Note: All features correspond to lowest tier subscription version. Prices are accurate as of April 2018.
|Free Version||Subscription Price|
(lowest tier subscription)
|Screen Share||Whiteboard||Record Video||Cloud Storage||Maximum Group Video||HD Video||Chat||Mobile Access|
|Amazon Chime||Pay-as-you-go, $3/active host per day $15/month maximum per host||16||Audio only on Android||Read Review|
|BlueJeans||$12.49/host/month||Only for Mac users||25||Read Review|
|Cisco Spark||$12/user/month||3||Read About Cisco Spark Room Kit|
|Fuze||On request||N/A||Read About Fuze Unified Communication|
|Google Hangouts Meet||$5/user/month||25||Read Review|
|FaceTime||Free||2||iOS only||Read Review|
|Skype for Business (Migrating to Microsoft Teams)||$12.50/user/month||250||Read About Microsoft Teams|
|Skype (Consumer)||Free||25||Read Review|
|VSee||$49/health provider/month||32||Meet VSee Founder Milton Chen|
Best Small Business Platform
The affordability of Skype for Business is a big part of the reason it’s our overall winner, but small businesses bear the most risk when it comes to vendor instability, and Skype’s transition to Teams is enough of an unknown to make Zoom the safest choice here (although, in our opinion, these two platforms are pretty nearly neck and neck when it comes to small businesses).
Flexible, affordable, and scalable, Zoom is one of the fastest growing apps in the world—and there’s a strong free version that’ll let you try before you buy. Zoom has all the video conferencing essentials, and it can be linked with a wide range of third-party apps, such as Slack, Salesforce, and Dropbox.
Best Social Video Conferencing Platform
Skype was given a major facelift in the middle of 2017, and the end result is an renewed emphasis on “fun.” Bowing to peer-group pressure from the social messaging crowd, the new Skype is noticeably more text friendly and packed full of emojis, video and photo sharing, and mood colors. New features like anonymous video calling without an account and the arrival of chatbots have also helped give new life to this tried-and-true platform. Of course, Skype is still all about video calling, and it’s still free, streamlined, reliable, and intuitive to use.
Best WebRTC Platform
Some video conferencing apps use Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) around the edges of their offering, but Appear.in is WebRTC. You can set up your own personalized video chat room in minutes, without any downloads and without signing up to any accounts, and run the whole thing through your web browser’s built-in capabilities. If that isn’t enough for you, Appear.in has introduced a more feature-packed subscription service as well—but we love it for its instant, anonymous chat rooms.
Best Platform for Large Audiences
Catering for a large group video call is about more than the sheer number of people you can wedge onto a screen. The BlueJeans team has experimented more than most with catering to crowds of dozens and even hundreds, partnering with Facebook Live to allow mass interactive, live-streaming events. BlueJeans Events can host up to 15,000 live participants (though not all on video at once) and offers audience engagement and moderator tools to make it easier to handle very large groups. It’s a town hall approach to video calling that is limitless in potential.
Best Platform for Multimedia
Video conferencing is at its best when it goes beyond a set of talking heads. WebEx is as feature-packed a platform as you’ll find, and carries all the meeting extras that give video conferencing its potential. You can share not only screens, but apps, whiteboards, and files from your computer; the host can lock the main display onto a specific caller and mute others to maintain focus. You can even make multimedia slideshows for a meeting, including Flash animations…and you can chat as well.
Most Unique Design
Tango is unique among video conferencing platforms. Rather than being content with dividing the screen into Brady Bunch-type chat windows like everyone else does—and I mean everyone—Tango instead lets its callers float around the screen in weightless bubbles. The main background and controls remain muted as watermarks beneath the callers, giving the whole presentation a relaxed ambiance no other video calling app has attempted.
Best App Integration
Google Hangouts Meet
Like Skype for Business, Google Hangouts gets a home field advantage when it comes to the integration of external apps. It has the power of Google’s G Suite behind it, and is fully connected to all the Calendars, Docs, and Android apps that make it go and make using it a no-brainer. Amazon Chime should begin a similar in-house stable soon, but Microsoft and Google stand apart from the field at the moment.
Best Host Controls
Video conferencing hosts have greater control over the flow of a meeting than ever before thanks to platforms like Vidyo. A Vidyo host can not only lock the door on latecomers to a meeting in progress, but also has the power to mute the audio and/or video of any caller and to disconnect any caller from the meeting, effectively kicking them out. Hosts also have the usual controls, like being in charge of starting and ending a video recording of the call.