Glide review: Fast video messaging with a few flaws

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars 1 user review

The Good As long as you have a connection, Glide helps you send video messages to friends and family that load almost instantly.

The Bad The app's design is cluttered in places.

The Bottom Line If you're familiar with other video-chatting services, Glide offers more flexibility and features.

Free

8.1 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 9.0
  • Features and Support 8.0
  • Interface 7.0
  • Performance 9.0

Somewhere between video calling with FaceTime and sending quick video messages with Snapchat sits Glide (Android), another app for sending personal videos to your friends and family. With Glide you can both send video messages that can be viewed at any time, and have a real-time conversation.

The easiest way to understand how it works is to think of Glide as video text-messaging, where your recipient can listen to your message at anytime and respond when it's convenient, but you can still have a real-time conversation, too.

That makes the app different from Apple's FaceTime or Microsoft's Skype, which focus on video conferencing, where you're having a face-to-face conversation with someone who's online right now (though Skype does have a video voicemail feature, too). And unlike Snapchat, where you can send self-destructing video messages up to 10 seconds long, Glide's message limit is five minutes, and you can re-watch the videos as many times as you like.

Glide delivers simple and fast video messaging, and it's certainly easier to use than other apps like it. Still, there are places it can improve, especially when it comes to navigating the app. In this review, I'll focus on the Android version, which has an intentionally different layout than the iOS app.

Getting started

You'll need a Glide account to chat with friends, and anyone you want to chat with needs an account as well. To sign up, you first need to enter your phone number, then enter the verification code that the app texts to you. Next, you'll need to set up your Glide profile, which includes your name, photo, and email address. You can enter that information manually, or log in with Facebook or Google+ to get it automatically. If you opt to connect your Facebook or Google+ account, you'll be able to see which of your friends also use Glide and connect with them to send messages.

Once you're in, Glide will show you who in your phone's contacts also use Glide. You get a personal Glide ID that you can share with others so they can connect with you to send videos -- there's even an option in settings to share your ID on Twitter or Facebook.

glide-app-4839-002.jpg
Glide's home screen can be confusing to navigate. Josh Miller/CNET

Streaming, not sending

The technology behind Glide is what sets the app apart from others like it. The company uses a proprietary video system that streams messages back and forth instead of sending the full video file from device to device. That's different than sending a video message using MMS, because you have to record and upload the video file, and the recipient has to download it to watch it.

The streaming approach means that sending and watching videos happens very quickly, but it also means that you have to have an Internet connection at all times when using Glide. Also, the video quality isn't always the best, and I noticed in my testing it looked grainy at times, even via a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Video chatting

Sending videos with Glide is very easy and quick, which is the best perks of the app. But first, you need to get past the somewhat confusing home screen, which shows a mixture of your current conversations and your Glide contacts. I'd prefer this screen only show my current one-on-one and group chats, because that would cut down on the clutter. You can remove your contacts from this screen, by tapping and holding each one, but I wish they weren't there to begin with, especially because you can simply swipe left to show your Glide contacts.

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