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The Best Apps to Use Your Phone as a Walkie-Talkie

It’s all been about finally ditching the idea of walkie-talkie. The phones became smaller, then bigger but stronger. The newly emerged etiquette requires texting before calling on the phone since both can be done within the same messenger app. But suddenly it turned out that the idea of the walkie-talkie, with one participant talking at a time, is still required, and probably even less than before.

The first reason for that is obvious. The devices we have are equally good for texting and speaking our messages, but the human part of us finds it easier and quicker to speak than to type. So one-way voice messages are the feature supported in most messengers, and clouds are capable to store centuries of the spoken word.

The second is about ethos again. Most of us have busy days, and duplex communication needs to be scheduled suitable for the two participants. Exchanging voice messages, just the opposite, lets each of the two find the best time to listen and to answer, regardless of what the other is doing at the moment.

It’s so demanded now that even Apple has Internet-based Walkie-Talkie mode built into watchOS 5. As for phones, neither iOS nor Android comes equipped with apps for that from the start. But there are always third-party apps for that. The only inconvenience is that all the participants need to have the app installed. The rest is pure convenience we love this class of devices for. So, here are the best walkie-talkie apps for Android and iOS.

Zello

Zello app screenshot

(Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

So far, it’s the default online walkie-talkie for both private and group communication. Its easy interface and rich features show right as you enter the app. This app is free and available for most platforms (even for Windows Phone, doomed and abandoned).
It’s been around for years; so whatever you want to talk about, you’ll find a channel on this in your language. And if suddenly there isn’t one, you can create your own.

The app is quite flexible in settings. For example, you can adjust the volume for any participant of the chat. That can be useful, because each participant has a unique manner of speaking.

As soon as participants of the chat open the app, they receive the messages from the chats they are in. That guarantees that no message will be lost, even if you open it much later. The service is also capable of sending texts, pictures, and alerts.

Voxer

Voxer app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

Well, though this app looks like a typical messenger of 2010s, inspired by WhatsApp and its likes, it’s still a walkie-talkie, and its features are about as rich as those of Zello. It’s an alternative one, better for private chats or closer groups of friends and colleagues. In the free version, it supports private chats and groups. Public channels are not supported. On the other hand, it offers encryption for all the messages you send and receive.

Its premium tools set includes useful features like instant voice-to-text transcription, quoting earlier messages from chats (including other ones), hands-free manner of usage, and so on. The subscription is $3/mo or $30/yr; quite affordable for business needs.

Two Way

Two Way app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

If you just need the basic functionality of walkie-talkie, that’s the app. No extras like images or texting; app stores are full of conventional messengers for that. It also doesn’t support choosing individual contacts from your list.

But old-school radio enthusiasts will appreciate this due to familiar feelings. Instead of direct voice messages, you select your area (country, region, and so on) and send your messages to everyone within it. All the other Two-Way users will be able to hear you and reply. For private chats there are other ways: instead of speaking to a certain user, you can find an unused channel with Key Pad and transfer there. There are enough channels to have a private talk; strangers may interfere if they suddenly select the same number, but chances are they won’t.

Walkie-talkie — Communication

Walkie-talkie — Communication app screenshot

(iOS)

This app is exactly what it says on the tin. The app, just like the previous one, uses the channel system. When you set up communication with your friends or colleagues, you need to download the app and select the channel to use. On this channel, you can exchange voice messages in walkie-talkie mode. They are sent as soon as recorded.

This simple app doesn’t leave much for you to adjust, except for minor things like the background color. Though, probably, if you don’t need the power of overcrowded Zello, you may opt for this consciously. It’s available for iOS only, so it’s a good addition to the Apple Watch walkie-talkie feature.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

It’s a rather unusual app, because it’s meant for sending video messages in walkie-talkie mode. Of course, it’s a step away from the original idea. But if that’s just what you need, Marco Polo is a perfect option. Positioned as a solution for those who cannot afford syncing their time for communicating, it’s all about video.

