Paid SIP Clients: More SIP For Your Dollar

In December 2012 we introduced a few free mobile SIP clients and gave our mini-reviews of each. Due to the popularity of these clients we thought we would follow up with some mini-reviews of paid SIP clients. As before this is not meant to be a be-all/end-all article but rather a tool to help you decide which option would be best based on our experience.

For those looking for software for their mobile phones that offer more than just the basic features there are some options available. Pricing varies from application to application and so does the included features and support. We have chosen three vendors and three mobile softphones for your inspection. These opinions are based on our experience as well as our customer’s experiences.

NOTE: These mini-reviews are based on the purchased versions only. We did not purchase any extra options for these softphones.
NOTE: We do not support the call forwarding or call transfer features on this softphone. Forwarding can be done on your Callcentric account. 

  Bria Acrobits Softphone Groundwire

Developer

Counterpath

Acrobits

Acrobits

Platform

apple-logo android-logo

apple-logo android-logo

apple-logo android-logo

Cost

$7.99-$12.99

 $6.56

$9.49

Version
*as of 3/2013

2.3.4 Build 14905

5.3.2 build 1F56D

2.4.8 build 1F568

Video

yes
*Paid add-on

yes

yes

Extra features

Push server support, ubiquitous configuration options and theming.

Premium features such af G729 and Presence options available at extra cost.

Custom dial plans, push server support, theming.

Premium features such as G729 and NAT bridge available at extra cost.

Custom dial plans,  Push server support, theming and more.

Premium features such as G729 and NAT bridge available at extra cost.

*Prices are current as of 03/2013.

As before, these mini reviews/evaluations are meant to provide a snapshot view of the current release of each softphone. In this article we will follow our standard review pattern and provide an overall rating for each softphone.:

Introduction: General description
Appearance: Layout and visual features and delivery method
Features: Extra non visual features
Setup: Configuration process
Performance: Call quality, stability and usability
Conclusion: General opinion on all points

We will provide each device with it’s own mini review with only the main points included.

Let’s begin.

Bria

bria

Bria is Counterpath’s answer to your mobile calling needs. The softphone is available for both Android and the iOS. When you purchase Bria for mobile devices you will receive a stable feature rich mobile softphone that makes using your phone to save more money even simpler.

APPEARANCE

Bria for mobile devices comes with a yellow and black theme by default, however this is customizable in your preferences.The dialer is simple with easy status indication at the top and  access to some of the more important sections (phone, contacts, history and settings) available on the bottom. The settings menu is simple to navigate and is categorized according to Accounts, Preferences, Advanced Settings, etc. Users will not be lost and should be able to find exactly what they are looking for rather easily.

FEATURES

When paying for a softphone you want to be sure that you get some extra features for your dollar. Bria delivers in most respects. For example, you may configure up to 16 Callcentric SIP accounts if you needed. The ability to run in the background, customize your theme and use contact images are made available easily in your Preferences. We do not support the call forwarding or call transfer features on this softphone. However forwarding can be done on your Callcentric account. Additionally your Advanced Settings provide you with VPN, QoS and various extra SIP and RTP options that could prove to be useful for some.

SETUP

Configuration is simple enough. Even if you haven’t used a softphone before, Bria makes it easy to add a Callcentric account using the built in wizard. All you need is your 1777 username, and extension if you are using an extension, and your password.

Beyond this basic information you may try the following options:

Current Strategy

Default Network Traversal Server Managed

Codecs: Wifi and Mobile

G711u On
G729a
*If you purchased it
On
G711a On

PERFORMANCE

Bria delivers excellent performance for a softphone. Registration is stable on both Wifi and At&t 4G. Call quality was very good and the softphone did not crash. Registration was also stable and we did not notice any time-outs or dropped registrations due to the software. We were not able to test video calling as we did not purchase the video codec.

CONCLUSION

Counterpath has made their name on the desktop and have extended this to the mobile sphere. How would you improve this softphone? Well that’s very subjective; however for us including video calling, with non-h264 codecs, at no extra cost would be a good step. If you need a stable softphone for your audio calling then Bria for your mobile phone should definitely fit the bill.

Visual Rating
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Unique appearance. Clean and unimposing.
Featureswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Packed full of features and options. Minus one-star for extra price of video codecs. Plus one star for conference calling.
Setupwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If configuration were simpler you wouldn’t need to use it.
Performancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Excellent performance for audio calling.
Pricingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A bit pricey for what you get. Video should be included.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If you’re looking for basic features and stability in a nice package then Bria may be for you.

Acrobits

acrobits

Acrobits made a name for themselves by being one of the first companies to deliver a full featured SIP client for Android and iPhone. Users have come to appreciate the stability and feature rich options of Acrobit’s softphones and can always look forward to continuous improvements.

Acrobits Softphone is the standard version of Acrobit’s offerings. It aims to deliver stable calling in an easy to use package.

