Whether you work from home or you just founded a startup, you need some sort of video conferencing tool to help keep in touch with colleagues, employees and clients. Do you know which service to use? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one scouring the interwebz for the best video conferencing software.
There are so many choices to pick from and you clearly don’t have time to try all of them. The thing is, video conferencing is a crucial element to your business – even if you’re a freelancer. Down below we’ll be reviewing Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting, TeamViewer, WebEx, Google Hangouts and other more obscure software.
1. Adobe Connect Review
Adobe Connect is one of the best online meeting services. It basically has all of the features that an entrepreneur looks for – stable, reliable and great video conferencing quality. All enveloped in a competitive price. It has a ton of customization options such as methods to record and analyse how individuals engage with your presentation or what have you. Adobe even offers a ton of tutorials to help newcomers get as much bang out of their buck as they possibly can. Yet, first-time participants won’t have that many problems with Adobe’s software mainly because it has a friendly UI. Adobe Connect pricing is fairly cheap, when compared to other online meeting services too.
It has rich multimedia features such as share animations, audio and HD video, and of course images. Instant messaging is a given due to the fact that 99 percent of meeting services offer it. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
You can record meetings. You can edit them afterwards with a special tool. This means that you can let the viewer decide what topic he wants to watch first.
Adobe Connect allows screen shares, as well as video and document shares. It comes with a free 30 day trial to see if it suits you needs or not, but most likely, you’ll stick with it. Why? Well because you can share an unlimited number of webcams during your meeting.
The thing is, because it has so many options to choose from, Adobe Connect’s initial setup may be a little bit overwhelming to some users. Even though it has a super friendly UI.
Our Adobe Connect test went like a charm – no lag issues with crystal clear image and sound.
Adobe Connect pricing is competitive and it comes with three plans.
- Adobe Connect Meetings;
- Adobe Connect Webinars;
- Adobe Connect Learning.
Adobe Connect Meetings
For an annual plan of $45 a month per host, or a monthly plan of $55 a month per host, with no commitment and the possibility to cancel anytime without repercussions you get the full pack for digital meetings. Although, this plan allows up to 25 participants and up to 9 meeting hosts per account.
Adobe Connect Webinars
Adobe Connect Webinars focuses on marketers and their needs. Prices start at $104 a month per webinar manager for 100 participants. The next in-line plan is $375 a month per webinar manager for 500 participants. For $458 a month per webinar manager you are allowed to have 1000 participants.
Adobe Connect Learning
Adobe Connect Learning is aimed more towards online classes or huge presentations – if you’re a little startup or a freelancer, I don’t recommend going with the Learning plan. The annual plan costs $292 a month and it has space for up to 200 virtual classroom participants. It also works for mobile platforms.
Adobe Connect download is available on Adobe’s official website.
2. Google Hangouts Review
Google Hangouts is a free service. While it is a great choice for your online meetings, it lacks a lot of features that a paid software has. However, it is Google-quality software, meaning that it has a simple and clean user interface. The biggest issue, and frankly the deal breaker for some, is that it allows a maximum of 10 users or devices at a time in a meeting. Google Hangouts is compatible with the majority of devices and operating systems available – Mac, Windows, Linux iOS and Android enabled; so collaborating with others is not a chore.
It has an reliable chat feature where users can share links – go figure, YouTube works like a charm and there’s a simultaneous video watching feature too. Special designed apps for Android and iPhone. The common share screen option, as well as share presentations and such.
The thing is, it really lags if you have a poor internet connection and unfortunately, whatever you type in the chat will not be saved a la Skype. Also, a nasty thing that is really worth noting is that Google captures user data in order to improve Hangouts features – ad targeting and such. Be warned, if you choose to share confidential and sensitive information, it may very well land in the hands of an advertiser.
The Google Hangout plugin is available in the extension store for browsers – it’s a quick free install. The Google Hangout app can be found on the Apple and Google Play Store. For the Google Hangouts desktop app please visit Google’s official website.
3. TeamViewer Review
TeamViewer is a personal favorite of mine because it has an easy initial setup, it’s simple to handle and it’s completely free for private use. Yet, if you are a business owner it entails a huge investment on your part. The service however will be yours for the entirety of either your lifetime, or TeamViewer’s. Furthermore, there are little to none complaints about TeamViewer.
If every participant has a stable internet connection – regardless if it’s a poor one or not, then meetings will go out as planned. Because it’s available for free for individuals, you can test TeamViewer before committing to the huge upfront investment. You can access the TeamViewer download page right here.
All of TeamViewer’s capabilities are available for free for individuals.
Up to 25 participants can access your meeting, it has VPN included and it works exceptionally well with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone, iPad and the reclusive Windows Phone – including the latest TeamViewer 10 version. Also, the TeamViewer quicksupport app is available on all mobile OSs.
TeamViewer VPN features includes firewall-friendly, and able to work with NAT. It supports all of the major protocols such as L2TP, IPsec, RemoteFX and RDP. It has an automatic performance optimization feature and a Web Connector readily available if you use it on a browser. Moreover, TeamViewer VPN works on Windows 7, Vista, XP all the MacOS 10.x versions, Linux distributions, Android and iOS.
