When it comes to communicating over mobile, sometimes you need more than just text and audio. Doing a video chat on Android phones is a great way of connecting with your loved ones.
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? 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 Android phones and tablets.
Related: FaceTime for Android
1. Video chat on 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 chat on Android right from your Phone and Contacts apps.
Sounds awesome, right? If your phone doesn’t have this feature yet, Google Duo is still a pretty good app to use for video chatting and is easily downloadable on the Play Store. So go ahead and download it, then follow the steps below.
Step 1: Open the app and verify your number
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.
Step 2: Call your friends
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.
Step 3: Choose who to call and invite them
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.
Step 4: Talk to someone
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 Google Duo is a free and easily-accessible way of doing a video chat on Android. If you’re looking for something that’s similar to Apple FaceTime app, then this app is a great alternative for Android devices.
2. Video chat on Android using built-in video calling
There are 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 your phone’s integrated video caller.
When you use this native video chat on Android devices, 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:
Step 1: Open the app and select contact
Open the Phone app on your device and go to the contact you want to start a video chat with.
Step 2: Call your contact
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!
3. Video chat on Android using third-party apps
So what if your phone doesn’t have either of the two functions listed above? Well, there’s always third-party apps you can use to video chat on Android.
There are tons of great, free video chatting apps available to download on 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 are 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.
The next best thing to face-to-face interactions
Ready to chat up with 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. I personally use Messenger (which I’ve been using for years) because it gives me the ability to chat, call, and send images to my friends.
Choose what you think is best for you, each app has unique features so it’s highly likely that you’ll see what you want right off the bat.
Got more tips about video chatting on Android? Maybe you even have apps to recommend. Sound off in the comments section below!