The Shareware Review People

Internet Phone

Type of Program: Internet Phone
Supported Platforms: Windows 95/NT 4.0. Needs: sound card, mike, speakers; Internet connection.
Company Name: VocalTec Communications Ltd.
Version: Release 5
Price: Shareware. Free to use for two weeks then $49.95
Installed Size: 3.96 MB


When your product name literally defines the category, internet phone, VocalTec's "Internet Phone" has a lot to live up to. Many best selling products have done this, Kleenex brand is one. So when you go to the download page you expect the definitive example and in many ways you get just that. In the VoxPhone review, I mentioned my friend from England and I had been trying out several of these programs and that the sound was pretty good. Internet Phone's sound is the best so far. Plus it seems to work more effectively the longer you use it, or maybe we just stumbled into the correct combination of button pushing. Did I mention that neither of us has the slightest technical background? Well, in a way, that is what you ask of a product like this. You don't need a BA in computer science to use it. Now I don't have enough time or space to go into all the details. There are several functions that most of these internet phones share beside pretty good sound: voice mail; text chat; shared white board and file transfers. Internet Phone from VocalTec adds some others that are seem spectacular even though we have not explored them all: calls to real telephones; two-way video; community browser; caller id; muting; call blocking; cross platform usage; voice activation; full duplex and an extremely complete list of third party software and hardware add-ons for even more power. So, you are asking yourself, now is it time to give up your old reliable telephones? Of course not, Grasshopper, and that day is years off at best. But if you or your business need the powerful networking tools offered here and, preferably have 56.6 lines and modems or better and full-duplex 32 bit sound cards, then you are well on your way to some very inexpensive conversations and conferencing anywhere in the world that has internet access. How about us folks with more modest gear though? Its still a great deal, BUT, be prepared for some hair pulling while getting started, some system freezes and for most of us, 1/2 duplex is closer to the reality than full duplex. That's not all. We have yet to find each other without using ICQ, my favorite text chat, as a look up server. So, if you are not on ICQ yet I would recommend that you get set up with them before you try out any of these internet phone programs or you may be seriously annoyed trying to get connected till you purchase a license that gets you into the company's look up server address book. Here is where to go for ICQ: This program supports a wide range of internet phones and is a must for easy text chat communication. When you are set up with ICQ, most of the internet phones are listed under Voice/Video Games when you right click on a person's name. You hit VocalTec Phone and you are on your way to some fabulous conversations with uncle Louis in Paris, uncle Luis in Madrid, grama O'kwaana in Nigeria or some funny lady in the southwest of England you met playing bridge only 3 weeks ago.

User Friendly:
Ease of Installation:
Support: By email and they are several days backed up
according to mail robot. Let's call this until they
are caught up.
Reviewed by Robin Hall

Return to - The Shareware Reviewers