Skype Review: Unveiling the Latest Features and Performance Updates

Share This Post
Table of Contents

Skype remains an enduring name in the world of online communication, offering a blend of features that cater to both personal and business users. Commonly recognized for its video conferencing capabilities, Skype facilitates connection across continents, helping people stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The platform has evolved significantly since its inception, now providing a robust suite of services that includes instant messaging, file sharing, and live translation, adding to its versatility in various communication contexts.

A laptop displaying a Skype call with two people conversing, one smiling and the other nodding attentively. A cup of coffee sits nearby

My initial experience with Skype was as a personal communication tool; however, it quickly became apparent that its utility spanned much further. In a work setting, Skype proves to be an asset for small to mid-sized enterprises with its array of business-oriented features such as Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls, the ability to call mobile phones and landlines, and video conferencing capabilities for up to 25 people. While the free version offers substantial benefits, Skype also offers credits and subscription plans that expand its service range, making it a considerable tool for international calling and large group meetings.

Key Takeaways

  • Skype offers comprehensive communication features, including video calls and instant messaging.
  • The platform serves both personal and business needs with a user-friendly interface.
  • Skype provides optional credits and subscriptions for additional services.

Overview of Skype

A laptop with a Skype call interface open, showing a video call in progress with two people talking. The background could be a home office or living room setting

In this section, I’ll provide an insight into the role Skype has played in the evolution of online communication, particularly its journey since being acquired by Microsoft, and how it stands in comparison with other platforms in the realm of video conferencing.

Skype’s Evolution and Microsoft Acquisition

In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype, integrating it within their suite of tools. Since the acquisition, the platform has undergone significant enhancements to stay relevant in a fast-paced digital communication era. Skype initially built its reputation on providing reliable video and chat services, which catered to both personal and professional communication needs. Over the years, it has expanded its feature set to include screen sharing, call recording, and live subtitles, reinforcing its position as a versatile tool in Microsoft’s arsenal.

Skype vs. Other Platforms

Comparing Skype to its contemporaries like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft’s own Teams, I find that each serves different user needs.

  • Zoom stands out for large-scale webinar capabilities and has seen a surge in use, largely due to its ease of access and reliability for remote work and social connectivity.
  • Microsoft Teams broadens the scope with integrations into the Office 365 workflow, appealing to users requiring a unified team collaboration solution.
  • Google Hangouts, now transitioning to Google Chat, has a solid foothold among users invested in Google’s ecosystem, with seamless integration across Google’s applications.

Each platform, including Skype, offers unique functionalities tailored to varied user preferences and requirements, shaping how people converse and collaborate online.

Getting Started with Skype

A laptop with a Skype window open, showing a video call in progress with a clear and stable connection

In this section, I’ll walk you through the essential steps to get Skype up and running on your device. Whether it’s your desktop, Android, or Apple device, the process is straightforward.

Creating an Account

To use Skype, creating an account is a necessary first step. Go to the Skype website or open the app on your mobile device. Click or tap on “Sign Up” and provide the required details such as your email address or phone number. After following the on-screen instructions, your Skype account will be active, and you can sign in with your new credentials.

Download and Update

On a desktop computer, regardless if it’s Windows, Apple Mac, or Linux, visiting the Skype website will give you the option to download the appropriate version for your operating system. For mobile devices, such as those running on Android or Apple’s iOS, you can download Skype from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, respectively. Make sure to allow automatic updates to keep Skype updated with the latest features and security improvements.

Setup and Installation

After downloading Skype, open the installer to begin the setup. On Windows, an installation wizard will guide you through the process. Apple Mac users can drag the Skype icon into their Applications folder. On Linux, you’ll typically install Skype through the package manager. For Android or iOS, the app installs directly from the respective app store. During the installation, you may be prompted to give Skype permissions to access your camera, microphone, and contacts to enable all its features. Once installed, I sign in to Skype using my account to start connecting with others immediately. For console gamers, Skype can also be installed on an Xbox, allowing you to chat or video call while gaming.

Skype’s Key Features & Functionality

A computer screen displaying Skype's interface with call, chat, and video features highlighted

I find that Skype’s most notable attributes center around its comprehensive communication tools ranging from messaging to high-quality video calling. We’re looking at a platform that meshes traditional and cutting-edge features favoring both casual and professional interactions.

