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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    mooch91's Avatar

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    Default VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    All,

    I need a VoiP app that will allow me to easily make and receive phone calls on my phone/tablet using my Google Voice account. The advantage these apps have over using Google Voice directly is that they require no outbound call/minutes used to make calls.

    I've been using GrooVe IP Lite (the non-paid version) and it seems to work OK. I've been able to adjust settings to eliminate echo, but others have told me I sound "choppy" (cuttting in and out) when using it. Plus it doesn't allow 3G/4G calling or native dialer integration.

    Both the paid versions of GrooVe IP and Spare Phone will allow 3G/4G calling and native dialer integration, so I'd like to upgrade. Unfortunately, there's not a trial version of the Spare Phone app.

    Looking for feedback from anyone that's used both about:
    - Call quality from each
    - Battery life/consumption (I know these apps need to run in the background to be effective)
    - Native dialer integration (how clean/seamless it is)
    - General polish of the UI

    Thanks in advance!
  2. #2  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    I have the paid version of both. I've been testing them out and have a few comments

    GrooVeIP:
    Seems to work fine, and does have integration with the native dialer.You must select the "always use GrooVe IP on outgoing calls", or you will be prompted to choose how you want your outgoing calls to be handled. This is a pain when using bluetooth dialing.
    On my end, the calls are "mostly" clear, and I haven't had any complaints from the receiver.
    Its not a battery hog.
    My BIGGEST issue with it is that, after an hour or so, even though it says its connected, it does not pick up phone calls. For outgoing, the dial pad is available, but when trying to make a call, nothing happens. I have to exit the app, then restart it, and then it works.
    To correct the above tried having it auto-reconnect in the background every "specified minutes". The problem still persists
    I have it set it to have a wifi lock (so android doesn't shut off wifi when going to sleep).
    On the good side, its not really a battery hog.
    Unless I'm in airplane mode, no matter what settings I make in the google voice forwarding, both my phone AND GrooVeIP ring when receiving an incoming call. GrooVeIP, does a nice job of bypassing the lock screen, and alternating between answering with the native phone, or with GrooVe IP.
    It DOES work with 3G/4G.

    Spare Phone
    I have found it to work very well.
    It never "hangs" like GrooVe IP.
    It is a HUGE battery hog.
    It DOES work with 3G/4G.
    As I mentioned above, unless I'm in airplane mode, both native and GV ring simultaneously. The PROBLEM is that you get ONE chance to answer with Spare Phone, then the native dialer screen appears, and you can't unlock the phone without answering it with the native dialer. So you never have the chance to answer with Spare Phone. I have not found a way to fix this. If I do, I'll post back here.
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  
    mooch91's Avatar

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    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    Thanks for the awesome objective review!

    A couple of follow-on questions:

    • I've set my Google Voice to NOT forward to my mobile number. As such, GrooVe IP Lite will be the only app to ring when I receive a call. I'm surprised this is not working for you. If Spare Phone reacts the same way by bringing up both its dialer and the native dialer, even with the forwarding I've set up, then this is a deal-breaker for me. I only want my VoiP phone to ring with GV incoming calls and I want to be able to get them from the lock screen, just like the native dialer.
    • If I remember correctly, Spare Phone has two types of memory settings - like an always on and a memory/battery conserving mode. Have you seen any difference in battery consumption with different settings?
  4. #4  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    I haven't used Groove IP but I can honestly say that I'm super satisfied with Spare Phone. Spare phone is its own app. Runs in the background (I don't care about usage since I have unlimitted internet) and call quality and call clarity are top notch. The problem with google voice ringing both itself and your phone can be easily change by going to SparePhone>Menu>Settings>beta features> select "Manage phones"> go back to SparePhone home>Menu>Phones>Uncheck your number. That's all.

    One problem I have noticed is an "echo" on the other end of the conversation and I said "echo" because it really isn't one. Set call or calling volume to 3 or 4 and microphone gain to 5%-30% and the echo disappears. I hope this is helpful.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

  6. #6  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    I use the free version of Talkatone. This app will load and try to connect when you power on. There is no option to allow you not to load this app after power on.
    I do not know if this is battery hog. May be some of you can tell me how to calculate battery usage?
    Dailer do not have + sign for country code. (May be corrected)

    I tried the internet available GrooVe IP version (by downloading apk and install on my Android). This version 1.2.23 does allow you not to have the app run immediately after power on.

    I also have used Pinger - was called Textfree, free SMS app. They recently claim voice call. It assume you can only make outgoing calls. This does give you local telephone number. But do not seem to work on incoming calls.

    Skype do charge for incoming telephone number, correct?
  7. #7  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    I am also able to install LINE: Free Calls and Messages at Google Play.
    But unable to register because never receive confirmation SMS.
    Seems this app is from Japan. Not sure it work in California.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    I have the full version of Groove on my Note 2 with Sprint. I have my Google Voice # forwarded to my cell #. So far everything seems OK.

    The reason I did it was to conserve minutes since I have the Sprint 450 minute unlimited data plan. So I have to be careful about calls to and from land lines. My questions are, do my outgoing calls on Groove count against my 450 Sprint minutes, if they are to a land line?

    And can anyone think of a way that I can configure it so that my incoming calls from land lines will not go against my 450 minutes?

    Thanks in advance
  9. #9  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    Quote Originally Posted by rnoldh View Post
    I have the full version of Groove on my Note 2 with Sprint. I have my Google Voice # forwarded to my cell #. So far everything seems OK.

    The reason I did it was to conserve minutes since I have the Sprint 450 minute unlimited data plan. So I have to be careful about calls to and from land lines. My questions are, do my outgoing calls on Groove count against my 450 Sprint minutes, if they are to a land line?

    And can anyone think of a way that I can configure it so that my incoming calls from land lines will not go against my 450 minutes?

    Thanks in advance
    I use Spare Phone which has the same functionality as Groove IP. You should not be charged any minutes as long as you use Groove IP for the call. It doesn't matter what the final destination is. Groove IP will use Wifi first and then your data plan.
    If someone calls you on your Google Voice number and you answer with Groove IP it will not go against your 450 minutes.

    Hope this helps.
  10. #10  
    horn34's Avatar

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    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    Does Spare Phone not load your Google contacts? I got nothing in my contact list and there's no way to import anything in settings.
  11. #11  

    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    Spare Phone definitely loads contacts from the phone. There are three sections above the dialer. Phone /Contacts/ Call log. I didn't have to do anything special for this. It's just there as I recall.

    Posted via Android Central App
    ticktock01 likes this.
  12. #12  
    horn34's Avatar

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    Default Re: VoiP app: GrooVe IP or Spare Phone

    Well something is jacked up because Contacts is empty. I installed the full version of Groove IP and I have no contacts there either. Both apps are able to dial from my GV account fine and I have logged on to verify my contacts are still in Google. For some reason, neither app is importing them. If anyone else has run into this, please let me know.

    edit: I finally figured it out. For some reason, every part of my Google account was syncing except Contacts. As soon as I manually synced them, they showed up in Groove IP. I had to kill Spare Phone and restart it before Contacts showed up.
    Last edited by horn34; 08-21-2013 at 02:01 PM.

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