Any smart doorbell worth its salt is equipped with a video camera that sends an alert to your phone along with a live video stream when the doorbell button is pressed. Video is accessed via a mobile app that is also used to install the device, configure wireless settings, and set up alerts. You'll pay more for doorbells that offer features like 1080p video, motion detection, two-way audio that lets you speak with whoever is out there, and on-demand video streaming. To avoid false alerts from passing cars, high winds, and any critters you may have roaming around your property, look for a doorbell cam that offers customizable motion zones.
As it turns out, OEMs and carriers have taken matters into their own hands for video chatting. Some carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and others have video calling built into every phone sold by the carrier. You can quickly and easily video chat with anyone else on the service. Thus, someone with a Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile and someone with an LG V20 on T-Mobile can video call each other directly from the dialer app like you were making a phone call. They're a bit restrictive, but they tend to work pretty well when you can actually use them. We hope these options are expanded over time.
Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet. We know that a lot of people don't like the app. We agree that it still needs a lot of work. However, there are so many people that use Facebook that Facebook Messenger just makes sense. The video chat experience works relatively well. Since most of the people you know are on Facebook, it's easier to use this app than to convince everyone to join a new platform. Plus, the new ads rolling out aren't great. It's not perfect, but it's perhaps the most convenient of the video chat apps on this list. At least it's free.
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Signal Private Messenger is one of the most popular privacy chat apps. It features end-to-end encryption for all messages, voice calls, and video chats between two Signal users. It focuses a lot on individual chats. There are group chat features, but it's mostly for personal use. This is one of the biggest differences between it and rival privacy chat app Telegram. Video calls worked fine in our testing so we have no trouble recommending them. It's a neat way to get some encrypted chats as well. The app is also completely free and open source. You can't really go wrong with it, but there are better video chat apps if you need group video chats.