Making and Receiving Calls

Skype offers straightforward voice call functionality, allowing me to make and receive calls to other Skype users for free. The service also supports low-rate calls to mobile phones and landlines worldwide, which is a bonus for my international communication needs.

  • Free Skype-to-Skype calls: Connect with other users at no cost.
  • Call mobile phones and landlines: Competitive rates for global calls.

Messaging and Chat Functions

The platform includes instant messaging and chat capabilities that serve my basic needs for quick text-based communication. My experience with these features has shown them to be:

  • Group chats: For collaborative discussions with multiple participants.
  • File sharing: Send documents, images, videos, and more directly through chat.

Video Calls and Meetings

The ability to conduct video calls and meetings is a central component of Skype. High-definition video quality at 1080p, which is especially critical for professional meetings, makes the platform suitable for both one-on-one and group settings.

  • HD video calls: Up to 1080p video quality for clear visuals.
  • Meeting participants: Facilitates video meetings with multiple attendees.

Screen Sharing and Collaboration Tools

A key aspect of Skype’s offerings is its screen sharing feature, which I appreciate for presentations and collaborative work. Coupled with other collaborative tools, Skype serves as a facilitator for productivity.

  • Screen sharing: Share real-time visuals of my screen with others.
  • Live captions: Transcribe spoken words into on-screen text during calls and meetings.

Each of these features is designed with user experience in mind, focusing on ease of use and accessibility, which reflects Skype’s commitment to providing quality communication tools.

Skype for Personal and Business Use

A laptop displaying the Skype interface with a clear video call and chat window, surrounded by a professional office setting with a desk, computer, and office supplies

In my experience, Skype serves as a versatile tool that efficiently caters to both personal and professional communication needs. Its features facilitate seamless interaction whether I’m touching base with family or coordinating with my team at work.

Communication Software for Home

When it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family, Skype has long been a staple in my personal communications toolkit. It supports free video and audio Skype-to-Skype calls, which I find to be a highly reliable way to connect. Even for calling mobile phones and landlines, Skype offers paid options, which I’ve found to be affordable. Home users can particularly benefit from:

  • HD video calls: With compatible hardware, my video chats are crisp and clear.
  • Messaging and file sharing: Sending instant messages and files is convenient when I have quick updates or photos to share.

Skype for Business and Remote Work

Skype for Business, on the other hand, elevates my professional interactions by offering productivity tools and features tailored for the workplace. Here’s how I’ve seen it foster effective collaboration among coworkers, especially in remote setups:

  • Remote meetings: Scheduling and joining meetings is straightforward, with the ability to host video meetings having improved the dynamics of my remote discussions significantly.
  • Recording meetings: The option to record meetings is invaluable for those who miss out or need to review discussions, ensuring nobody falls behind.
  • Broadcast webinars: When I need to address a larger audience, Skype for Business lets me broadcast webinars effectively.
FeaturePersonal UseBusiness Use
Video/Audio CallsFree Skype-to-Skype, HDProfessional meeting environment
Messaging/Files SharingEasy to send messages/filesCollaborate remotely with file sharing
RecordingNot typically necessaryCrucial for record-keeping and review
BroadcastLimited to personal networkWebinars with extensive reach

Overall, whether I’m dialing into a casual catch-up from home or participating in a full-fledged remote conference with global colleagues, Skype and Skype for Business address my communication needs efficiently, facilitating a well-connected world at my fingertips.

Understanding Skype Credits and Subscriptions

A computer screen displaying Skype's credit and subscription options, with a mouse cursor hovering over the "buy credits" button

When managing Skype-based communications, I note that cost-effectiveness is a major consideration. Skype Credits and Subscriptions are the two primary methods to manage expenditures while enjoying the diverse functionality of Skype.

Skype Credit

Skype Credit is a pay-as-you-go option that offers me the flexibility to pay only for what I use, which can be exceptionally cost-effective. It’s suitable for users like me who make irregular or low volume of calls. The pricing is straightforward: domestic calls typically cost around 2.3 cents per minute, making it a budget-friendly choice for sporadic use without needing a subscription.

Subscription Plans

Subscriptions are a step up from Skype Credit and are designed for users who require frequent or longer duration calls. With Subscription Plans, I access bundled minutes or even unlimited minutes for making calls to specific regions or countries. This is particularly useful for me when I make regular international calls, as the pricing is more economical than pay-as-you-go rates. Subscriptions are available either on a monthly basis or annually, and they provide me with a convenient local number where people can reach me directly on Skype.

