- Wideband voice quality.
- Interesting list of features.
- Works in the background and incorporates background wakeup call.
- User can flexibly select and prioritize codecs.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Versions available only for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and some selected Android devices.
- There may be restrictions from some mobile network operators, those that restrict the use of VoIP over their 3G data plans.
- No version available for computer, or anything but smartphones.
There are many SIP-based softphones out there, but Media5-Fone is comparable to the best ones like Bria, which is not free. The phone app is free for Android but costs around $7 for iOS on the Apple App market.
It is made exclusive for smartphones and is a tool of mobile telephony more than anything else. It is pure-SIP client that works on all marketable mobile technologies: Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and LTE. There is obviously no Media5-Fone app for desktop and laptop computers. It is also not available for just any smartphone. Only iPhone, iPad and iPod users can have it, as can a segment of Android users. There is no version for BlackBerry and Windows Phone users, leave along all others.
An interesting feature that makes it one of the first of its kind of the advantage it takes of the multitasking environment in the new iOS. It can therefore operate in the background, while other applications run on the phone in the foreground (a bit like what happens in computers). It then pops up into notification upon reception of a call. To better understand this feature, compare it to one of the other non-multitasking phone apps we are used to. If the app is not running, your incoming calls will simply be dropped. Media5-Fone won’t have this problem.
Media5-Fone gives high voice quality, despite using the regular G.711 codec. Speaking of codecs, the app offers the flexibility of selecting and prioritizing among the codecs available, which gives interesting control over how your consume bandwidth and how you tune your voice quality. It is also one of the first SIP apps of its kind using wideband audio. The wideband codec (G.722) along with a handful of other codecs, are purchasable.
Media5-Fone is rich in features. Among the most prominent ones are call waiting, second call, call toggle, call transfer, 3-way call conferencing, switching between multiple SIP accounts, although only one can be registered at a time, a couple of security functionalities and support for a handful of European languages. Note that some of these features only come with the purchasable optional telephony pack.
If you are a novice to VoIP, you need to know that this tool is not like Skype, that it does not give you the free calls and cheap calls right after registration. In fact, you need a SIP account. Once you register for one, you can enter your credentials into the app’s configuration panel. Media5-Fone already has a list of SIP providers worldwide with which it is already configured.
Media5-Fone, like any other VoIP and SIP app, allows you to save money on calls by avoiding to use your mobile minutes and making calls over the Internet through SIP for free or cheap. Your connectivity is therefore an important consideration for using an app like this one. Most people will use their 3G data plan for ongoing connectivity anywhere while on the move. Check with the provider of your data plan whether VoIP calls are supported, as many providers restrict access to VoIP calls on their networks.
New features keep being added to Media5-Fone, and it is announced that in the future, the app will support video calling over IP.