Of course, it has Snapchat-like bells and whistles, meant to make videos more emotional. So you can add texts, stickers, and filters. It goes a bit beyond our original topic, still, the app is worth some attention if you prefer one-way communication.

Walkietooth

(Android)

This one is quite unusual too, and it’s not about its video capability only, but about getting close to the real walkie-talkie mode as well. We mean that dependence on the Internet connection immanent for all the apps above. Instead of relying on Wi-Fi or cellular connection only, Walkietooth makes use of any other way of sending data. It can send voice messages via local Wi-Fi networks, via Bluetooth, or via direct device-to-device connection.

With this app you can use your old smartphone as a baby monitor, installing it on both devices and positioning them in different rooms. Its video capabilities will be especially useful here.

This versatility is also useful in the countryside, with no stable Internet connection. For example, it’s great for a motorcycle or bicycle party, with all the members quite close to each other. Of course, it’s a niche solution for certain situations, but if that’s the case with you, it’s worth considering. Alas, it’s an Android prerogative, and there aren’t any analogs as functional on iOS.

Last but Not Least

Except for the last app, all of those above don’t make your smartphones function as real walkie-talkies. It’s a hardware limitation: while real WT’s have their own standalone transmitters and receivers powerful enough to function independently, smartphones are bound to cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Keep that in mind, while planning your usage of these apps.

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Advice on the New Snapchat: Master It in a Snap

It’s happened: the new Snapchat design is here, and it’s final – at least, until the next update. Despite all the hate towards it expressed by users, Snapchat will keep it. And we are to live with it, at least until the next big update (we will hate from the beginning and recollect the current one warmly).

Well, Snapchat has never been intuitive, and its users should never grow old – at least, mentally. Welcome to the anti-aging club, if you plan to use it after all the changes still. And we will help you keep up with all the changes made. Here comes the instruction on the revamped Snapchat.

Registering

Well, if you are interested in the new Snapchat, you must have dealt with the old version, and, probably, you have created an account already, haven’t you? Still, even if not, the first steps are always simple: download the app for your platform, create a profile with your phone and email (they won’t be exposed), make yourself a username and generate a password.  And this is the simplest part of it.
Later it will show you some video instructions. You can return to them. But we recommend you run Snapchat, read the following text, and follow the instruction in the app to see it IRL.

Home Screen Layout

As you launch the app, you will not see the home screen with contact lists and stuff we’re used to. Instead, you’ll be greeted with your own face through the front camera. No mistake: this is the central home screen. There are two more, though:

  • Friends Screen. To see it, swipe right.
  • Discover Screen. To see it, swipe right.

Yes, it’s the same mechanics that is now used in Facebook or Instagram. These apps aren’t so pic-oriented to put the camera first. But still, their developers get inspired by Snapchat… a bit.

To view yourself, tap your profile in the circle in the upper-left corner. The profile menu lets you access settings, scan your contacts to find other Snapchat users, or add new friends. Here you can also look trophies and snap points, but, to tell the truth, so far they give you nothing, so let’s nor focus on them.

Taking Pictures and Videos with Basic Enhancements

To make a snap, tap anywhere on the screen (with the front camera on) to focus, and then tap the button in the bottom to snap. But taking it is just a part of the process: the processing is the main part.

It’s swipe-based again. After you snap a pic, swipe left or right to apply various filters and borders or view them in full-screen preview. Now your pictures are meant to take the entire screen, so the control system is even more gesture-based.

Photo Editing

When you have taken a photo, you’ll see white buttons on its right side. They are responsible for all the effects we love about Snapchat. And now they get even closer than ever. Let’s review them all, from the top down.

  • Text (the T letter). It’s all about texts you add. Tap it, and then enter your text. You’ll be able to select the color and the font for it. But in order to drag it over the pic, you need to close the Text menu. You can also resize and rotate it with simple gestures.
  • Brush. It’s a drawing tool with various brushes, selectable colors, and thickness. Just like you have in Paint or online drawing tools.
  • Stickers. The one we love the most about Snapchat, with its incredible richness in various glamorous fonts, bright colors, and so on.