Skype’s User Interface and Accessibility

Skype's UI: Clean layout, blue and white color scheme, easy navigation, clear icons, accessible features for messaging, calling, and settings

I find that Skype’s interface design plays a crucial role in user experience, balancing a clean aesthetic with functional accessibility to cater to a broad user demographic.

Navigating the UI

When I navigate Skype’s UI, I’m greeted by a layout that’s familiar yet sophisticated. The primary screen encompasses a list of recent chats and calls, allowing me quick access to ongoing conversations. While the home screen might seem busy at times with notifications and contacts, I appreciate that the key buttons—such as contacts, calling, and chat—are prominently displayed, making them easy to locate. The video calling feature is equally straightforward, with essential controls within reach during a call.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

Skype has evidently prioritized accessibility and ease of use. Although the setup process is simple, the platform maintains a user-friendly interface that doesn’t overwhelm novices. For the visually impaired, screen reader compatibility enhances the experience. Furthermore, clear labels and larger, high-contrast buttons aid users with limited dexterity or visual acuity. I believe Skype’s inclusive design sets a standard for accessible digital communication.

Additional Services and Features

A laptop with a Skype logo on the screen, surrounded by icons for additional services and features

Apart from its well-known messaging and video calling capabilities, Skype offers additional services that provide convenience and functionality for both personal and professional communication needs.

Skype Numbers

A Skype Number is a second phone number which is attached to your Skype account, allowing you to answer incoming calls on your Skype app anywhere. People can call you from their mobile or landline and you simply pick up the call on Skype.


  • Depending on your location, prices may vary for a Skype Number.
  • Subscriptions can be monthly, quarterly, or yearly.


  • Ideal for those who need a local number for contacts in different countries.
  • Useful for businesses that want a local presence without the need for physical offices.

Skype to Go

Skype to Go allows me to call international numbers from any phone at Skype’s low rates without an internet connection. By setting up a Skype To Go number, I can dial overseas from my mobile or landline.

How it works:

  1. Register a phone number you’ll be calling from.
  2. Get assigned a Skype To Go number.
  3. Use that number to make international calls at Skype’s rates.


  • Beneficial when traveling without internet access.
  • Avoids expensive roaming charges.

Skype Translate

Skype Translate delivers real-time translation, allowing me to have conversations with people who speak different languages. It’s available for voice calls, video calls, and instant messaging.


  • Supports various languages.
  • Can translate speech and text in real time.


  • Communicate effectively with clients and colleagues from around the world.
  • Break language barriers in personal communications.

Support and Resources

A group of people gather around a computer, engaging in a Skype review. They exchange ideas and offer support and resources to one another

My experience with Skype’s support and resources has taught me that they prioritize providing a comprehensive support system, focusing on user accessibility and security. Users can navigate through the variety of support options from troubleshooting guides to live assistance, ensuring that their queries on notifications, privacy settings, or any other concerns are addressed with due diligence.

Help and Customer Support

When it comes to Help and Customer Support, Skype has established an easily navigable help center that offers step-by-step guides for troubleshooting common issues related to notifications, settings, and performance. This help center is accessible directly through the Skype application or via their official website. For immediate assistance, Skype implements a customer support team, available to contact through email, live chat, or phone, providing direct help for more complex issues or urgent concerns about privacy or security.

  • Email Support: Available for non-urgent queries with a typical response time of 24-48 hours.
  • Live Chat/Phone Support: Ideal for instant assistance. Users can expect timely support, although availability may vary based on user location and time of day.
  • Troubleshooting Guides: These step-by-step articles help diagnose and resolve common issues independently.

Community and Forums

Forums and community resources add another layer of support, where I can interact with other Skype users and share insights or find solutions to common problems. The Community and Forums section is rich with user-generated content, including discussions about feature requests, privacy concerns, and security settings.

  • Discussion Boards: They allow me to post my own questions or contribute to ongoing conversations.
  • User Q&A: Often includes resolution steps previously successful for other users, which can be particularly helpful.
  • Community Guidelines: Ensure discussions remain productive and respectful, aligning with Skype’s commitment to a safe and secure user environment.

Skype’s commitment to a supportive environment is clear through its resource availability. By utilizing these support channels, I can better manage my Skype experience, maintaining privacy and security while optimizing the app’s settings to suit my needs.

