Home

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

Zoom Review

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks

After conducting extensive research and analysis of video conference services in 2020, we recommend Zoom as the best overall video conference service. Zoom offers plans that fit into the budget of all businesses. It allows meetings with at least 100 participants, and includes nearly all of the features and tools businesses look for in a video conferencing system. 

Zoom

Zoom

Best Video Conference Services 2020

The Verdict

Zoom is our choice as the best overall video conferencing service because it has multiple service plans, including a free option, lets you host meetings with up to 100 people at a time, and includes a vast selection of valuable tools.

We chose Zoom from a pool of more than 30 video conference services. To learn more about our review methodology and for a comprehensive list of video conference services, visit our best picks page

 

Editor's note: Looking for a video conferencing solution? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

 

Zoom Pricing  

Zoom video conferencing offers four service plans – something for businesses of all sizes and budgets.  

Zoom has a free plan and three paid plans. The paid plans each include different features, and they're set up on a per-host basis, which means you must purchase a host license for each employee you want to host meetings. You do not need to purchase host licenses for those who are joining a meeting, but multiple host licenses give a business the ability to host multiple meetings at the same time.  

Here is a breakdown of each plan:  

Basic

  • Cost: Free
  • Minimum number of hosts: 1
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 40-minute limit on group meetings
  • Features: Unlimited meetings, HD video and voice, simultaneous screen share, desktop and application sharing, instant or scheduled meetings, local recording, Chrome and Outlook plugins, host controls, group messaging, presence indicators, keyboard and mouse controls, and whiteboarding  

Pro

  • Cost: $14.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 9
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Basic plan, plus advanced administrator meeting controls, reporting, custom personal meeting IDs, the option to let other people schedule meetings for you, and 1GB of cloud recording  

Business

  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 10
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Pro plan, plus dedicated phone support, an administrator dashboard, vanity URLs, options for on-premises deployment, managed domains, single sign-on, company branding, custom emails and cloud recording transcripts  

Enterprise 

  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Minimum number of hosts: 100
  • Max participants: 100
  • Meeting duration: 24 hours
  • Features: Everything in the Business plan, plus unlimited cloud storage, a dedicated customer success manager, executive business reviews, and discounts on webinars and Zoom Rooms 

These are some other available add-ons: 

  • Extra cloud recording storage: Starting at $40 per month
  • An H.323/SIP room connector: Starting at $49 per month
  • Zoom Rooms: Starting at $49 per room, per month
  • Join by toll-free dialing or Call Me options: Starting at $100 per month
  • Video webinars: Starting at $40 per month  

Zoom Features  

Zoom is one of the most feature-rich video conference services. Depending on the service plan, Zoom offers more than 50 video conferencing, group collaboration and security features.  

These are some of the most valuable features: 

  • Unlimited meetings: You can host as many video meetings as you want.

  • HD video: Zoom supports HD video up to 720p.

  • Active speaker view: During video conferences, the software automatically detects which person is speaking and displays their video feed.

  • Gallery view: Participants can see up to 25 video feeds at one time.

  • Simultaneous screen share: More than one participant can share their screen at one time.

  • Integrations: The software integrates with Chrome and Outlook. This allows you to schedule meetings straight from Google Calendar or Outlook.
  • Recording: Depending on your service plan, you can record meetings and either save them directly to your computer or store them in the cloud.

  • Host controls: The meeting host has total control of the video conference. They can control each participant's audio, video feed and screen-sharing capabilities. 
  • Raise hand: Participants can alert the host when they have a question, even if they are muted.

  • Group messaging: Your team can send group texts, files, screen captures and pictures to one another.

  • Presence: You can see who among your team members is available for a meeting and who is busy.

  • Reporting: Administrators can run reports to see how many meetings are taking place in their organization and details on those conferences, such as the days they take place, how many people are attending and how long they last.

  • Assign scheduler: You can assign someone else to schedule your meetings for you.

  • Cloud recording transcripts: You can receive transcripts of your meetings that are recorded in the cloud.

  • Virtual background:Zoom offers user the option of using a virtual background without a green screen.  

