I found this app last night while browsing through the App Store catalog called Tango Video Calls. The premise of the app is that it will allow you to make video calls over 3G which is something that Apple’s own FaceTime can not do yet. FaceTime requires use of a wifi signal so at the moment, I don’t think it’s really that useful at the moment. Since I’ve owned my iPhone 4, I’ve only conducted 1 FaceTime chat and that was with my brother just to see if it worked. Tango on the other hand states that they can make video calls over 3G and wifi, but can it really and how would the quality of the video be?

Short answer, Yes and pretty decent. The app works as advertised. I was able to call up Jason, (the boss man) and conduct a nice 5 minute video call over 3G while he was on a wifi network. The video itself was nice and clear. You can still see the compression data but it’s not that bad. There was a tad bit of a lag from what i saw on video and his voice but other than that, it was pretty good over 3G. Audio quality was a little muffled and low on my end but I could still hear him clearly. Also, just like FaceTime, you can easily switch between the rear and front facing cameras with a simple button press.

Tango Features:

• Free video calling to your friends and family around the world, wherever you are
• Call between iPhone and other smartphones on 3G and Wi-Fi
• Populates Tango Contacts automatically from existing phone contact list
• Invite friends and others by e-mail or text
• Switch cameras and swap screens to show what is around you
• Move between video to audio and back to video
• Simple and easy to use
• Create an account in less than five seconds – New profile not required

Now, since this app works over 3G, I’d suggest you have a data plan that is not the $15 plan on AT&T. I don’t know how much data the app actually requires but I’m betting it will put a dent on your data usage.

Tango has much potential but there are a few quirks with it that they need to either improve upon or fix. First off, when you enter your account info, it doesn’t always save. I entered it 3 times and each time I would restart the app, I would have to reenter it again. I finally just deleted the app and reinstalled it and that seemed to have fixed the problem as now, I don’t need to enter it anymore.

Another small problem with the app is that it is a tad difficult to set up contacts. In fact, it can be quite frustrating. Tango is suppose to auto-populate the built in contact list with your contacts that have Tango installed. This of course didn’t happen at all. I was testing this app with a friend who had also installed it and we could not see each other on the contact list. It seems that in order to see someone, you have to have the exact phone # and email address that they are using with the app. Also, I’ve read that the format i which you have it as must also be the same. All I did was enter the phone number and email address and he finally showed up on my list.

For now, the app gets a mid range score until they can make setup a little bit more intuitive with some better instructions and iron out some of the bugs. However, if you can get past the quirks and finally set it up correctly, the app is a welcome alternative to FaceTime. Best of all, its free. Tango is also available on the Android platform although I have not had a chance yet to test out cross platform video calls yet.

***Publisher Update: I was able to test it out with staff member Adele who has the HTC EVO and the experience was quite positive. She was over 3G, while I was on WiFi. She did mention that her signal quality was a little low, however throughout the call quality was decent. There was a little lag here and there, but overall a nice experience.***

I do recommend the app, but only if you have the patience to set it up.

Rating: 3/5 (but I still recommend it)

[via App Store]


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