Platform Integrations and Extensions

A laptop screen displaying Skype logo with various platform icons around it. Extension icons visible in the background

In my review of Skype’s capabilities, a significant aspect that stands out is its ability to integrate with various applications and the availability of extensions that enhance its functionality. This integration is pivotal for streamlining communication and boosting productivity on different platforms and devices.

Integrating with Other Applications

Skype has evolved to become more than just a communication tool; it serves as a bridge connecting multiple productivity tools and applications. Here’s how Skype integrates effectively:

  • Office Suite: I have observed that Skype integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office applications which include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This allows users to collaborate in real-time during a Skype call.
  • Outlook: Managing contacts and scheduling meetings directly within Outlook is facilitated by Skype, enhancing workflow for professionals.

Extensions for Enhanced Functionality

Extensions are pivotal in maximizing Skype’s potential, and below are a few ways they contribute:

  • Bots: Skype’s use of artificial intelligence through bots adds a dimension of automation, from scheduling meetings to providing language translations.
  • Add-ins: By employing add-ins like Giphy or Sticker Packs, I find that Skype messages can be made more engaging, which is useful in both professional and casual conversations.

The capability of Skype to incorporate these tools has contributed greatly to its standing as a valuable asset for users across different devices. Its flexibility and adaptability through these integrations and extensions make it a suitable choice for those in need of a reliable communication platform.

Skype’s Performance and Reliability

Skype logo displayed on a computer screen with a stable internet connection and clear video call quality

In my experience, Skype has been a steadfast tool in the realm of online communication, particularly known for its consistent call quality and reliability. Focusing on these aspects is key to understanding its position in the market.

Quality of Service and Reliability

Call Quality: On a stable internet connection, Skype calls are generally clear without significant lag. I’ve found that even when the bandwidth is limited, Skype optimizes the call to maintain audio quality. It adjusts the video quality to preserve the call without dropping, which is beneficial for users with varying internet speeds.

  • Low Bandwidth Requirements: Skype is designed to function effectively even with low bandwidth, which makes it suitable for users in areas with weaker internet infrastructure.
  • Reliability: Skype’s infrastructure provides dependable connectivity, allowing for consistent communication across the globe.

Dealing with Glitches and Issues

When encountering glitches, Skype offers troubleshooting options which I find quite comprehensive:

  1. Reconnection Features: If a call drops due to an unstable connection, Skype attempts to reconnect the call automatically.
  2. Support Resources: Comprehensive help documentation and customer support are available to address common issues.

Internet Connections: However, the quality and reliability can still be influenced by the user’s internet connection. In cases of poor connectivity, users may experience some interruptions or degraded quality in their calls, but this is not a reflection of Skype’s inherent performance.

Skype in the Context of Global Events

A laptop displaying a Skype call, with a world map and global event headlines in the background

In my review, I’ve observed that global events like the coronavirus pandemic significantly altered how we use technology, especially communication tools like Skype. Let’s examine how Skype responded to increased demands for digital communication during the pandemic and its role in keeping people connected amidst travel restrictions.

Impact of the Pandemic on Usage

During the coronavirus pandemic, Skype usage soared as businesses and individuals sought reliable video conferencing tools. The need for effective remote collaboration led many to choose Skype for its video Skype-to-Skype calls, conference calling capabilities, and the ability to call mobile phones and landlines. This surge demonstrated Skype’s critical role in maintaining continuity in work, education, and personal relationships during widespread lockdowns.

  • Increase in remote work: Skype facilitated a transition to remote work environments with features catering to business calls and group meetings.
  • Education continuity: Online classes and virtual learning became more viable with Skype’s conferencing features.

Importantly, the platform adapted quickly by improving and scaling its services to meet the high demand from users relying on digital communication as their primary means of staying connected.

Skype for Staying Connected during Travel

I’ve observed that travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic presented challenges for global mobility, prompting people to turn to Skype to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues across borders. With travel being limited,

  • Family connections: Skype’s free audio and video calling made it possible for separated families to maintain a sense of closeness.
  • Business continuity: International business calls shifted to platforms like Skype, mitigating some of the impacts of travel bans on commerce.

The tool proved to be an invaluable asset for those stranded away from home or needing to manage international relations remotely. Whether it was sharing a smile with a loved one or closing a deal with an overseas partner, Skype ensured that distance wasn’t a barrier to communication.

