Last updated on March 11th, 2019 at 11:30 am
Not too long ago, I wrote an article here on Wise Small Business about Grasshopper’s VoIP service.
If you haven’t checked it out, you can do that here.
Well, I figured, what better way to follow up on that article than with one about the latest and greatest in the video conference world?
Today, we are going to be taking a look at our top 3 picks for video conferencing software platforms. The 3 companies that we are going to be reviewing are Join.me.
GoToMeeting and Zoom. We have taken all the guesswork out of it for you and compare their pricing, customer service, and overall customer satisfaction.
If you’re ready, let’s dive in!
Our Top Pick For Best Video Conference Software for Small
With the ability to join video conferences from an internet browser and equipped with features like screen sharing and remote access.
You simply cannot go wrong with Join.Me. Did I mention that the price is the best you’re going to find for the quality you’ll receive?
In addition to all of the common features listed below, it comes with a plethora of other things such as third-party integration.
Top Video Conference Software Prices[table “121” not found /]
Here’s The Reason Why We Recommend Join.Me As The Best Video Conference Software for Small Businesses
- Do all participants in a video conference have to install the software or is it web-based?
- Does the person hosting the video conference have a fully equipped and user-friendly dashboard from which to control the call?
- Is the call quality good, or is it bad?
Okay, so before we look at how each of these services did in these three areas, it may be helpful to explain why we chose these three criteria by which to rate them.
The first one is a biggie for a lot of people. This one issue will instantly turn many people away, even before they have gotten to try out the service. This puts major restrictions on conferences with your co-workers and employees.
But worst of all, it puts up a major roadblock for inviting potential clients to join your conference. It simply looks and feels unprofessional in this way and that’s not even to mention certain compatibility issues that can arise based on your client’s device.
The second criteria is of most importance to anyone hosting the video conference. The back-end or “dashboard” should be fully equipped with tools to help the conference run smoothly.
It should also be user-friendly and not too confusing to a new business owner feeling his way around a new piece of software. Ideally, the dashboard will be equipped with a robust set of tools.
Tools, such as the ability to mute participants, share their screen or allow participants to take control of their mouse or keyboard and even add security to the conference call.
Lastly, the service should provide nothing less than excellent call quality. Video quality should be crisp, clear and free of lag. Audio should be free of low latency issues and ideally, it will have the option to adjust volume settings for those who may need it.
Believe it or not, there are some services on the market that only allow this to be controlled by the host for the entire room, or via the participant’s computer.
Do all participants in a video conference have to install the software or is it web-based?
If every person who needs to gain access to a video conference for work has to install their own version of the conference software, it’s probably safe to assume that they won’t.
Nowadays, we have “around-the-clock” instant access and instant communication at our fingertips. We have smart phones, tablets, and a plethora of ways to communicate online already.
A lot of what we do online is done via web-based applications that we know and for the most part, trust. Installing new software to simply do the exact same thing, just seems pointless.
Not only is this a hassle for your employees, it is highly unprofessional and may appear more than a little shady to your clients.
Zoom is the only one of the three services that we compared that requires all participants to install the Zoom software. They offer no web-based option.
Does the person hosting the video conference have a fully equipped and user-friendly dashboard from which to control the call?
As the host of a video conference, it is extremely important to have complete control over the call. A few of these features that we looked at was the ability to share screens and mouse control as well as recording and muting options.
All three of the services that we reviewed included all of these basic dashboard functions:
- Screensharing – You can screen share your entire screen or just a specific window, with other participants
- Mouse and keyboard control – Allow a participant to take over control of your mouse or keyboard remotely
- Telephone call-ins – participants have the option to call a 3rd party number to join the conference right from their phone
- Meeting Scheduler – You can schedule meeting for a future date and even schedule invites to be automatically sent out before the conference begins
- Record meetings – You can record your video conferences and save them to your hard drive
- Hosting controls – The ability to invite, mute, or kick out any participant
- Text chat – Participants can also use text chat instead of audio/video
The dashboards on all three services were very user-friendly and intuitive. Overall, Join.me did the best in this category. With Join.Me you get annotation tools in addition to all the basic functionality listed above.
What is really neat about the conference host dashboard on Join.Me is the ability to lock your meetings. This is an extra layer of security that was a delight to see added.
Basically, this gives you the ability to lock your video conference and when a participant wants to join, they will first have to “knock” on the door and receive permission from the host.
You get all these really cool features but what about third-party integration?. Well, with Join.Me you will get full integration with Outlook and Google Calendar. The other two services didn’t perform poorly in this area either, though.
Is the call quality good or is it bad?
This final criterion is probably the most important thing that we examined. If the call quality is poor, then everything doesn’t matter very much.
All three services actually performed rather well and all within range of one another. We noticed very little lag or video delay with any of the services we reviewed.
Screen sharing with Join.Me did cause a bit of video delay but overall, this was barely noticeable. GoToMeeting, on the other hand, was extremely smooth even during screen sharing or sharing control of the mouse.
The video quality that you get with GoToMeeting seems to be a bit crisper. No surprise really, as their website says that their service is in “HD”.
We scoured the net for other reviews and indeed, we found several users touting the video quality as HD. We looked at both audio as well as video quality, however. The audio on Join.Me was clear and no latency issues were noticed.
I did experience a few feedback issues when I first logged on. This quickly went away and did not happen again even when I logged out and then logged back in again.
The audio performance through the Zoom software was also clear with no noticeable drop in latency. I performed the audio test the same way I did with Join.Me and
Our Final Review
Each one of these video conference services had their own pros and cons. Zoom had the best video quality out of the three services, and honestly, the audio was just as good.
It also carries an inexpensive price tag for the features that come bundled with this software.
This is seriously a good service but it had one major downside that was a make it or break it issue. Every participant has to have the Zoom software installed on their own device.
For fellow co-workers or employees but when it comes to inviting clients to a conference, it may be a good deal harder to convince them. Not to mention that For this reason, Zoom did not make it as our top pick.
GoToMeeting also did really well in all of the categories, except for one:
You get a lot of really wonderful functionality that was missing or implemented poorly in the other two services. On the flipside of that, it implemented some of the features poorly that the others got perfect.
GoToMeeting is geared more toward more professional conferences or for hosts that want a lot more precise control over their meetings.
Sadly, one of the biggest let downs for me personally was that in order for other participants to be able to take advantage of the mouse and keyboard sharing options, they had to install software.
This is a big problem for businesses who have software or a digital product of some sort that they need their client to be able to test out in a demo.
Furthermore, only Windows users can draw or highlight things on the screen. Mac users, unfortunately, do not have access to the annotation tools.
Join.Me was our top pick and for good reason. It is packed with all the basic functionality that you would expect from a video conference software while being priced modestly.
For only $20 per month, per user, you get a rather excellent and robust service. Join.Me outperformed the other two services in all three criteria, with small trade-offs here and there.
The one thing that I disliked the most about Join.Me is the inability to mute individual participants. You either have to mute all of them or none of them. This is a minor shortcoming, however.
The annotation tools were what really made Join.Me shine for me personally. More importantly, Join.Me has very good ratings from their customers around the web.
Join.me did particularly well in all 3 of these areas and furthermore, the price tag is excellent. Join.Me is only $20 per user, per month.
It is considerably more than the other two services on our list. Having said that, though, Join.Me makes up for it in several areas in which Zoom and GoToMeeting, fall short.
In closing, Join.Me is the best option for any small business looking to step up their game and need an affordable, well-rounded video conference platform.
The WiseSmallBusiness Team is full of industry experts and successful business owners willing to contribute important business articles.