If you have access to a high-quality video chat tool, in-person meetings may become obsolete. There is still a chance of contracting COVID, and there are additional reasons to avoid being in close quarters with people you need to communicate with.
With the use of video chat software, you may feel like you’re there even if you can’t physically be there. With today’s advanced communication technologies, you need not even be in the same time zone. You can stay in touch with the people that matter to you without ever leaving your house thanks to video chat apps.
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But how can you know which service is right for you?
There is a plethora of options, making it challenging to select the best software. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the top video apps to help you narrow down your options and pick the one that’s ideal for you.
If you’re looking for a top-tier video chat program, go no further than Zoom Meeting, which is available for both desktop and mobile use and is currently seeing a surge in popularity.
There are both free and paid versions of Zoom. The free plan allows for conferences with up to a hundred people, but conferences with three or more people on the line are timed out after 40 minutes. If you don’t want to save the program to your computer, you can use it right in your browser window.
As an alternative to Zoom, you may use Skype. As an added bonus, not only is it user-friendly, but it’s also compatible with other systems and free to set up. It also works with texting and real-time translation, and you can make cheap calls to landlines and cell phones.
The video calling and messaging software Google Duo is now standard on most Android devices and serves as Google’s equivalent to Apple’s FaceTime. It’s as straightforward as FaceTime and has a convenient button for making calls to other Google Home gadgets.
Both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are available to you as a solution from Facebook. In the first few months of 2018, the number of people using the video calling functions of both applications increased from 8 to 50. The only thing you need to join WhatsApp is a phone number, while Facebook’s Messenger will demand that you log in with an account.
Discord is a great choice for gamers because it has excellent mobile and desktop applications. Discord’s Go Live feature, which allows users to stream games to a small audience, has had its user cap raised from 10 to 50 users.
Teams are the ideal option if you have a large team or require a video chat service that is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office. Zoom’s free plan allows for calls with up to 100 participants, and the subscription plans allow for calls with up to 300 participants and no time constraints. The best part is that one of the Teams’ premium plans is probably already included in your Office 365 subscription at no extra cost.
Discover which video chat programs stand out by reading this in-depth guide to the top programs available.
The top 5 video calling programs available for download right now
After the pandemic, Zoom became the go-to video chat tool for many individuals and organizations, and for good reason. Zoom’s global success can be attributed to the breadth of its feature set and the variety of platforms on which it runs. If you’re looking for a web client, a mobile app, or a desktop app, Zoom has you covered.
Zoom’s free version includes all of the same features as the paid version, including screen sharing, encryption, and real-time annotations. However, free users are limited to a 40-minute meeting time limit if more than three people are present, but there are no time limits for simple one-on-one chats. The Pro plan costs $15 per month and allows for unrestricted access for up to 100 users, while the Business plan costs significantly more but allows for even more users.
Skype has been around for a long time, and despite its age, it still provides a full suite of functionality for video calls of up to 50 people. It’s also accessible on pretty much any gadget you could need, and it doesn’t cost a dime to use.
In addition, Skype is well-known for its worldwide calling and texting capabilities, as well as its compatibility with landlines and basic cell phones. Though it does cost money, this service is well worth it for those who have loved ones living in different countries.
Skype has several capabilities in common with other messaging apps, such as the ability to share your screen, transcribe your conversations in real-time, and even translate spoken words as they are spoken during a conversation.
Google’s duo Android has been lacking a native video calling app compared to Apple’s FaceTime. Instead, they had to download a third-party app from the Play Store and cross their fingers that their pals would join.
Duo, a video chat app that works seamlessly within Android’s built-in phone app, was developed to solve this issue. Moreover, Duo supports a plethora of entertaining features, such as the capacity to record and send video messages that allow you to communicate with friends and family despite their absence.
With Duo, you can stay in touch with your iOS-using pals without shelling out for an Apple gadget only to use FaceTime. They really don’t have an excuse to not use it as it has the same restriction of 32 people as Facetime.
Discord is well-known in the gaming community as a fantastic tool for chatting with other players via text, but did you know it also facilitates video calls? Because of the built-in streaming functionality, it’s also a fun way to play games with friends, as one person can share their screen with the rest of the group.
