Beyond Zoom: 8 Video Conferencing Apps for Work and Home

Isn’t it fascinating that the idea of video conferencing goes way, way back before Skype, our synonym for video calling had ever existed? Already back in the 1870s when voice transmission became possible, the idea of transmitting images has taken seed in the human mind. But even before that, it had existed deep within the human imagination, as the fairy-tale “magic mirrors” that could connect people thousands of miles apart. Just imagine — these very “magic mirrors”, aka smartphones, we hold in our pockets today without giving it a second thought!

For most of us, video conferencing apps like Skype and Zoom are second nature. But with the pandemic crisis that the world has found itself in as of 2020, virtual conferencing has also become an extension of our reality. Overnight, it replaced every business meeting and a lot of socializing that would happen in person. No wonder usage of the business video conferencing app Zoom has erupted from 10 million participants in December 2019 to 300 million meeting participants in April 2020. And this digital boom isn’t restricted to Zoom. 

Today, we’ll look into a whole bunch of great video conferencing apps both for business and home that can work for you even better than Zoom. Depending on your specific needs, audience size, and budget, these video conferencing apps will make your video calls clear, professional, and super easy to set up, from wherever you’re working — or just hanging out. 

1. GoToMeeting Video Conferencing

gotomeeting screenshot virtual conferencing

Screenshot via Google Play

  • Best for business use
  • Up to 3000 participants 
  • Recording with unlimited cloud storage
  • Drawing and virtual whiteboard
  • Integrations

What is GoToMeeting?

GoToMeeting is an app for hosting online video conferences. Zoom’s closest competitor, it can technically cater to Illinois’s Edge Ice Arena audience of 3k. Just like Zoom, GoToMeeting is packed with advanced video conferencing — to such an extent,  that the difference lies in the details. For example, with GoToMeeting, you get unlimited cloud recordings, transcripts, and storage while Zoom gives you just 1GB of storage on a similar-priced plan. Another perk of GoToMeeting is the ability to use GoToWebinar Lite as an add-on for  $20/month. 

How much does GoToMeeting cost?

GoToMeeting Free gives access to very limited calling features at no cost. GoToMeeting business plans offer a free 14-day trial. After that, plans start from $16/month but demand an annual subscription.

2. ezTalks Meetings and Webinars

eztalks screenshot

Screenshot via Google Play

  • Best for business use
  • Up to 300 meetings participants and 100 webinar participants
  • Great feature/price ratio
  • 2GB cloud storage
  • Screen sharing with annotation

What is ezTalks?

ezTalks has two services: ezTalks Meetings and ezTalks Webinars and Events. Both include the most useful and popular features of video conferencing (like Zoom) and webinars (like GoToMeeting) but at a very attractive price. Conferencing can be made from web, phone apps, and phone-in, and even the free plan has mp4 local recording. Webinars can be live or pre-recorded, free or paid (with PayPal integration), instantly shared, and lots more. We would suggest ezTalks as a great option for small business videoconferencing and webinar presentations. 

How much does ezTalks cost?

ezTalks Meetings has a free starter plan for up to 2 participants. ezTalks Meetings business plans start at $10/month per host. ezTalks Webinars and Events is free for up to 25 live webinar participants and 1 presenter. ezTalks Webinars and Events business plans start at $25/month per host (not per presenter).

3. Google Duo 

google duo screenshot

Screenshot via Google Duo

  • Best for personal and lite business use 
  • Up to 12 participants 
  • Includes special features 
  • Available on all devices with a Google account

What is Google Duo?

Google Duo is a fresh video calling solution by Google with a focus on personal use (think direct competitor to Apple’s FaceTime). With a priority set on high-quality face-to-face video calls, Google Duo doesn’t offer chats like Hangouts and fancy-level video conferencing like Google Meet. A unique feature you’ve got to be aware of (to avoid embarrassing situations) when using Google Duo is “Knock-knock”. Unless you’ve got it disabled (and it’s NOT by default), Google Duo automatically turns your camera on while you’re calling, giving the person on the other end a glimpse of who’s calling before they answer the phone (basically instead of the usual rings they see your live video). We’d recommend Duo for personal and lite business use, as an iPhone-Android alternative to FaceTime.

How much does Google Duo cost?

Google duo is a free web and mobile app available for all platforms.

4. Google Meet Video Conferencing

google meet screenshot

Screenshot via Google Meet

  • Best for business use
  • Up to 250 participants
  • Integrates with G Suite 
  • Real-time captions
  • Invite instantly via Google Calendar

What is Google Meet?