Other features available include whiteboarding, single sign-on, breakout rooms, SSL encryption, company branding and vanity URLs. Zoom integrates with more than 350 programs and services, including Hubspot, Slack, Zendesk, Google Drive, Marketo, DocuSign, Evernote, Atlassian Jira, Trello and Zoho CRM. 

Zoom Pros 

There is a lot to like about Zoom. One of our favorite perks is the unlimited video feeds. The flexibility to have everyone's camera on at the same time – whether you have 10, 50 or 100 people in the meeting – is a nice feature.  

Many of the other services we examined limit the number of cameras that can be on. Even though it would be hard to pay attention to 50 video feeds at once, it still makes things easier for the meeting host to be able to see everyone. With other services, the host has to decide who appears on camera and who doesn't. Without that responsibility and distraction, the host can focus on more pressing items during the meeting.  

We were also impressed with Zoom's range of features, in addition to the standard video conference fare. One unique feature is the breakout rooms, which gives you the option to split your video conference into separate sessions for discussion and projects. (Zoom supports up to 50 breakout rooms.) Another feature that not all services offer is the simultaneous screen share, where multiple meeting participants can share their screens at the same time. 

Zoom's ease of use is also a positive. Zoom's software makes it simple to schedule, host, join and participate in video conferences. You can host and join meetings on a desktop or mobile app, and there are available apps for Mac and PC, as well as for Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Zoom also works with room systems.  

Once you launch the app, you have two options: join a meeting or sign in. If you are attending a meeting (but not hosting), you click on the Join a Meeting link. If you are hosting a meeting, you need to sign in using an email address and password, a Gmail or Facebook account, or a single sign-on. Hosts then have the option to start an instant meeting or schedule a meeting for a later date or time.  

You can schedule meetings from the desktop or mobile app, from the Zoom web portal, or via Chrome or Outlook extensions. When scheduling a meeting, you set the date and time, then send a web link to participants. To join the meeting, all the host and meeting participants need to do is click on the link.  

During a meeting, the host and participants can perform several actions using links at the bottom of the screen. These include inviting more people to the meeting, starting a group or private chat, sharing their screen, recording the meeting, muting or unmuting audio, turning video feeds on or off, and leaving or ending the meeting.  

One aspect of the service we like is the active speaker feature. The video feed automatically switches to whoever is talking. This ensures that everyone attending the meeting can see who is talking at all times. There are also several options for seeing smaller video feeds of everyone else who is attending the online meeting.  

If anyone is unable to attend via video feed, they can call into the meeting from any phone. While they can't see what is happening, they can listen in and contribute to the discussion.  

Zoom Cons  

Honestly, there wasn't much we didn't like about Zoom. One potential negative is the minimum number of hosts required for the Business and Enterprise plans. It may mean that features unique those plans are unavailable to smaller businesses. That being said, the Free and Pro plans offer a wealth of features that provide small businesses with top-notch service.  

Another minor negative is that Zoom isn't an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and has a B- rating. However, the company has had only 12 complaints closed against it in the past three years as of April 2020.  

Zoom Customer Support  

We were extremely impressed with the customer service we received from Zoom. To test the quality of support, we contacted the company over the phone, posing as a small business owner interested in Zoom.  

Our call was answered immediately by a very friendly representative who said she could answer any questions we had. She gave detailed answers and never once tried to pressure us into signing up for the service.  

During our call, we discussed a number of topics, including participant and video feed limits,  costs, annual contracts and conference room capabilities. We were very pleased with the call and the overall customer service.  

Be aware that the service plan you select determines the type of support you receive. Basic and Pro plan users receive online customer service, Business plan users have dedicated phone support available to them, and Enterprise customers have a dedicated customer success manager assigned to them.  

In addition to the personal assistance available, Zoom's website has a number of valuable training materials, including user guides and help videos. 

Ready to choose a video conference service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage: 

Zoom

Zoom

Best Video Conference Services 2020

The Verdict

Zoom is our choice as the best overall video conferencing service because it has multiple service plans, including a free option, lets you host meetings with up to 100 people at a time, and includes a vast selection of valuable tools.

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks,
Business News Daily Writer
See Chad Brooks's Profile
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has spent more than 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.