Tom’s Guide employees performed this numerous times during COVID lockdowns, with one person sharing their PC’s display so that the rest of us could play Quiplash via phone. Good news: Discord has temporarily increased the number of people who can watch live streams using its Go Live feature from 10 to 50.
Streaming quality is limited to 720p/30 fps on the free tier, but can be increased to 1080p/60 fps by paying the monthly fee for Nitro.
Naturally, FaceTime would rank well among the top video chatting apps. Despite the fact that Apple’s software didn’t invent video chatting, it was the first to make it widely available on mobile devices.
Today, FaceTime comes preinstalled on all Apple devices and supports a lot of entertaining and helpful features, such as the ability to have up to 32 people in a single conversation and the use of emojis (including adorable Animojis, Memojis, and stickers). In addition to video calls, FaceTime now enables voice calls with FaceTime Audio, which can be routed over the internet or Wi-Fi whenever convenient and results in far superior call quality compared to that of your cellular provider’s voice network.
The only real drawback to using FaceTime is that it can only be fully appreciated on Apple devices like iPhones and Macs. While those using Android and Windows can participate in conferences through a web browser, they cannot host them. Even so, it’s an improvement over the previous situation, where we couldn’t get in at all.
In contrast to other video chat options, you probably already have a Facebook Messenger account. If you have a Facebook account and the Facebook Messenger program on your mobile device or computer, you may immediately begin a video chat session with any of your Facebook friends. Those who have previously used Facebook but no longer have access to the service can still use Messenger.
To begin a video call with a specific person or a chat group, just hit the tiny camera icon in the top right corner of the screen. Facebook Messenger, like Skype, allows for up to 50 participants in a single video call, which is a significant increase over the 32 users Apple’s FaceTime and Google Duo allow for.
Facebook Messenger’s other features, such as texting, sending stickers, and more, are all accessible during video calls.
Because of its ease of use (joining with just your phone number) and widespread adoption by your social circle, WhatsApp has quickly become one of the most popular messaging alternatives on smartphones today.
WhatsApp’s video calling functionality hasn’t exactly been state-of-the-art in the past. As a result of incorporating the new Rooms function into Facebook Messenger, however, the maximum number of participants was increased to 50.
In the same way that WhatsApp chats are encrypted end-to-end, so are WhatsApp video calls. So, your words will remain private and safe from any prying ears.
Video calling was formerly restricted to mobile devices, but this is no longer the case. The desktop app for WhatsApp now supports both videos calling to and from your computer. There is no functional difference between a desktop computer and a mobile device.
Microsoft Teams‘ primary market may be corporations and other corporate entities, but even so, it has something worthwhile to supply. Particularly if you’re ever going to be getting together in large numbers. There’s plenty of room for even the largest family get-togethers thanks to the free tier’s cap of 100 participants each call.
The professional tools included in Microsoft Teams may make it preferable to some users over the Skype service. Features developed by Teams’ own AI include the ability to share your screen, blur your background, and reduce background noise. If you ever find yourself needing Workplace functionality outside of the office, you can be assured that it is integrated with Office and is included in any Office 365 plan.
Even though Teams has a bad record for being disorganized, the top pro players are the ones who usually end up hurting the most. However, this is not something you need to worry about if you want to use Teams primarily as a video chat tool.
How to choose the right software for your needs in the world of video chatting
There’s no need to feel constrained in your search for the ideal video chat program because they all provide free versions. Creating a new account and installing the software are the most hazardous steps you may have to take.
However, if you’re wondering how to get going, it’s vital to evaluate just what it is you hope to accomplish with this software. Duo, FaceTime, or one of Facebook’s other options will do if all you want to do is have a private conversation on your phone.
If your group of friends uses many devices to communicate (smartphones, tablets, desktops, etc.) or your needs are more businesslike or collaborative, you may want to consider Teams, Zoom, Skype, or Discord. These apps are cross-platform and although some of them have premium versions, you probably won’t need to upgrade. Particularly if your group size is manageable or your planned conversation duration is brief.
In many cases, the free versions are already rather feature-rich, albeit the pricier levels will include finer additions. You’ll have access to all the fundamentals needed to carry on meaningful conversations with other people.
Like most people, you’ll probably settle for using the same video chat service that your friends and family already like. But if you’re in the mood for something else, one of the alternatives here should do the trick.