Rounds is an all-in-one communication app that allows you to share photos, text, call, video chat, and more.

Rounds Group Video Chat iOS App Review 2Let me begin by saying that I wanted to love Rounds, really. It sounds wonderful: free text and calls, group chats with up to a dozen people, numerous in-call interaction activities like games and drawing and YouTube––what’s not to like? And if all of Rounds’ features worked well, it would indeed be remarkable. Alas, things rarely work exactly as they should. I had audio trouble every time I made a call; not lag, nor was it unnaturally distorted, which would lead me to think the problem stemmed from connection issues. There was an ever-present echo, so I could hear myself repeating myself throughout each call. There were several mysterious high-pitched noises that came through that no one on call could place, and the audio would cut out sporadically or suddenly get very quiet. These problems made calls pretty much impossible. I went to the FAQs to see if there was any quick fix for any of that to no avail.

Rounds Group Video Chat iOS App Review 3Aside from the audio issues (specifically in video chat, not in voice-only calls), Rounds was just okay. You log in through Facebook, which I like, personally. Not tons of people are on Rounds, but it’s easy to see if anyone you know uses it and invite people to join. I could find no fault in its free calling or messaging service, but the allure of this app lies mostly in the features offered around video calls. When things were working passably, it was entertaining to play checkers or Tetris in the call or to doodle over other people’s faces. The YouTube feature never quite worked out for me, though. And if you go to another application while on call with Rounds, your video feed stops.

I find it difficult to recommend this application. I found it rather frustrating, though I remain hopeful for Rounds’ sake that the audio bugs were something the average user does not experience. For now, I’ll stick to Skype and FaceTime.

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