In our review of the iPhone 4, we noted that the FaceTime app worked fairly well, on a par with netbooks’ webcams, but Apple has limited its use to iPhone 4’s connected to a Wi-Fi network. But what if there were a way to jury-rig it so that we could use FaceTime via 3G?
We found the answer in one of the iPhone 4’s main competitors, the HTC Evo 4G. By using the Evo 4G’s Hotspot feature, we connected one iPhone to it via Wi-Fi, tricking the iPhone into thinking it was using a broadband connection rather than 3G. To cut down on variables, the second iPhone was connected to a real Wi-Fi hotspot.
So, how’d it do?
In summary: Not well. Steve Jobs was right to limit FaceTime to Wi-Fi connections. Audio came through only in patches, and video was like a slideshow at best. We somewhat expected this – we had the same experience when using Fring and Qik over 3G. So for now, limit your smart phone video chats to Wi-Fi.