A Head-to-Head VoIP Review: Skype Vs Gizmo

dialpadWhile I’ve never been one to jump on any technological bandwagon early (I resisted upgrading from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 for almost five years after Windows 95 came out), when it comes to VoIP I embraced the technology the moment it became viable.

Within just a few years of the advent of Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol, Skype emerged as a leader in the industry. The reason Skype became the leader was because, at least in the U.S., you could install Skype on your Internet-connected home PC and make completely free phone calls to any phone number in the U.S.

Today, the structure of the VoIP industry has evolved to meet the demands of increased infrastructure costs to support such a large VoIP user base, as well as to compete with the frightened but savvy telecommunications industry. In addition to becoming public enemy number one in the eyes of the big telecom companies, Skype also finds itself faced with a plethora of VoIP competitors. Today, we’re going to focus on one particular competitor – the emergence of an application called Gizmo. The following head-to-head VoIP review compares the features and costs of Skype Vs. Gizmo so that you can decide if Gizmo might be worth a try.

A Skype Vs. Gizmo Comparison Reveals Features and Flaws of Both

If you’ve used Skype, then understanding Gizmo is easy because it’s practically a perfect clone. In a few areas, the application is a bit too much like Skype, to be quite honest. With that said, there are some benefits to Gizmo that deserve mentioning, so this Skype vs. Gizmo feature will lay out those features side-by-side with Skype. At the end, we’ll review whether or not Gizmo has a chance of outpacing Skype in capturing VoIP customers.

This particular review is focused on the PC-based application, but it should be noted that each service, both Skype and Gizmo, offers a very useful application for your mobile phone that can save a great deal of money in both calling minutes and text messaging.

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The first, basic part of any application to consider is the main page. In this respect, Gizmo has figured out how to make the navigation and control of the communication software much more clean and straightforward compared to Skype. In Skype, I’ve often spent a fair amount of time trying to remember how to get to the dialing pad or how to view message history.


In Gizmo, every major feature is clearly outlined in a tabular format at the top, and the most common actions, such as sending a text message to mobile users, adding a contact, or sending a message to other IM users, are clearly identified as large icons at the bottom.

Basic Features – Dialing Landlines and Adding Contacts

For the most part, if you do a Skype vs. Gizmo comparison on the dialing feature alone, they almost come neck and neck. Skype’s dialpad is a bit more aesthetically pleasing with blue stylized buttons with large white numbers on the keypad. Gizmo, on the other hand, features a somewhat boring, standard gray keypad with black letters.

But what it lacks in style, it makes up for with functionality by adding the ability to send various sound effects during your phone call. If you can picture how your friend would react when you click on the “BOO” button after they say something you disagree with, I’m sure you can imagine how funny some of these would be.


When it comes to adding a contact, Gizmo scores a point over Skype. As you can see below, Skype allows you to add other Skype users to your contact list. The one other IM app that Skype is integrated with is MySpaceIM. On the other hand, Gizmo offers users the ability to add contacts from GoogleTalk, Jabber, MSN, AIM and other major IM networks.


The one thing any communications company should understand is that not all users are every going to be using the same applications, and expecting everyone to adopt your application isn’t realistic. Interoperability is a key element to success.

Advanced Features – Sending/Receiving SMS and Voice Conferencing

Once you start getting into the more advanced features, you’re more likely to discover fees or you may need to purchase the “pro” version of the application for it to work. Comparing Skype versus Gizmo on these terms reveals that in both cases the applications offer some very cool and useful features – but if you want it to work you’re going to need to be willing to pay some small fees of one form or another.


One of the most valuable features that I’ve found all of these VoIP applications have been adding over the past few years is the ability to send text messages to mobile users. While this is a feature that’s just sort of “neat” when you’re using it as a desktop application, when you consider that these applications have a mobile version, the value becomes much more clear. You can even disable text messaging on your mobile plan, and just use your Internet connection to send and receive SMS. Both services, Gizmo and Skype, offer this feature.


Another valuable feature is the ability to set up conference calls. In both cases, Skype and Gizmo allow this feature for free among their own users, but if you want to have a landline conference call, expect to pay for it in some way – either through the landline pricing or a fixed fee.

Conferences are easier to set up in Skype, where you simply add users or phone numbers (who you call out to first). In Gizmo you need to go through setting up a conference call number that everyone can connection to. This is an extra step in Gizmo, but it does create the convenience of everyone having a central number to call in to.


Another interesting and valuable option for both Gizmo and Skype is the option to have a voicemail box. In the case of Skype, the voicemail feature isn’t available unless you pay for the upgrade to Skype Pro. For Gizmo, the voicemail feature doesn’t make it clear whether there are any charges or fees applied, however the feature itself does appear enabled in the free version of the software.

Advanced Options and Configuration

Finally, each application has a whole series of screens where you can configure your PC audio and microphone settings, videocam options and all of the other specific features of the software.


This is the one area of the Gizmo software that really raised my eyebrows. If you look closely, you can see how Gizmo developers apparently just reverse-engineered the options menus and screens from Skype. This section of the Gizmo software makes it painfully obvious that, at least in this area, Gizmo is very much a clone of Skype’s application. With that said, the additional features that Gizmo offers beyond the Skype features make up for this – but not by much.

Ultimately, my own summation of this Skype vs. Gizmo comparison is that Gizmo simply does not offer enough additional free features or services to effectively compete with Skype.

Have you ever used any VoIP software other than Skype? Which ones are your favorites? Share your own opinion in the comments area below.

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