Heats and glasses, smiling faces and thumbs up, stars and balloons are here too, for you to color up your selfies or photos with friends. It also has the entire list of emoji.

The most popular ones are at the top, including current data – time, temperature (for beaches or mountains, equally impressive), MPH (it’s great for videos, in fact), or location. If you expected to find these among the filters, we understand: that was one of the reasons to protest. But treating them as stickers seems more rational.

There are also Bitmoji stickers available. To generate them, you’ll need a special app, available both for Android and iOS. Then you get your own set of 3D animated emoji, based on your own face. If you decide to change your style, it takes a minute to refresh the set with a new look.

  • URL. Well, just type the URL you want to link to your picture, and it will display.
  • Crop. It’s quite regular: crop the picture to remove unnecessary elements on the edges. It also lets you rotate the picture. You’ve probably seen the same tool in various picture editors.
  • Self-destruction timer. If you want to send this snap privately, it will define how long it will be viewable. After the time viewed expires, the photo gets deleted. The time can be set for up to 10 seconds, or left without the bomb.

As you see, the tools are quite convincing, and (what’s more important) they have what makes Snapchat a thing. The resulting photo can be saved to your gallery, or the vault named Memories (it holds the photos and videos you publish or those you mark). It doesn’t offer anything Gallery doesn’t offer too, though.

Sharing Photos

There are two ways of sharing photo you have made and edited in Snapchat. You can post it to your public story, where it will remain visible for 24 hours, or send directly to certain users. You can also send it to multiple users, selecting them the regular way you do in your OS.

Well, there may be photos shared with you by others, right? To view the incoming snaps, go to your “Friends” page. Now it contains both messages and stories, and that’s another innovation that users didn’t approve. In the earlier version, the stories of your friends could be found in “Discover” section. Mixing your friends with celebrities, it made you the unique feeling of being in. No wonder many users hold on to this experience of closeness to politicians, musicians, actors, bloggers they are subscribed to. It’s like being kicked out of the afterparty.

Communication

Well, it still just tap over your friend’s avatar to start the chat. Find the friend on your list, tap the name – and start the chat. The same way it’s done in any messenger, including, pardonne-moi, Skype.

By the way: there is also voice and video call feature that is accessed via phone and camera icons within the open chat. But Snapchat is not for using in such a plain way. So these features are just a nice-to-have-but-not-crucial option.

Discover

The most social thing about Snapchat is constantly in touch with various celebrities or just recommended (and advertised) people. Discover is the section meant for viewing public profiles. Along with stars, there are local events, recommended and advertised activities, and so on. It looks like the search tab on Instagram. Though a bit messy after the update, it’s still fun to read to spend a spare minute.

That’s why the app needs your location. It shows you the nearest events you might be interested in. But even if you aren’t, you can just watch your friends visit them.

AR Filters

While initially, SnapChat was about self-destructing messages, now its primary feature is AR-based filters. All those dog ears, cat noses, flowers, glasses, masks and backgrounds are compatible with front and rear cameras.

Just open the camera tab, look at yourself on the screen, then swipe horizontally on the screen (trying not to touch buttons) to view various filters in real-time. The filters change every day, and Snapchat has lots of them to avoid being repetitive. The most popular ones, though, come to stay.

Among the most demanded AR filters, one should name the Dog Ears, and, of course, Face Swap. Better than any rivals offer, this filter can swap the two faces in the camera, and they don’t even have to be both human.

Scissors

And here comes (arguably) the most impressive tool in the current version of Snapchat. Scissors is the tool for making stickers out of someone’s pictures. You just need to crop an item out of the pic and transform it into a sticker. It turns out unexpectedly easy, and the quality is surprisingly decent. Then you just need to open the stickers menu and select the scissors tab, and access your stickers.

Support!

If you support Snapchat, its own support team does as well. You can find it as a contact in your friendlist, added by default, and can never remove. With it, you can ask questions or report issues with just a single message. And that’s the case when you can make use of the voice chat.

If you are getting confused about the new interface, and didn’t find the answer here, you can just contact the official support and ask your questions. And, of course, get your answers right when you need them.

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