Popular free mobile messaging and VoIP platform, Viber, extended its roots to the desktop back in May with the release of Viber for Windows and Mac, though the Windows app was desktop-based, meaning those using Windows RT tablets were out of luck. After a lot of speculations and wait, this week marked the availability of the popular VoIP service in Modern UI flavor at the Windows Store, boasting everything you would expect from an official Viber app, coupled with an exquisite interface that is both simple and intuitive. Viber for Windows 8 and RT offers all the functionality found on the mobile and desktop variants sans voice messaging and video calls. Read on for our hands-on review.
The Windows 8 app will only work for those already using Viber on their mobile device because it requires to be activated first via a verification code that is sent to your already configured Viber account on iOS, Android and other supported apps.
Setting things up is fairly quick and easy. Upon first launch, you need to tell Viber your mobile phone number. When you’ve received the verification code on your mobile, simply enter the code back into the Windows 8 app, and you’ll be all set.
The main interface of Viber on Windows 8 sports the same overall color scheme and theme as the mobile version. You can make free calls to your contacts over the internet, send free messages, create groups with up to 40 participants, and send photos, videos and other files.
That said, there are also some Metro UI-specific features that integrate nicely with Windows 8/RT, including live tile updates, ability to pin specific conversations to the Start screen, snapping Viber to a side of your screen in order to work with another app at the same time, etc. You can also right-click the screen to access the App Bar for things like quickly composing message or navigating to the different sections of the app.
While the video calling feature from the desktop apps and the voice messaging feature from the mobile variants are both missing from the Windows Store app, it does allow you to make HD quality audio calls, as well as send simple text messages, complete with emoticons and stickers. You can start a voice call by tapping or clicking the small call button in the left section of any contact’s chat window.
During a call, you can easily hold or end it, as well as mute its sound. The app also has the ability to transfer conversations between devices so you can receive a call on your Surface 2 tablet and then switch over to your smartphone when heading out, or vice versa.
2013 has been quite a spectacular year for Windows 8. Not only did we get a major update in the form of Windows 8.1, but we also got some high profile apps including Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, Photoshop etc. And now even Viber has joined the list. Overall, the Windows Store version of Viber is pretty impressive.