Sunday, February 12, 2012

iOS app review : Dell Voice offers free Canadian phone numbers with free long distance calls

During my discussions with clients and professionals, I am frequently asked if there is an app to make free phone calls from iPods, iPhones or Android devices. I always say yes, and that I had tested a few of them. The United States has been fortunate to have Google Voice to make free calls to the US and Canada. Talkatone is an app that takes advantage of this service. Getting a free Google Voice number is however a little difficult for Canadians to obtain (you need a valid US number for the activation).

As such, Canadians have been left with low cost alternatives such as Skype and Nettalk and Talkatone (with Google Talk only) for outgoing calls. There was no easy way to get a Canadian number for incoming calls, until now. Dell Canada has paired up Fongo to provide a unique Canadian experience. the new app is called Dell Voice.

Dell Voice is very easy to setup. Simply download the free app from the Apple app store. Once installed, tap "register". You will be brought to the next page and Canada will be set a the default. Tap continue. You will then need to provide a valid email account, a contact phone number, set a password and enter the capcha, then click continue. An email will be sent to you. Go to your email and click the activation link and follow the online instructions. Once you are complete, go back into Dell Voice and enter your email and password and voila! you will have a free phone.

The pro's of the phone are:
  1. Decent call quality over wifi/3g.
  2. It's free and you can call many cities in the US and Canada for free.
  3. You get a real Canadian number.
  4. Even if the app is turned off, your phone will ring.
  5. It's easy to setup.
  6. It doesn't use a lot of data.
  7. Free voice mail service.
The con's of the phone are:
  1. Some static or choppy quality when the 3g connection is weak.
  2. If the app is powered off, your phone will ring but you will miss the call due to the delay (will go to voice mail).
  3. Sometimes, you will need to log off and log back in to use the phone (will not fully activate)
  4. Ads from Dell (I can live with this).
  5. No texting option (I recommend downloading Text+ for the free texting equivalent).
Overall, the pro's in my opinion outweigh the cons. My clients love the app because their cell phone bills can stay at approximately $20 / month by combining Dell Voice with their Bell Canada 3g data tablet plan. It's not perfect, but as my clients say. It beat spaying $75+ dollars every month.

You can download the app [here]
Sylvain Roy, Ph.D
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