For those with Google Voice accounts, the desire to have a true VOIP solution for Windows Phone has been around for a long time. We have apps like MetroTalk to help manage Google Voice and even make phone calls through a cellular provider, but that’s not an actual VOIP system.
Spare Phone is a relatively new app to Windows Phone and it seems to do just that: make and receive calls purely over your data connection (either Wi-Fi or cellular data). The app works like a standard phone dialer, which can access your contacts and even maintain a call history.
The app will cost you $3.49 and it doesn’t have a free trial. That already takes it down a peg for many of you. We did fork over the money though to give it a shot.
Truth be told, it does work. We tried to make some calls using the app over Wi-Fi and while the sound was “tinny”, it was audible and very usable. The app features some echo cancelation technology, which was useful. The interface for the app is clean and clear.
Incoming calls was a little more tricky. In our short time with the app, we weren’t able to receive calls using just VOIP, though others who left reviews of the app have had more success. In reality, this is a tad complicated as Google requires you to “accept” the app as trusted and there are login issues to deal with, etc. Long story short, nothing is ever easy with Google and here, we’re placing the blame on them rather than the app itself.
However, you are allowing an app access to your Google account and we did receive an email from Google about “Suspicious sign in prevented”. We don’t think this app is suspicious and indeed, we had granted it permission, but like all things with your account, be warned.
Overall, Spare Phone is a well done app that fills in a niche for Windows Phone users. Free VOIP calls over Wi-Fi is nothing to dismiss as anyone who uses Skype knows. While Google is not content with making any Windows Phone apps yet, Spare Phone, despite not having a free trial, gets the job done.
The other big question is how long will this app last? Google has thrown down the gauntlet on third-party Google Voice apps, and Spare Phone might have to be pulled later in 2014.
Pick up Spare Phone here in the Store. Windows Phone 8 only. $3.49, no free trial.
Thanks, mk, for the tip