Soft phone software is a type of program that allows telephone calls to be made from a desktop or laptop computer. To choose the best soft phone software, you'll need to first make sure you are only considering software that is compatible with your operating system, and that your computer meets the program's system requirements. Once you've identified the software that meets your technical specifications, you can consider other features. The graphical user interface (GUI) will be different for each soft phone, and the level of customization offered can vary as well. Many soft phone users also use text messaging, instant messaging, and video chat, so you'll may want to look for a program that offers these features.
One of the most important things you need to consider before downloading or purchasing soft phone software is whether or not it is compatible with the operating system on your computer. Most programs are designed to work with the Windows® operating system. If you are using a computer that runs Macintosh® or Linux®, checking the compatibility is a must.
Soft phone software comes in a wide variety of GUIs. Some have simple pads and mimic a basic telephone dial, while others have a many buttons to provide dialing shortcuts and other features. If you want to be able to customize your settings, you'll want to choose software that allows you to change the appearance, skins, and other interfaces; these normally come without an extra charge.
A majority of soft phone software programs feature the ability to use text and instant messaging (IM). If these are features that you want or need, make sure that the software supports these capabilities. With instant messaging, you may be able to use your phone to also access popular email domains and social networking sites. Some software connects via third-party IM services, while others include instant messaging made specifically for the soft phone.
Additionally, many soft phone interfaces also include other features, such as call waiting, call forwarding, and address books. Some even allow users to access their address books from any computer that is connected to the Internet. This can be an especially useful feature to allow you to keep all of your contact information in one central location.
Video chat can be used between friends or business associates as a way to see the other person. Many soft phones offer this feature, if the computer has a webcam, but it does require a large amount of bandwidth to work effectively. If this is a feature you are interested in, make sure you have a high speed Internet connection and look for soft phone software that can use bandwidth efficiently.