For our final quick and dirty test of the 13″ MacBook Pro, myself and storage editor Allyn wanted to test how well the FaceTime for Mac application worked between and iPhone 4 and Macbook Pro. We had to update Allyn’s phone with a beta version of the iOS 4.3 mobile operating system that will officially be released on Mar. 11 so we could use FaceTime between both of our Apple devices.
There was a bit of a learning curve in testing FaceTime because we weren’t sure if we could request a FaceTime chat through a phone number or e-mail address or both. As it turned out, I was able to call Allyn from my MacBook Pro using his cell phone number and he was able to contact me through the e-mail address I used to set up my Apple account. After we figured out the initial setup, I took a couple screenshots of our conversation in portrait mode with the FaceTime interface and without the interface.
The video and audio quality was crystal clear when we both were sitting at our desks chatting, but when Allyn started to move around, I noticed some latency that caused the video to become blurry at times. However, the majority of our conversation was excellent and I was impressed with the video quality under good lighting conditions.
Here are a couple screenshots Allyn took from his iPhone 4 during our FaceTime video chat that show how well the video quality was on his end of our session. The lighting in my office didn’t seem very ideal for video chatting, but overall the quality was decent with a small amount of softness as you can see in the screenshots above. Allyn said the audio quality was very clear and he was even able to switch to a bluebooth headset during one of our conversations without leaving FaceTime or ending our video chat session.
Lastly, we wanted to test if Allyn could use FaceTime directly from his AT&T 3G wireless network, but unfortunately he received the error on in the right photo above indicating he needed to connect to a Wi-Fi network to use FaceTime. After chatting for more than 20 minutes, both Allyn and I thought FaceTime worked as advertised, but would have liked for this application to function over regular AT&T wireless versus having to connect to a home or office wireless network.
Personally, I’m a little concerned how well this application will work between people located at different parts of the country, but if they can only use it over a regular wireless network with broadband internet access, then I guess it won’t make a difference because they are not truly mobile, but tethered to an existing wireless network versus on the road or in flight using their carrier’s wireless internet capabilities. Overall, I think FaceTime is a great capability that will give users the flexibility to video chat between other Apple product owners and keep in touch with family and loved ones across great distances.