Google Meet is the updated business conferencing service offered by Google in light of the looming Hangouts shutdown. Currently, Google Meet allows even non-G Suite subscribers to hold professional-level video conferencing. But since it normally comes bundled into G Suite (and asks for a subscription from the host but not attendees), having an active G Suite subscription really helps. Scheduling a call with Google Calendar or setting up a presentation with Google Slides, for example, is pretty easy. Google Meet can be used in the Chrome browser, mobile app, or as a phone-in service. New to G Suite? Learn all about G Suite pros, cons, and alternatives.

How much does Google Meet cost? 

Google announced that it’s making Google Meet free for general users since May 2020. For businesses and education, it’s available as part of G Suite, with features varying based on your monthly plan.

5. GoToWebinar

gotowebinar screenshot

Screenshot via Google Play

  • Best for webinars 
  • Up to 1000 participants
  • Online recording
  • Surveys, polls, advanced reports

While you can technically host a webinar from any videoconferencing app, GoToWebinar goes way beyond the basics. Here’s a tool that lets you prepare for the webinar ahead of time, design a branded page dedicated to your webinar, register users, accept payments, access analytics to learn about your audience’s needs, and more. In light of businesses moving to digital environments due to COVID19, this tool is especially handy for industries in education and anyone needing to instruct at a distance. 

How much does GoToWebinar cost?

GoToWebinar has three plans for webinars of different sizes. Plans start at $89 per month for 100 participants, which is more than enough for most small business and educational uses. GoToWebinar lite is available as a $20 add-on for GoToMeeting subscribers.

6. WeChat

wechat screenshot

Screenshot via Google Play

  • Best for friends and small groups
  • Up to 10 participants 
  • Mini social network
  • Multi-language translation

What is WeChat?

WeChat isn’t just a messenger and video calling app. It’s a single place for friends and coworkers to share information, statuses, videos, posts, shop apps, play games, and much more. In fact, it’s pretty much like a social network of its own, but with extended capabilities. 

In addition to personal use, small teams that don’t need a pricey “team-building” solution can simply use WeChat as their virtual lounge to chat, make calls, and post updates. However, if your team needs a minimalistic business calling app, WeChat may throw you off track and distract with its entertainment options. 

How much does WeChat cost?

WeChat is a free mobile app. It can also can be used on desktop, but you’ve got to have the mobile app downloaded to access the desktop version.

7. VooV Meeting Video Conferencing

voov screenshot

Screenshot via Google Play

  • Best for business use
  • Up to 300 participants 
  • Background blur and beauty filters
  • AI speech enhancement
  • SSL encryption

What is VooV Meeting?

Voov Meeting is a new video conferencing service that has already made a lot of impact. With unlimited meeting duration on its limited-time free plan, it didn’t forget about all the standard perks of pro-level videoconferencing such phone-in options, calendar sync, HD audio and video, screen sharing, and more. In addition, VooV is focused on providing a better experience to everyone working from home with its special AI for audio and video enhancement. If features like those are important to you and you want to try out pro video conferencing for free before you buy, go for this chance.

How much does VooV Meeting cost?

In a COVID19 relief effort, VooV is providing its Pro Edition plan for FREE as of spring-summer 2020. The Pro Edition plan has unlimited meeting duration and videoconferencing for up to 100 participants, currently free for a limited time.

8. WhatsApp Messenger 

whatsapp screenshot

Screenshot via GooglePlay

  • Best for personal or lite business use 
  • Up to 4 participants
  • Most popular messenger
  • Chat and calls (audio and video)

What is WhatsApp?

The world’s top messaging app, WhatsApp is best known for simplicity. That’s also the top reason to try it as a lite video calling tool. If all you need is a one-on-one video call with a friend, client, or teammate and don’t want to clutter your phone with any extra apps, simple may be your best option. Since WhatsApp has no web calling though, you’ll have to make all calls from your phone. All in all, we’d recommend WhatsApp as a lite video calling app for freelancers, very small teams, and folks who like to make their calls on the go.

How much does WhatsApp cost?

WhatsApp is a free mobile app that includes messaging, audio and video calls. The web version is limited to messaging.

Final word

Video conferencing technology is one of the forms human imagination has taken in its quest to be together, even when apart. It can change our lives in a truly magical way, opening the way to work from home, conduct business meetings from the living room, get on a call with someone 8000 miles away in an instant. Modern technology hands us lost of options to personalize our working environment, the way it works for us.

If you’re looking for more resources to spark the magic of your team, check out MightyCall, a VoIP business phone system with unlimited minutes, texting, team extensions, social media integrations, and mini-CRM. Explore MightyCall plans below or learn how VoIP fuels small business.

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