Future Prospects and Innovations

A futuristic office with holographic screens displaying innovative technology. Colleagues engage in a Skype review, discussing future prospects and innovations

In assessing the future of Skype, I observe a clear trajectory toward aligning with emerging communication trends and integrating new, user-focused features to enhance the virtual interaction experience.

Skype and Future Communication Trends

My analysis reveals that Skype is set to embrace dynamic view and virtual event webinars, adjustments that reflect the evolving needs of users in an increasingly digital world. Dynamic view is likely to employ intelligent technology to optimize screen space for shared content and video feeds, adapting fluidly as participants join, leave or engage during a call. With the pivot to remote work and learning, I anticipate that Skype’s integration of virtual event webinar capabilities will cater to a growing demand for large-scale, interactive, and professionally-oriented online events.

Potential New Features and Updates

Skype’s innovation pipeline includes features such as Meet Now, which streamlines the process of starting ad hoc meetings without the need for participants to sign up or download the application. By prioritizing ease of access, Skype is working towards a frictionless user experience. I anticipate timely updates that reinforce security and privacy, an assessment grounded in Skype’s historical commitment to continuous improvement. Furthermore, potential new features may include advanced messaging functionality, enhanced file sharing, and expanded collaboration tools, designed to fortify Skype’s utility in an increasingly competitive landscape.

By keeping pace with technology trends and user expectations, Skype’s future seems to be molded by both sustenance and innovation, seeking to maintain its relevance and efficiency for users around the globe.

Skype’s Impact and Final Assessment

A computer screen displays Skype's impact on global communication, with positive reviews and final assessment highlighted

As we examine Skype’s standing amongst its peers, my focus narrows on its substantial impact as a communication software and the direction its legacy could take in the future.

The Verdict on Skype

I’ve observed Skype evolve into a robust platform that is often the go-to for video conferencing and online communication, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses. Its features have become a benchmark, setting a standard in the industry for what users expect from communication software. Notably impressive are its high-quality video capabilities and the integration of bots—a futuristic touch. Yet, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing; I’ve noticed occasional glitches and a sometimes cluttered user interface that can detract from the overall experience. Despite these minor setbacks, the core functionality—free group video calls, text chatting, and live translation—solidifies my positive assessment of Skype.

Skype’s Legacy and Future Direction

Skype’s inception marks a significant milestone in digital communication, pioneering the widespread adoption of video calling. Its purchase by Microsoft for $8.5 billion underlined its impact and the potential seen by major technology stakeholders. As I contemplate its future, it’s evident that while competition has intensified with the emergence of numerous other communication platforms, Skype’s legacy as a trailblazer seems intact. Looking ahead, I anticipate continuous updates and iterations to keep up with the demands of modern communication and possibly setting trends that others may follow. Skype’s legacy and future lie in its ability to adapt and innovate, ensuring its place remains secure in the dynamic landscape of communication software.

Frequently Asked Questions

A computer screen showing a Skype review page with a list of frequently asked questions and a star rating system

In this section, I’ll cover some of the key questions users typically have about Skype, from its advantages and limitations to cost and user satisfaction.

What are the pros and cons of using Skype for communication?

Skype offers free audio and video calls between users, conference calling capabilities, and the option to call mobile phones and landlines at low rates. However, the quality of service can be inconsistent, and paid international calls may be more expensive than some competitors.

How does Skype perform for international calls compared to its competitors?

For international calls, Skype’s paid services are generally considered reliable. I find that while Skype’s rates are competitive, some users may find alternative services that offer cheaper or even free international calls with subscriptions or promotions.

Can Skype be used free of charge, and if so, what features are included?

Skype can be used for free, which includes making audio and video calls to other Skype users. Free features also include messaging, file sharing, and screen sharing, making it a versatile tool for personal or business communication.

What are some common complaints users have regarding Skype?

Common complaints include occasional connectivity and quality issues during calls, a user interface that can be challenging for some to navigate, and competition from other platforms offering a more modern experience or better integration with workplace productivity tools.

How does Skype compare to Zoom in terms of features and user experience?

Skype and Zoom both offer video conferencing and collaboration features, but Zoom is often perceived as more user-friendly and stable, especially for larger meetings. Zoom also provides robust features catering to businesses, such as webinar hosting, which Skype handles differently.

Is Skype still widely used despite the emergence of newer communication platforms?

Yes, while competition is fierce, Skype maintains a user base due to its established presence in the communication space, familiarity among users, and its integration with Microsoft services, which can make it a convenient option for some businesses and individuals.

More To Explore