Skype vs. Gizmo UI? Hah! No comparison

Skype vs. Gizmo UI? Hah! No comparison

Summary: OK, now I am on record as saying that Skype has cheaper calling plans than the Gizmo Project. But what about the user experience?

TOPICS: Tech Industry

OK, now I am on record as saying that Skype has cheaper calling plans than the Gizmo Project. But what about the user experience? Or, as we geeks call it, the UI? (User Interface).

On this count, any objective observer would have to say that the Gizmo Project rules.

Let us first consider the overarching reason. Skype's UI and functionality is kind of bare bones. Many hundreds of relatively easy - and some not so easy- third-party plug-ins and mods are available. But to dress up Skype all nice, you have to do some of the work.

But Gizmo Project's softphone already comes with some of the bells and whistles that you have to add to Skype. One-button call record, call mapping, voice mail, more intuitive chat, integrated weather info.

And the "eye candy" factor? Gizmo Project's softphone is pretty. Lots of cool colors. Skype is pretty- ugly. Bland.

Yes, but what about the call itself? I am in the middle of testing both SkypeOut and Gizmo CallOut. I should be done in a few days. Come back to read what I found. Meanwhile, feel free to post a TalkBack about what you think.

Topic: Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Firefox vs IE

    Your complaint is sort of like comparing Firefox vs IE, or even Mozilla. Skype offers the basic funcionality and you add the plug-ins you want. Some of us like to be nimble.
    • Skype... nimble?!

      Heh... are you suggesting Skype is nimble?
      I have to be careful about using it on my notebook (with only 256MB RAM), as it uses 25MB of RAM! and with my web/database testing servers etc... I don't have much left over. So using skype on it slows everything down most of the time.

      Gizmo on the other hand uses less than 7MB of RAM! So I can actually keep in running in the background... now I just have to talk all my friends into using it ;)

      Gizmo runs so much faster than Skype on my notebook... I can't tell the difference on my desktop pc (but it's at least 10 times more powerful than my notebook) - though Skype still seems to take longer to load and connect on both.

      I know what I'll be changing to :)
      • Memory use

        I need to adjust my comment of Gizmo only using 7MB. It seems it will use up to 16MB when making a voice call - I just noticed that the memory usage of Gizmo changes depending on what it's doing... now that it's minimized and just running in the background it's only using up 3.5MB!
        Very cool!

        Skype seems to always use the full amount (22 - 25MB depending on what version you're using) even when minimized.
  • Horses for Courses


    Many thanks for bringing us up-to-date on Gizmo. I hadn't realized that Gizmo has moved on so much since I last looked at it.

    I guess the Gizmo guys must be working pretty hard.

    As far as UI is concerned, beaty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I like a minimalist approach up front, and a simple hood latch with lots of control underneath.

    Your info. on Gizmo's call rates versus Skype was interesting. In niche telecoms markets like this it is often the case that numbers of subscribers (a.k.a. subs) can have a dramatic effect on pricing. Any service provider will pay termination fees to other providers (for helping complete CallIn and CallOut calls) - and the price they pay will be determined by call volumes. Gizmo is suffering by being the Cinderella of VoIP solutions at the moment - but a little publicity oxygen will go a long way to helping here.

    I believe Gizmo only needs more people to realize the benefits of it's open APIs (SIPphone - see: particularly open compared to Skype) for its value proposition to ensure that more people try Gizmo. I love its disruptive model - telecoms without exchanges

    If you can fit anything thicker than a piece of paper between Gizmo's & Skype's service quality then the picture might change again - but expect me to repeat what I have said before about Gizmo, it is early days.

    On the other hand, if you conclude that service quality is comparable then, IMHO, you really should give Gizmo more attention Russell, as Skype has been such a favorite of yours for so long now - fair's fair.

    ZDNet Bandwidth for Gizmo = More Subs = Lower Prices.
    It could happen very quickly.
    Stephen Wheeler
  • Or...

    ...we could discuss the hands-down best SIP User Agent softphone on the planet: Xten's eyeBeam.
    • Eyebeam is nice ... but

      if you browse the user forums for VOIP's that use Eyebeam's
      softphone (Ineen, Yak4Free, etc.) you will see a lot of people
      complaining about crashing software. I have used it many times
      and it has crashed on me almost every time I have it loaded for
      more than a few hours. Also, the quality of the sound is often
      severely degraded if you start sending video. I do like the fact
      that Eyebeam has video as an option, which is missing on
      Gizmo, but I'll stick with iChat for Mac to Mac video conferencing
      and only use Eyebeam when I have someone that wants to vid-
      chat PC to Mac. For voice only, Gizmo is very stable and I think
      I'll probably use it more often.
  • Skype is not SIP

    as far as I know (and I am a Skype user), Skype uses a proprietary protocol. Gizmo on the other hand uses SIP, which is an open protocol well defined in RFCs. For me this is the most important thing, since I will have compatibility with everything thats coming up, using Sip - not the last "Asterisk"!

