Truphone Rocks The iPod Touch

After a I interviewed Truphone’s CTO and he teased about the possibility of Truphone running a telephone app on the iPod Touch and the company announced the application’s pending released, I have finally been able to trial the service and can now post a review.

First Impressions:

Truphone on the iPod

Truphone on the iPod

Upon visiting the App Store and looking for the Truphone application for the iPod Touch (there is a separate App for the iPhone), it’s easy to download and install the application.

The first step after installation is to set up your Truphone account. This was a little tedious for me because I was trying to use my existing Truphone credentials as I have been using Truphone on my Nokia/Symbian phones for about a year.

With the iPod Touch version of the software, you must establish a new account. This is still a point of frustration that I have yet to understand.

Once your new account is established, you can begin setting up a test call to make sure you have your connections made correctly.

Using the Application:

Interacting with the iPod Touch application is a breeze. Truphone did a great job of building a very positive user experience into their application. Menus and options are easy to understand and establishing your first call is quite fluid and easy.

As mentioned in a prior post, the Truphone application will allow you to make free calls to Truphone and Google Talk users and conduct instant message conversations with MSN, Yahoo, and Google Talk contacts. To test these IM capabilities, I signed up with my Google Talk credentials and was yapping with my Gtalk buddies before I knew it.

However, I have yet to give the Google Talk call quality a trial, I’ll report back on that soon.

Call Quality:

To evaluate the call quality of Truphone’s iPod Touch app in the best light, my first trial was via my home Wi-Fi connection with a call placed to another Truphone user about 50 miles away. How did it sound? Really Good!. The call didn’t have the same fidelity as a Skype-to-Skype call, but I could easily hear the other party and the caller reported he could hear me very well as well.

For my microphone connection, I used the Truphone microphone adapter that integrates with your existing iPod headphones. This is a great option because you can use any headphones that you already have. The mic add-on requires you to hold the mic in front of your mouth at times (just like an old-school cell phone mic attachment), but it works quite well.

I also trialed phone calls to landlines. While the call quality wasn’t as great as the Truphone-to-Truphone call, it was definitely comparable in quality to a normal cell phone call.

Overall, I trialed phone calls on the iPod Touch in a variety of setting including coffee shops using their Wi-Fi, at home on my 12 Mbps fiber connection, at other houses who use DSL and Cable Modems, and I was very impressed with Truphone’s call quality.

There was only one time where I was disappointed with call quality, but I later found out that the host network had someone downloading online video, saturating the network. This was not a fault of Truphone, rather due to local network failure.

Conclusion:

The Truphone iPod Touch application fills it’s promise of being a one-stop communication conduit for your iPod Touch. With the application, you can conduct VoIP powered telephone calls to other Truphone users and conventional phones and instant message conversations with your online contacts.

All this functionality is cheap using Wi-Fi hotspots no matter where you are in the world. If you paired Truphone with a Boingo account which only costs $7.95/month for unlimited global Wi-Fi access at 100,000 hotspots worldwide, you would have a very cost-effective communication solution.

If you have an iPod Touch, I highly recommend you give Truphone a try. The app is free and can be downloaded from the the iTunes App Store.