Who needs FaceTime? 4 video-calling apps for Android
If you're looking to video chat, these apps can help stay connected with HD video and extra features too.
Sarah MitroffManaging Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
For staying connected, video calling is still all the rage. More personal than a phone call, but just as easy, video calling is often free and the feature is popping up in more apps, including WhatsApp earlier this year.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, your top choice would likely be FaceTime, since its built into the operating system and works well. But if you're rocking an Android phone or tablet, you'll need to pick another app to help you stay connected.
Luckily, there are plenty of choices to choose from, many that offer much more than Apple. I've rounded up some of the best and most popular choices below.
Google's own video and messaging app is one of the most popular ways to make voice and video calls from your Android phone, and that's not just because the app usually comes pre-installed. The app grabs contacts from your Google account and phone's address book so that you can send text messages, place voice calls and start a Hangout, which is what Google calls a video chat.
You can chat one-on-one, or add more participants (up to 10), using your phone's front or rear camera. Video calls, and even most voice calls, are free to any other Hangouts user. And if you have a Google account, you can already use Hangouts -- there's no need to sign up for anything new.
What's great: Hangouts organizes your conversations by person, and you can send messages, and start voice and video calls from one place.
What's not: The app can be glitchy, especially when trying to hang up a video call.
Popular messaging app Viber added video calls in 2014, making it even more useful. Since it got its start sending text-based messages, that's still where Viber shines. You can send messages, stickers, photos, voice messages and your location.
For video calling, you can either send a pre-recorded video in a chat, or have a live video conversation. There's no dedicated video calling option, instead you start a new call with one of your contacts and then select the video option.
What's great: Viber has tons of features to keep you connected and the video calling works beautifully.
What's not: The app's design is a bit confusing, because some of the same features are in multiple locations.
Missing some of the bells and whistles that the other apps on this list have, Imo offers a simple, streamlined way to send messages and make video and voice calls. That's great for people who just want to make a call and then move on.
Like Hangouts and Viber, you can use Imo to send text messages and stickers, but the app makes it dead simple to place a video call, giving you the option in the main contact list view. With one tap, you can launch a video call, without even needing to open a conversation, like you need to do with the other apps.
What's great: Of all the apps on this list, Imo is the easiest to use for video chatting.
What's not: There's no way to delete or hide contacts, so you'll see everyone in your address book who uses Imo, whether you want to or not.
While Gilde isn't a real-time video chatting app, it deserves a spot on this list for its unique approach. With Glide, you record a video, up to 5 minutes long, and send it to someone else, who can view and respond to it immediately, or save it for when they have time to deal with it.
The app does a great job with quick back-and-forth conversations, without any awkward silences because you can respond only when you have something to say. You can also use the app like video voicemail, leaving messages for someone to watch when they can. You can also have group chats in Glide, where you send a video to more than one person, and everyone else can respond.
What's great: You don't need to carve out time for a video chat because you can send and reply to messages at your convenience.
What's not: Glide's Android app design is clunky and sometimes video quality isn't the best.
Watch this: Duo shows you live video of callers before you pick up