The HTC Thunderbolt is the first 4G LTE phone to hit Verizon, and it is also the first Android device on Verizon to be able to deliver voice calling with Skype. The Skype for Android app leaked out for the Thunderbolt and allows video calling with the front or rear facing camera. We showed you how to install the unofficial Skype video calling app for Android, and then we decided to test it out.
To see how the HTC Thunderbolt handles video calling, we used the Skype Android app to place the following video calls;
- Thunderbolt to iPhone
- Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
- Thunderbolt to Skype Desktop
- 3G to MiFi connected iPhone
- WiFi to 3G
- 3G to 3G
Overall, the performance was OK, but we now know why Verizon didn’t include Skype video calling out of the box. As you can see in the video below, the overall video quality is pretty good even over 3G, but we noticed a marked improvement when calling over WiFi. We weren’t able to place a 4G to 4G call due to our location, but given the great speeds we have seen we expect it would provide good quality.
The Skype Android app with video calling is still a bit buggy. First off, we had a few issues calling other users from time to time, specifically when we tried to answer a voice or video call originating from a Skype desktop application. Next up, when calling Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt the audio was pretty quiet, as if speakerphone had not engaged. There were also a few video orientation issues, but nothing that would be a dealbreaker.
The final issue, and perhaps the most annoying, is that the Skype doesn’t appear to go into an idle mode. This means that the app will suck your battery dry faster than any other app we have seen. In our 20 minutes of testing we saw the battery meter drop about 18% — a problem on a phone that has notoriously low battery life anyway.