    So I think, You can?t really compare them - or maybe You could say for the amateur it doesn?t matter which to use, but for the pro its definitely Gizmo.
    • SIP vs. PP

      what is the difference?
      if you would please assist me.
      i have been trying to use skype while in the Bahamas through a wireless satalite
      connection but i cannot transmitt voice well. however, i can recieve it with good
      clarity!? would it make any difference with Gizmo?
      also, please consider this...i called some friends here in the US and the service
      works fine. but when i called a friends in the Bahamas service was not good. i
      could here them well but they said my voice was in and out!?
      do you have any suggestions?
      james Knox
  • Gizmo Missing something?

    I think Gizmo has missed a trick here. One thing that both Gizmo and Skype lack that other like Pulver Communicator has is access to other instant messaging services. One of the barriers to migration is the ability to stay in contact with your business and/or personal contacts. Having a SIP client with IM in one package hits it right on the nail. So far I only see Pulver Communicator in this space, but not as polished an application as Gizmo.

    To aid migration from Skype to Gizmo, SIPPhone should consider adding a Skpe bridge so that you can managed your Skype contact from one client.

    They seem to be gettig there, but have a way to go.
    • Phonegain

      Well Gizmo was created after

      And I expect by the same people . Thus I expect such functionality will eventually be part of the gizmo project.
    • Skype is CLOSED - They don't allow "bridges"

      You are missing the most important point.

      Skype is closed. Skype's business model is based on being
      closed. Their aim is to dominate the VoIP P2P space by
      controling the entry point to their P2P network. They do not
      want anybody else to be able to offer bridges into their network.
      That's the whole point of why they are closed.

      Think of Skype as the wannabe-Microsoft of VoIP. That's what
      they aim for, that's why they locked down their system.

      Now imagine a world in which the plain old telephone system is
      replaced by a VoIP system controlled by a single omnipotent
      player such as Skype, who strongarms his proprietary protocol
      into all the devices available on the market. Not because it is any
      better than open protocols (H.323, IAX, MGCP and SIP) but
      simply because "everybody else use them, so I will, too".

      If you think that the old telephony monopolies of yesterday were
      a bad thing, you ain't seen nothing yet. It will seem like paradise
      compared to a global VoIP monopoly.

      So, don't support Skype in their quest to become the next
      Microsoft. Don't use them. Use Gizmo or FWD, or whatever else,
      but don't use Skype.
      • correct me if I am wrong here but Isn't Skype Kazzaa

        The infamous p2p network stepchild. They are in heavy court battles from what I understand with RIAA and Violating the orders of the court. Here is my question how are they going to be the M$ of the Voip from jail?
        • They won't do jail time.

          Just like everyone else, they will either get a slap on the wrist or
          pay a fine then change their business model to get in line with the
          RIAA. And now that eBay owns them, you know that nobody is
          going to jail. You got to admit, they did a great job reinventing
          themselves and then made a nice chuck of change.
  • And now, how do they compare?

    It's been a month since you wrote Skype vs Gizmo. Which stands up
    over time?

    Far more important than UI is the sound quality. Without that
    there's no point. In my experience Skype sound is variable.
    Sometimes starts well then degrades. I'm not so sure the problem
    is in the software. Could be in the nature of the net itself.
    Morley Chalmers
    • Re: degrading sound quality on Skype

      the reason why the sound quality on Skype degrades over time is
      not due to the "nature of the net", but due to the fact that Skype
      hijack their users' PCs to route calls. Over time resources provided
      by your PC to other Skype users for their calls will degrade the
      performance to the point where your own call is more and more
      adversely affected.
  • Skype has big problems...Does Gizmo ?

    What's critical:

    1. For better, hopefully, Skype text chats, and, we are told, Skype audio chats too, are encrypted for privacy.

    Is this also true of Gizmo ?

    2. Since day one, Skype also nearly crashes and slows other processing to a dead standstill when Skype launches, and when sending or receiving Skype text chats, and I believe Skype audio as well.

    When the transfer is completed, Skype allows the PC system to come back to full speed.

    Many months of asking Skype HQ about this "feature" and zero response from them.

    Does Gizmo also offer this "feature" ??

    • that's because Skype HIJACKS your PC

      The Skype "feature" you describe is because Skype don't have a
      network on their own - instead, they hijack their users' PC
      resources (to the maximum possible) in order to route calls.

      The better your internet connection and the faster your machine,
      the more Skype will hijack your bandwidth and CPU.

      SIP based systems don't work this way - SIP clients only use
      those resources needed for their own call (or calls if you have a
      SIP client that does multiple calls at once, ie conferencing).
  • You can use *any* SIP phone with Gizmo/

    There is nothing that stops you from using Xten's SIP client, or any
    other SIP client or SIP device with, the network
    behind the Gizmo project.

    This is one of the reasons why services based on open protocols
    are always preferable to Skype, never mind the eye candy.
  • eh? skype just works

    Who cares about gizmos "gimmicks"?
    The whole point of voip is that it is cheaper and skype is cheaper, and it just works unlike gizmo. For me Gizmo just crashes my ADSL router - NO other program has done this. I can't be bothered figuring out why, back to skype, Bye.
    • Skype just works

      I was in india for few days and I got the local ADSL connection 64K upload and 256K download.

      With my SIP phone (service from sunrocket). Upstream voice quality was so bad that. I had to hangup SIP call as they could not even make out what was I saying.

      Same connection Skype just rocked, crystal clear. In fact I made skype out call when I was on road over 40kbps modem and it had acceptable quality.

      So can Gizmo do that ?