Zello Walkie Talkie or Zello PTT Walkie Talkie is an app that is immensely popular and very useful. The idea is that the app brings the functionality of a conventional walkie talkie to your mobile phone. It one-ups the usability of walkie talkies by removing range restrictions. All of this is made possible by using the internet to carry conversations. Now that we have an introduction to the app, let’s get into the nitty-gritty with this review.
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Features And Usability: What Are The Biggest Strengths Of Zello?
Zello has been consistently rated amongst the best Walkie Talkie Apps available on the market. The biggest factors driving its popularity amongst users as well as reviewers are the relatively easy interface, support for Bluetooth-enabled devices, and compatibility with accessories ranging from headsets to Android Network Radios and Radio Gateways.
Function-rich as it is, the app is free to use. There are paid versions available for industrial uses, but the average user and some businesses can get by just fine with the free version. While audio communication is the most popular use for the device, it can also be used for text and images.
An important part of Zello’s success is the app’s user interface. It is simple and intuitive, making it possible for everyone to use the app. Setting it up is simple enough, as is using it. The PTT button on the screen is large and easily managed so there is no fumbling involved. Controls and options remain easy to access and clearly visible, so users can easily manage their status, channels, and conversations.
Top Notable Features For Zello
Users can enjoy communication with their contacts in private, listen to special interest/ specific audio channels, or just join a channel to communicate with several people at once.
The latter feels something like an audio-based chat room and can be pretty interesting. Parents can also employ parental controls to limit some features or access to certain channels for their children. This last feature is important because many channels are on topics that you would rather not have your children hear.
The ability to create chat rooms that are for friends/family only is also a big plus. Since the app livestreams audio, it creates a great environment for family and friends to get together. As this is a push-to-talk (PTT) app, the voice channel on your side does not have to be always open as with conventional phone calls. That adds an extra layer of privacy and comfort to ongoing conversations.
User Status Settings
One feature I especially enjoy is the ability to set user status. Unlike your average chat app where the user status is of little more value than an icon, Zello makes it actually usable. When the user status is set to “Available”, users can listen to livestream audio conversations/ channels or join in as desired. With status set to “Busy”, the app will not directly play audio and will instead save your messages under the “Recent” section. Users can access and play these messages as desired.
Setting status to “Solo” allows users to listen/talk with one contact or channel, while simultaneously muting all other conversations and channels. These muted conversations will be stored in the “Recent” section as well. If users don’t use Zello for about a week, it automatically goes into “Offline” mode and stops storing new messages and conversations. It’s a useful feature because you certainly don’t want an app you rarely use to eat up the phone’s memory.
Notable Problem Points With Zello
Since things cannot be without fault, the Zello PTT Walkie Talkie App has its share of troubles as well. One function that differentiates Zello from a conventional Walkie Talkie is that it requires users to sign up. It’s a minor annoyance for most users, but some do see it as a deviation that takes away the fun of a conventional walkie talkie.
Another limitation is that Zello is dependent on the internet. If you are in an area with poor or no network coverage, the app has no use. It is worthwhile to highlight this limitation because many users assume that the app turns the phone into a conventional walkie talkie, which can work offline as well. It doesn’t, and though Zello makes this point very clear, some users still make that mistake.
We’ve previously noted that not all channels on the Zello ecosystem are meant for kids. Although given parental controls and the fairly good moderation by Zello, parents can avoid unsuitable content for children. Do consider appropriate age ratings for channels when setting up parental controls.
Natural Disasters And Response
As a popular PTT app, many people consider Zello to be useful for communication during natural disasters. Many people use the app during hurricane season. It is indeed useful, but do keep in mind that the app will only work with the internet available. Though it will work acceptably well even with low speed like 2G internet. Should the natural disaster knock off mobile phone services, the app is not going to be much use.
So if you intend to use the app solely for emergencies, consider switching over to a conventional walkie talkie. This is one of the scenarios where it will be more reliable than the app.