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Keep in touch with your family this Christmas

We all know Christmas isn’t the same when we’re away from the ones we love. Luckily, living in the 21st century means we can keep in touch 24/7, whether we’re 2 or 2,000 miles apart. This festive season, we’ve compiled a list of clever communication apps to help you stay connected with loved ones and #MakeSomeoneSmile, no matter where in the world you are.

WhatsApp vs. Viber

WhatsApp

Download WhatsApp: Android, iOS, Windows

Viber

Download Viber: Android, iOS, Windows

These two are considered staples of the messaging world, and most people tend to choose one over the other. An efficient and entirely free option for contacting friends and relatives abroad, it’s no wonder that WhatsApp has over 1 billion users while Viber is also the popular messenger app of choice for over 800 million worldwide. Both apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows, as well as the option to download to desktop.

Viber has a busy and colourful interface that’s perhaps slightly rich in stickers and fun features, whilst WhatsApp opts for a more stripped back look. With both apps boasting similar features, such as encrypted messaging, group chat functions and voice calling, it’s up to you which service you opt for. It’s always an idea to ask round your family to find out who’s using what before you get your festive group chat set up.

Voxer

Voxer

Download: Android, iOS

This voice-centric communication app takes a fun delve into the retro realms of the walkie talkie. In a world where text messaging is often our primary way of communicating, an app that encourages voice messaging is both refreshing and family-friendly. The basic version of Voxer is available for iOS and Android and is completely free, with options for affordable upgrades to PRO, as well as a business-focused service.

As well as offering the bread and butter benefits of end-to-end encrypted messages, capacity for large group chats and multimedia messages, Voxer also boasts handy voice-to-text transcription, and a fun walkie talkie mode. This quirky feature lets the user respond to voice chats in real time without even accessing the app. Voxer is a great choice for those with little ones and is bound to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Skype

Skype

Download: Android, iOS, Windows

Available across all operating systems, Skype is often the go-to video messaging app for family face time. Of course, there’s a reason behind its popularity. It’s easy to use for one, and calls to contacts across the globe are completely free. The Skype Communications Team have worked hard at making call quality as smooth and seamless as possible, and while the core of the service remains unchanged, the communications have come a long way since Skype’s launch back in 2003.

Handy for family reunions, Skype offers a group chat option which works for up to 25 people, meaning even the busiest of family Christmases can be caught on camera. For those travelling abroad at Christmas, Skype has a function for calling landline and mobile numbers, meaning you can also get in touch with relatives who don’t have the app installed.

Couple

Couple

Download: Android, iOS

This exclusive messaging app has been around since 2012, but its unique selling point has kept us interested. A social network for two, Couple is designed to keep you close when you’re kept apart from your special someone. If you’re having Christmas away from a loved one, why not download the Couple app, available for iOS and Android?

With features like shared calendars and lists, as well as a focus on user privacy, Couple lets you interact with your partner in a more personal space than other messaging apps. Whilst some might find the ‘finger kissing’ feature cringe-worthy, the interface of Couple has a sleek aesthetic you might just fall in love with.

Whether you’re a long-distance video caller or a speedy texter, there are hundreds of apps out there to help you keep in touch with friends and family this Christmas. Why not give them a try and #MakeSomeoneSmile this festive season?