When it comes to communicating over mobile, sometimes you need more than just text and audio.
Maybe you need the nuances of body language. Maybe you want a more audio-visual way to share your experience. Or maybe you’re just not in the mood to type or take photos.
After all, there’s nothing like a good ol’ video chat to catch up with your long-distance lover, or even to show off your new home to family and friends.
Who would’ve thought that technology would be able to replicate real-time, face-to-face interactions like this, huh?
Whether you need to make a personal call or attend a meeting, video calls are definitely a godsend. Fortunately, there is already a number of ways you can video chat on your Android phone or tablet.
Related: FaceTime for Android
Using Google Duo
While I personally prefer Android over other mobile OS, one great thing about using an iPhone is Facetime. It’s just so seamless and easy. Plus, it’s built-in—there’s no need to download another app.
Right now, there still isn’t an Android app that can quite live up to this convenience. But Google is getting there with Google Duo.
This app is preinstalled and integrated with the first- and second-generation Pixel phones, Android One, and Nexus devices. What this means is that when you’re using any of these devices, you can easily start a video call right from your Phone and Contacts apps.
Sounds awesome, right? Hopefully, this functionality will be available in more Android devices as well.
And even if your phone doesn’t have this feature yet, Google Duo is still a pretty good app to use for video chatting. So go ahead and download it, then follow the steps below.
You’ll then be asked to verify your phone number. From here on out, your contacts will be able to video chat with you using just your number.
You’ll now see a screen with the top portion capturing your front camera’s video feed and the bottom part displaying your contacts. If you’ve noticed, you can toggle between video calling and audio calling here. Let’s focus on video.
Swipe up to see your full contact list, and search for the person you want to video chat with. If they don’t have Duo yet, you can tap on the button to invite them to install the app. Otherwise, just click on their name and wait for them to answer.
Take note that Google Duo has a handy feature called Knock Knock. This lets the person you’re trying to contact see a live video of you before they answer the video call. This way, they have an idea of why you’re trying to call them and why they should pick up.
Using Built-in Video Calling
While Google Duo is integrated with only select devices, for now, there are still some phones that allow you to start video chats directly from your Dialer app.
Depending on the device and carrier you’re using, it’s possible to have video calls built into your calling experience, much like voice calls. Want to talk to your mom and ask for a certain recipe? You can call her up on your phone—using video.
When you use this native video chat capability, you’re utilizing a Voice over LTE (VoLTE) connection instead of 3G or other common voice networks.
This makes for higher voice quality, plus you won’t have to worry about a slower data connection for browsing while making calls.
But you can’t start a native video chat with someone whose device doesn’t support this integration. They have to be on the same carrier as well.
In other words, you and the person you’re calling should be using the right phone and the right carrier to enjoy this feature.
For example, here’s how you can start a native video chat through a Samsung Note 9 running Android 9.0:
Open the Phone app.
Go to the contact you want to start a video chat with.
Tap on their name. You will then see a slew of options on how to contact them, including video chat (barring any limitations on both your ends). Look for the video icon and select that.
Wait for them to answer and enjoy your chat!
Using Other Apps
So what if your phone doesn’t have either of the two functionalities listed above? Well, there’s always third-party apps.
There are tons of great, free video chatting apps available to download for your Android device. And the great thing is, you won’t have to worry about your contacts being on the same carrier or having any features to activate. They just have to download the app you’re using as well.
And yes, you can even use these apps to video chat with your iPhone user friends.
How to choose a video chat app
There is no right answer here—it all depends on what you need.
If you’re looking for a simple interface, maybe you’ll enjoy using Google Duo. But if you want to use an app with a huge user base, WeChat, Messenger, and Line should be your go-to’s.
If you regularly take calls on your laptop, Skype, Viber, and Google Duo have corresponding desktop versions.
If you want to insert some fun in your video chats, Messenger, WeChat, Tango, and have some great customization options.
You should also take into account your phone specs, your internet connection, and of course, the apps your family and friends are using.
But don’t fret. After all, there’s no reason why you can’t have more than one video chat app installed on your phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I install Facetime on my Android phone?
No, but there are many video chat alternatives that you can install on your device.
Can I video chat someone from the dialer app on my phone?
You’ll have to check if your phone and carrier supports native video calls. The best way to know this is to ask your carrier.
Can I start a video chat with someone who’s using an iPhone?
Yes, if you’re using a third-party app like Messenger, Skype, or WeChat. They have to have the app installed though.
How much data do I consume when I video chat?
A 1-minute video chat usually takes up about 6 to 8 MB of data.
The Next Best Thing to Face-to-Face Interactions
Ready to chat up your family and friends?
Whatever video chat method or app you eventually decide to use, it can’t be denied that Android has tons of options for you to choose from.
Just think about what features you need, and what’s convenient for you and the person you’re going to call.
Happy video chatting!
Got more tips about video chatting on Android? Maybe you even have apps to recommend. Sound off in the comments below!