Skype for Android review: Fast and reliable VoIP, video, and messaging

Tap the avatar at the top of the screen to jump to your profile, where you can see your vital information (including Skype credits) and change your mood message (Skype's version of a status update). Here, you can also mark yourself as Available or Invisible.

Meanwhile, the tablet-optimized version of Skype splits the functions up similarly, but takes advantage of the larger screen real estate with a dual-panel interface. Overall, the Skype app is bright and minimal, and its easy enough to zip around its primary functions.

What's great about the Skype mobile app is that it lets you place calls just as easily as on the desktop. From the main screen, you can hit the call button and dial a number or from a conversation, all you have to do is hit either the phone or video button to place a call. Within a call, you can easily toggle video on and off with a single tap. Also, it's worth noting that you can have two-way voice calls with only one person transmitting video.

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Improved video quality and easier access to chat conversations are among the changes in Skype 4.0. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

While engaged in a video call, you can easily mute or end a call, or jump to the recent messages that you've exchanged with that contact. What you can't do, though, is swap between front-facing and rear-facing cameras. Previously, you could do this with the touch of a button, but the feature seems to be missing from version 4.0. If a regular voice call comes in (from your cellular carrier) while you're on Skype, and you accept, your video call will automatically be placed on hold until you return, which is a nice touch.

In a previous review, I mentioned that that video quality on Skype was slightly pixelated and choppy. But with the updated app, that has completely changed. In version 4.0, video quality is clear and impressively smooth when on a strong Wi-Fi network. Also, the audio quality is just as crisp as before. While these qualities may change depending on the strength of your connection, it's still a noticeable upgrade over previous versions of the app.

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