One of the most often read articles on Pelokee is my previous Skype review. The new version of Skype is finally out, so what better way to follow up a hit than to review its successor? The new version of Skype offers a new look and feel, improved sound processing, and larger video screens. Part of the new look includes detachable windows and a default screen that takes up a lot more real estate on your screen…
If you are familiar with Skype, adjusting to the new look should not cause you any significant delays. The whole experience feels richer than the last version, so newcomers will quickly come to love the application. The detachable windows are a major plus because you can position the various screens wherever you want them.
The video windows finally allow you to adjust the size of your own video view, which was a very nice feature to see.
Not much has changed with the actual usage of Skype, which is nice because it was a pretty stable product to begin with. Mostly, users will notice a difference in the visual richness and control of the interface. I never really noticed any problems with sound quality up to this point, so it may take a while for me to notice any difference in the “improved sound quality”, but users with slower Internet connections may notice it sooner. Let me know if you have any insight on this!
On my Windows XP laptop, I was able to use the “Check for Updates” selection to find and install the new version. On my Vista desktop, the check failed to find the new version, so I had to manually download and install it. Not sure if that is an anomaly with me or not.
Let’s take a quick look…
For reference, the “old” version of Skype looked like this when you started it up:
In the new version, the default start screen looks like this:
Aside from that big, empty, blue box on right, notice that the section tabs have been moved from the top to a more Outlook style of expandable tabs along the lower part of the left side of your window.
Don’t fret, though. You can banish that guy pretty quickly with the “Compact View” control:
That toggle button is very useful because that extra space displays just about everything you’d need when in a call – video, IM, profile information for the person you are talking to, and a meter that is supposed to show you how well the quality of the call is at any given time.