This month, taking the world by storm is Google’s brand new video calling app ‘Duo’. Sitting alongside ‘Hangouts’ and ‘Allo’ and rivalling the established likes of ‘Skype’, ‘Facetime’ and Facebook’s ‘Messenger’ app -Duo has already dominated the headlines, with users rushing to discuss its streamlined user interface. After reading glowing reviews in the top Android publications, we couldn’t wait to try it out.
Duo was announced back in May at Google’s I/O conference and was showcased as the video app for ‘everyone’. The app is based on your phone number, and allows you to reach anyone in your phonebook. Once you’re on a call, its simple interface fades away leaving just the two callers.
After just a few minutes, it’s safe to say that it’s without a doubt the easiest video app we’ve come across. On opening the app, the front video camera comes up automatically. There’s also a video call button located next to your recent contacts, so all you have to do is tap on the face of the person you want to call, they answer and you’ll have a one-on-one video chat going.
To dial someone outside of your “recently called”, simply click on the video call button and Duo will display your contacts already using the app, followed by your entire phonebook who you can invite to join Duo within seconds.
Our favourite standout feature of Duo, and perhaps the most controversial, was ‘Knock Knock’. This feature shows you a live video preview of the caller before you pick up – think of it as a doorbell for your conversation… Once the person chooses to answer, Duo transitions effortlessly into the call. Not only did it make us smile, but the Knock Knock feature gives the app a really spontaneous feel. We just hope people don’t start using this feature for the wrong reasons. If you don’t like this feature, you can always choose to disable it at the click of a button.
Another thing which offers Duo a great edge in an extremely competitive market, is the way it has been developed for low internet connectivity. Whilst the screen was a little pixelated when used with a weaker WIFI connection, the call never broke off or paused once.
All in all, we really enjoyed Duo and wouldn’t think twice about using it again. We certainly recommend the app – it might even make you stop putting off those long family calls.