It might be easy to forget this today, but the primary function of a mobile phone is to allow you to make phone calls.
But while smartphones continue to leap forward in most areas, from voice-triggered assistants to super crisp displays and advanced cameras, they seem to be mired in the mud when it comes to improving voice quality.
It’s an experience most of us are all too familiar with: not being able to hear what the person on the other end is trying to say. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can try to do to improve phone call quality on your Android device.
Here are a few tips that might help you boost your phone calling experience.
Clean the microphone, earpiece and speakers
This is the first thing you should do when you notice that your call quality is weak is to check if the microphone or earpiece are being blocked by something. It could be your hand, your ear or even your hair that’s blocking the holes. So try to hold the phone in a different position.
Alternatively, maybe you have a protective case on your phone that is covering what it’s not supposed to? Or perhaps you haven’t cleared all the plastic wrap from your new phone? Make sure you do. All holes should be clear of any obstructions for an optimal call experience.
Also remember to clean the earpiece and speakers. The best way to do this is with a super soft bristle toothbrush. Gently brush the cavities to remove any debris that might have accumulated. Canned air, the sort used to clean keyboards, can also work well once you’ve loosened the gunk. But be careful not to hold it too close, or it could end up damaging the sensitive membranes of the speakers and microphones.
Turn on High-Quality calling
The largest carriers in the US offer some kind of high quality calling on phones sold through their networks like for example HD Voice or VoLTE.
On most Android devices, you can easily tell whether HD Voice is activated. You should see “HD Dialing” appear in the top-right corner when you’re making a phone call. Or you could go to settings and look for an option called Advanced Calling. That’s where you can turn the HD Voice on.
Some smartphones manufacturers such as Samsung and LG also include additional voice quality settings in their Settings menu. On the latest Samsung phones, you get things like Noise Reduction, while LG has something called Personalize Call Settings.
High-Quality calling options don’t usually require you to pay an extra fee. However, this might not always be the case. For example, if you’re on an older service plan, chances are, you will have to contact your carrier in order to get the option turned on for your device.
Give Wi-Fi calling a chance
Wi-Fi calling is a great alternative if you are in a location with weak cellular signal. Provided you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, of course. But keep in mind that Wi-Fi calls they tend to be a little flat and you might notice a little echo from the caller’s end. But on the bright side, they are very clear, so you’ll be able to understand each other without a problem.
How do you enable Wi-Fi calling? Well, it varies based on your manufacturer, carrier or phone model. But make sure you check the network settings, the Wi-Fi settings themselves and the phone dialer settings. You should find the feature in one of these spots clearly labeled as “Wi-Fi calls”.
Also keep in mind that you need both phone and carrier support for Wi-Fi calling to work. This is why the feature might not be available on unlocked models due to carrier restrictions.
Make calls over the Internet using apps
In case your phone doesn’t support standard Wi-Fi calling, you can use apps instead. Most of them are free to download and let you make quality voice calls over Wi-Fi, LTE or even 3G connections.
Many of these apps offer high-quality audio that’s on par with HD Voice, making it a great option for cross-carrier calls. You’ll get clear voice call quality and a bunch of other neat features like video calls and more.
Popular choices include Skype, WhatsApp or Google Duo. An app we’ve tested and liked is Yolla. We were particularly impressed by the loud and crisp sound in calls.