During the last week I have been testing Verbs chat app for iPhone. I am a heavy user of chat on my laptop but not so often on my iPhone (mainly due to battery drain issues with chat programs). But Verbs was worth trying.
Let's start from the beginning. Setting up Verbs is very easy. You can select from the available account types: Google Talk, AIM, MobileMe and Facebook. Verbs does not support yet MSN or Yahoo, but it might come in the future.
Once you have set up your accounts, you will get into the Accounts screen. From here you can check your online contacts by account or all accounts one list. If you press in the blue arrow, you will get into a new Info window where you set up individual account details: online status (Available or Away), account details, and from the lower toolbar, delete account, set your status text or add a contact.
Also from the Accounts window, you can also set up the file sharing mechanism. You can either use CloupApp or Droplr services to send files. Actually, the file will be uploaded to the server and your contact will get a link to access it. It is a very clever and fast solution compare with traditional chat file sharing.
The buddy list is quite nice, with the contact status, name and picture. You can use the swipe gesture to set accontact as favorite, delete it or see contact information. When you set up contacts as favorites, you can then press the small star on the upper right corner, and only your favorite contacts will show. This is useful when you have quite many contacts, but you want to filter them. To chat with a contact, just tap on it and a new chat window will open.
Chat window is really nice. It mimics the build in messaging application so it is really easy to use. You can send pictures to contacts by pressing the camera button, like when you send multimedia messages in the messaging app.
As you open chat windows, you will get an indicator on the top right corner with the number of chat windows opened. Just tap on it and you will get a screen to switch between chats. It works just like Safari windows: slide left or right, tap on one to open, or tap on the red x to close it. Also in this window, you have a send button on the top right corner. Tap there to email the conversation.
The app itself is really easy and intuitive to use. There are some basic in-app settings to set sound alerts, show buddy status and compress uploads for faster transfer. From here you can access also the screen to buy the Pro version. If you pay 3.99€ more you get push notifications keeping your accounts logged up to 7 days and routing all your accounts through a single connection to save battery. I do not use push notifications but I would like to have the second feature, regarding connections. But to pay 3.99€ for that is a little bit too much.
Besides the in-app settings, there are other settings that you can access from the iPhone Settings application. There you can setup other options that you might not need to change so often. However, I find this a little bit inconsistent. I would like all settings to be in one place in order to avoid confusion. It took me a while to find out that there were these other settings.
Here it is what I like and dislike:
- Simple and fast
- Chat screen like the iPhone messaging app
- Able to use CloudApp and Drobox to share files
- Nice design
- Universal app supports both iPhone and iPad
And what I don't like or I'd like to see improved:
- Bubble style in chat window is different than the iPhone messaging app
- No support for MSN and Yahoo from the start
- Having to pay extra to have all accounts through a single network connection
As a summary, Verbs is really well design, fast and with a clean interface. And supports both iPhone and iPad. And you get all that for just 0,79€ (0,99€) is a bargain. So if you are already convinced, head to the App store and buy the app here.