Best Video Chat Apps in 2020
Staying connected is now easier than it has ever been, with nearly everyone owning a mobile phone or tablet device. However, when talking to loved ones or coordinating with colleagues whilst working remotely, it can help to see people’s faces as it allows you to see their expressions and body language. In lots of cases, this can ensure better communication, as well as a more satisfying conversation.
For this reason, we’ve put together a list of the best video chat apps for you:
Zoom’s video calling app continues to remain the favourite of many organisations and family groups. Part of its appeal lies in the fact that you don’t need the app installed in order to be able to participate. You can join a call via your browser as long as you have an invitation.
Businesses find it useful as it allows easy screensharing, live annotation and is now encrypted as well. This app for video chats can also accommodate up to 100 users, but you can just as easily have a one-on-one conversation too. In fact, for the free plan, there is no time limit imposed for less than three people.
However, if there are more than three people on the call, the free tier turns the call off at the 40-minute mark. Having said that, it’s quite easy to join the call again for another 40 minutes, to carry on your conversations.
Skype & Microsoft Teams
One of the more established free video chat apps, Skype offers easy usability and handy features for video calling. The app, now owned by Microsoft, allows up to 50 people in a call and is completely free to use. You can also use it directly from a browser if you don’t have the app installed.
However, if you need screen sharing on mobile, live transcription and translation, or other such features that a business might need, you would need to get the paid version. This option is especially designed for work needs and is called Microsoft Teams.
A great communication tool for work, Slack is an open platform, which means it provides a chat environment that uses third-party app integration to increase its feature set. It is an excellent tool for team communication as it saves all messages and documents within the environment. However, it also allows you to make video calls too.
Since it is a platform designed for workplace communication, you will need to pay to use the video chat feature for speaking to more than one team member. However, it provides an excellent means of video communication within the environment if you wish to speak to one person at a time too.
Initially a messaging function that was part of Facebook, Messenger is now a standalone chat app that allows video calls. Whilst it only allowed one-to-one or small group calls previously, with the creation of Messenger Rooms, this has evolved. You can now use it to video-call up to 50 people at a time.
Messenger Rooms are useful as you don’t need to have the app installed, you can join from a browser too. The person creating the room can also choose whether to create a private or open room, where open rooms can be accessed using custom links.
WhatsApp is so ubiquitous that it could have been the best free video chat app if it wasn’t limited to mobile devices and with no more than eight users. It does, however, have the advantage of having its calls end-to-end encrypted and the company is also working on increasing the user limit to 50.
If WhatsApp is restricted to mobile devices only, FaceTime has an even more severe restriction of being available to Apple iOS devices only. However, it’s one of the best video-calling apps as it comes as a part of the device, meaning you don’t need to install it or sign up. If you have an iPhone, you can call other iPhone users through FaceTime as standard.
Whilst Facetime is the best app for video chats for iPhone users, Google Duo can be considered the best video-calling app for Android users – However, the one advantage it has over FaceTime is that it’s also available for iOS. You can also access it from your browser, so it’s not just limited to your mobile device.
Google Hangouts was originally a part of Google+ but became a separate chat program in 2013. Today, it offers two additional products – Google Meet and Google Chat. Meet is designed for online meetings, whilst Chat is for messaging. Meet only recently became free to use for a limited time and Hangouts is a video calling app that’s free to use for all G-Suite users.
As you can see, there are several options available for video calling. Whether you’re looking for free or paid subscriptions, or options for different devices and operating systems, the right one simply depends on why you’re using it and who you want to connect with.