone (default) or you can listen to them as you would a typical phone conversation. The speakerphone function is nice, but can be disruptive if you are in a public place. The app supports auto-routing, so even if you are listening via speakerphone, holding your iPhone to your ear will cause the app to switch playback to the headset.
To send a voice message, you press and hold the “hold and talk” button at the bottom of the app screen. You can also change the setting so that you only need to slide the button to the right to lock it while you talk. When you are finished, just tap the button again to release it. You can even record messages when you are offline and the app sends them when you reconnect.
Keep in mind that Voxer does send all your messages over your data connection, so if you are flirting with your data limits already, you may run into some troubles. However, you can also use it with Wi-Fi only devices, including the iPod touch and iPad. This means you can also use Voxer internationally, assuming you have a Wi-Fi connection.
If you do a lot of texting, you will adore Voxer so much that you will find yourself bugging your friends to use it. Its combination of ease-of-use and convenience make it a must-have app.