The TeamViewer portable app is the best choice if you plan on remote controlling one of your clients PCs to fix an issue or alleviate a confusion – works great in customer support.
TeamViewer pricing starts at $749 and it’s called Business. The following Premium plan costs $1499, and the most expensive one stands at $2839 and it’s dubbed Corporate. All of them are a one time payment upfront, not yearly, with lifetime support.
4. GoToMeeting Review
GoToMeeting is a fantastic tool for smaller businesses that are looking for a cheap and easy to use online meeting tool. You can start meetings with just one click. GoToMeeting is developed by Citrix and it has a plethora of features such as full mouse and keyboard control, Voice over IP, screen sharing and all sorts of drawing tools. Yet, if you are a Mac user, then you won’t have that many features available. But the great thing is that the GoToMeeting free version is available for up to 3 participants.
It’s borderline easy to use with great quality HD video and audio, it allows unlimited online meetings, and you can share almost anything.
The GoToMeeting download page can be accessed via Citrix’s official website, which is gotomeeting.com.
GoToMeeting pricing is cheap, and affordable for small businesses. You can opt-in for a 30 day free trial to see what’s all the fuss about and afterwards you can choose between two plans. A $39 a month up to 25 participants, per organizer. The second plan costs $56 a month up to 100 participants, per organizer.
There’s even a Citrix GoToMeeting app which you can download for iOS and Android.
5. InterCall Review
InterCall Online’s video conferencing platform is dubbed Unified Meeting 5. Browsing on their website will be confusing, to say the least. Solely because they sell WebEx, Adobe Connect and Microsoft Lync. It’s a little bit pricey, but you have to ask InterCall yourself for an official pricing list because it differs from contract to contract. InterCall tailors its services to best suit your company’s needs, so just listing an average price on their website would make things more confusing than they already are.
You have the majority of features present on competing meeting service platforms such as share screen, record meetings and send them to those who couldn’t participate, share presentations and documents, easily accessible via tablets and smartphones, fully compatible with iOS and Android devices. It can be used up to 150 people, but, as I said before, it seriously depends on your plan. Yet, you have a 30 day free trial period so you can test InterCall before buying it.
6. WebEx Review
Cisco WebEx is a cheap and affordable alternative for smaller scale businesses. Their Premium 25 version is a great price to value option that offers all of the key features that you need from a meeting service platform. A WebEx meeting can be hold on multiple different OSs, and it comes quite in handy if your company is keen on using Linux for servers, Macs for video editing and Windows for every day tasks.
Join WebEx meeting with a simple click of a button.
Fancy on trying it out before committing to a plan? How about a quick WebEx test? The free basic version allows a maximum of 3 people to join.
It comes with all sorts of drawing tools and the ability to share one’s desktop and everything docs related. You can record meetings regardless of the plan you’re opting in for, but only paid versions offer HD output. Also, paid versions come with 1 gig of storage space. It syncs perfectly well with iOS and Android devices, and it offers VoIP services at no additional costs.
Unfortunately, video will display only 7 attendees at a time and you can’t expand the window interface completely. The majority of your files will be converted and displayed in PDF, which may cause some errors in the process. Video lags totally random, even if you have a stable and reliable internet connection. Its default browser is none other than the lackluster Internet Explorer – you can change it, of course.
For a free WebEx download please go to their official website.
For a maximum of 8 people, the Premium 8 WebEx price start at $24 a month per host or $19 a month for an annual subscription. Premium 25, which offers WebEx services for a maximum of 25 people starts at $49 a month per host or $39 a month for an annual subscription. Premium 100, which offers WebEx services for a maximum of 100 people starts at $89 a month per host or $69 a month for an annual subscription.
7. MegaMeeting Review
MegaMeeting doesn’t require any installation whatsoever because it’s a cloud based video conferencing software. Meetings can be accessed via an Android or iOS enabled device. We don’t have a concise pricing list because MegaMeeting doesn’t offer one. On their official website they only state that plans start as low as $39 a month. You must contact them yourself and see what contract they can offer you – depending on your needs prices may vary, of course.
Unfortunately, there isn’t that much love for Mac. This means that not all of the MegaMeeting features will be available on an Apple machine.
However, it has 24/7 customer support which is a big plus in my book. MegaMeeting can display up to 16 video windows during a meeting which is quite fantastic. There is even a text chat console where you can add notes and bullet points. It allows sharing of documents.
However, you don’t have any free trials, video is somewhat delayed and you have to download a bunch of extra plugins to make various features work. Their official website looks a little bit shady, but it’s genuine – genuinely old I mean.
Yet, with all of these video conferencing tools available I found myself using GoToMeeting and TeamViewer the most. Mostly because I found GoToMeeting super reliable and stable, while offering at the same time exceptional quality, and TeamViewer for when I need a strong VPN service.
If you have anything to add, a video conferencing tool that we might have missed, please feel free to post in the comments section below.