I would never dare start a Skype or Hangouts video call here because I'm 1000% sure it will either not connect or it will disconnect in the first 5 seconds.
Even Whats App voice calls are often choppy, suffering from 2-3 seconds lag and frequently cutting off and disconnecting. Not only was it able to connect, it also kept the call going against all odds.
But my last few days with Duo have shown me another side to the story.
Duo isn't trying to revolutionize video calls, it just wants to approach them from a more modern perspective, one that builds on our smartphone-carrying habits, our needs for immediacy, and our disdain for complexity.
Once you've installed the app, all you have to do is agree to a couple of permission requests if you're running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, then type your phone number. Once the code is there, you're inside and looking at your own sexy (or not) face through the front camera window.
A verification SMS will be sent to your phone - these were not working worldwide the first day, but now appear to be - and Duo should be smart enough to pick up the code from the SMS and input it inside the app. If you've ever used Whats App, you'll quickly spot the similarities.
Duo prides itself on two important features: adaptability to your connection speed (the quality of the stream drops if you're on a slow connection) and seamless transition between Wi Fi and data networks.
To achieve the latter, you'll see that Duo activates both Wi Fi and data immediately every time the app is opened, to make sure that the latter is already connected and ready should the Wi Fi signal drop. Now you may tell me that most of my screenshots in this post have a rather bad resolution.
Simplicity is the name of the game with Duo and that starts with the setup.With just a couple of calls, Duo has proven to me that it can replace Skype on my phone and maybe even tempt me to use it instead of Whats App audio calls with certain friends.Not because I to see them while I chat with them, but because the simplicity is there and it's enough to make me think twice before opening either app.You can set the phone to vibrate or not when receiving a call, limit mobile data usage, unregister your phone number in case you're switching numbers or don't want to use Duo anymore, see and manage your blocked numbers, and activate one of Duo's unique features: Knock Knock.This basically shares the caller's video stream before the recipient answers the call, as a way to entice them to pick up the phone.