 

APPEARANCE

By default the Acrobits Softphone comes with Acrobit’s signature theme/style. The dialer buttons are semi transparent and rest on a green background. WHile the interface does have a clean look, aesthetically we feel that there is something to be desired. The theme does necessarily fit into the iOS or Android environment; however it does distinguish itself and stand on it’s own without distracting the user. Keep in mind that the theme is customizable to a certain degree. The settings are easily accessible and can be navigated effortlessly. All in all the presentation serves it’s function.

FEATURES

Right out of the gate the Acrobits Softphone provides the user with many features. Most usable is the push notification feature, which allows the Acrobits servers to maintain your registrations. The ability to read and receive SMS sent through SIP is a big plus. Additionally video calling is stable enough when used properly. Providing video out of the gate is a big plus for Acrobits and allows the end user to immediately experience the benefits of SIP calling above and beyond the basic audio calling. The softphone also features some extra features such as number re-writing/dial plans, call recording as well as the ability to browse your calling history from another computer/phone. We must say that the lack of call conferencing/3-way calling is disappointing.

SETUP

Similar to Bria, the softphone makes configuration simple enough. You can easily setup your Callcentric account using the built in wizard. All you need is your 1777 username, and extension (if you are using an extension), and your password.

Beyond this basic information the Acrobits Softphone honestly doesn’t need any further configuration. Your should be able to start making and receiving calls as soon as you save your Callcentric credentials.

PERFORMANCE

“Stable and easy to use”. These are the words you would use to describe the Acrobits Softphone. Whether you’re video calling or voice calling you should have excellent performance, as long as your network allows it. Acrobits Softphone delivers the stability and performance you pay for.

CONCLUSION

Acrobits has built their business selling softphones and solutions for other developers. Users looking for a stable, supported and updated softphone will be happy to have spent their dollars on this Softphone. If you are rather picky about style you may not be 100% satisfied. So If making calling and receiving calls is your thing then the Acrobits Softphone is an excellent choice.

Visual Rating
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Not exactly the best looking but it gets the job done.
Featureswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Enough features to keep you happy. Missing sMissing some key features.
Setupwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
How simple can you get? All you need is your Callcentric username and password and you’re ready to make calls.
Performancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Excellent performance for audio and video calling.
Pricingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A bit pricey but you won't be disappointed.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
For what you pay you get excellent features, performance and support.

Groundwire

groundwire

If you’ve used the Acrobits Softphone then you’ve used Groundwire. Acrobits touts Groundwire as the softphone for business users. With added features such as 3-way calling and call transfer, Groundwire looks to fit your office phone in your mobile phone.

 

APPEARANCE

If you’ve seen the Acrobits softphone then you’ve seen Groundire. The main difference is the initial gray on gray motif, compared to the transparent gray on green. The color scheme works well enough to give the softphone a more serious and professional look. Everything is easily accessible from the main screen of the phone. Well designed menus and navigation makes the softphone easy to use while not being distracting.

FEATURES

Groundwire attempts to one-up the Acrobits Softphone by introducing some features which are not included in the lesser priced version. Namely conference calling and call transfer. Unfortunately for Callcentric users the call transfer option will not work, as we do not support the method Acrobits uses. Unfortunately, there is no way around this short of using an IP PBX to handle the transferred call. Call conferencing works wonderfully however. Call recording is also easily available from your calls on demand or automatically. Definitely a plus for those multi-million dollars business deals.

SETUP

Just as with Bria and Acrobits Softphone configuration is a matter of a few taps. Again all you need is your 1777 username, extension (if you are using an extension), and your password. That’s pretty much all there is to say about setup. Everything you need is automatically configured for you.​

PERFORMANCE

Video calling, call conferencing and audio calls are available, usable and stable with Groundwire. Features such as SRTP, Call transfer and are not usable with Callcentric as they are not supported. In short, if you need conferencing then you would choose Groundwire of the standard Acrobits Softphone.

CONCLUSION

Acrobits attempted to differentiate their Groundwire product and tailor it to business users. Unfortunately some of the more touted features are not usable with Callcentric. Namely SRTP and call transfer. However if you desire call conferencing and want a stable, developer supported and up to date softphone Groundwire will suit your needs.

Visual Rating
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Nothing exciting. It’s all business with Groundwire.
Featureswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Many features available to you. Some which don’t work with Callcentric.
Setupwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
As easy as apple pie. If that makes any sense. Simply put it’s easy to get started using this softphone.
Performancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If you spend extra on Groundwire keep in mid that your biggest plus will be conference calling. Soome of the business features do not work with Callcentric
Pricingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Not a bad price point at all. Keep in mind some premium features do nto work with Callcentric
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If you spend extra on Groundwire keep in mind that your biggest plus will be conference calling. Some of the business features do not work with Callcentric.