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Join.me Review: Best Video Conference Service for Multiple Participants

Join.me Review: Best Video Conference Service for Multiple Participants
Credit: join.me

After conducting extensive research and analysis of video conference services, we recommend Join.me as the best video conference service for many participants.

We chose Join.me as a best pick because it's incredibly intuitive to use and aesthetically easy to navigate, meaning less time training employees. Moreover, Join.me boasts strong key features such as screen sharing, webinar rebranding, one-click scheduling, and audio and video recording without breaking the bank.

Another place where Join.me scored well was customer service and tech support. We found the customer service representatives to be knowledgeable, responsive and friendly, and we came away from each conversation satisfied that our questions had been answered accurately.

Noteworthy for larger organizations is that it has a maximum audience size of 250 participants. Join.me's pricing is extremely generous, but there are systems with larger capacities out there, including ClickMeeting's Enterprise package.

Join.me offers strong features at a high quality, as well as a decent meeting capacity, all while remaining an extremely affordable solution. It's best for small and midsize businesses that require regular group meetings.

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

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Join.me includes all the major features we looked for, as well as some ancillary features we enjoyed (despite its professed aim to cut out the bells and whistles). Here are some of the features available in Join.me:

  • App integration: Join.me can integrate a wide array of applications your business might use, including major products such as Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365. By integrating apps, you can operate directly through Join.me; for example, you can schedule a conference ahead of time and provide the necessary details to your team on Outlook.
  • Audio calls: Included in the license is the ability to make audio calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). If you choose, Join.me could double as your phone system.
  • Control over user permissions: The system allows the administrator to control user permissions. Do you want to restrict who can record meetings or swap presenters? Do you want to view your team's most used features or monitor ongoing meetings? Admins have the power to do all of those things.
  • Meeting branding: A nice touch to Join.me's conferences is the ability to brand the room with a custom meeting link name and your organization's logo as the background image.
  • Mobile applications: You don't have to be confined to your office or home to use Join.me video conferencing. Download the mobile app on your smartphone to use it on the go.
  • One-click scheduling: There are multiple ways to schedule conferences and presentations in Join.me, whether through the service's own scheduler, Microsoft Outlook or Google Chrome. Once a meeting is scheduled, it takes one click to start it up.
  • Recording: Join.me is capable of both video and audio recording, and depending on which package you purchase, it offers a great deal of cloud storage space. The Lite package includes 5GB of cloud storage, while the Business package includes 5TB.
  • Screen sharing: An essential aspect of video conferencing, screen sharing allows you to show other participants what's on your screen. One useful aspect of Join.me's screen-sharing feature is the Window Share option, which lets you share one window with participants while leaving others open on your desktop to take notes, for example.
  • Training: Purchasing Join.me entitles you and your organization to free training from the company. After you complete the training, Join.me will do regular check-in calls to ensure your satisfaction and answer any new questions your users might have. 
  • Presenter swap: This feature allows you to switch presenters at any time during a meeting. The new presenter will be able to broadcast their screen, just as you broadcast your own. This is especially useful if multiple members in your organization intend to deliver a portion of the presentation.
  • Video bubbles: Video bubbles appear in the conference to show you who is dialed in and what's happening on their webcams. Seeing all the participants' faces not only helps the flow of the meeting but also allows the presenter to ensure that everybody is engaged in the conference.
  • Whiteboards: Whiteboards are a collaborative tool to sketch out ideas or jot down notes. The Pro and Business packages come with unlimited whiteboards for use by participants. One drawback of Join.me's whiteboards, however, is that they are supported only by Apple products.

Another big reason we chose Join.me as a best pick is the software's simplicity. Video conference systems need to be easy to navigate in order to minimize the training your employees and other users will need. Join.me is intuitive and straightforward, with a simple interface and helpful tutorials like this one.

The majority of essential controls are confined to a small panel that opens along with the conferencing tool. The panel displays four buttons, which you can use to access many functions, such as sending email invitations to your meeting, muting and unmuting participants, and broadcasting your screen. Adjacent to the main controls are settings for your own personal line; here, you can turn your camera or microphone on and off, open a presentation, and invite additional users directly from the Join.me application.

Join.me also makes use of a "video bubble" function, which displays small circles with the video feeds of other participants in a small, single-file line on your screen. You can adjust settings for individual participants or, if the video bubbles are in your way, drag them around the screen to reposition them. Video bubbles are useful to ensure each participant is actually engaged.

It shouldn't take too long to become familiar with the typical functions of a Join.me room. The layout lends itself to simple exploration, and after the first few minutes, Join.me starts to feel comfortable to use.

The platform also offers a great deal of latitude to users who want to customize their video conference experience. With Join.me, you can change the meeting background to sport whichever image you want, which is particularly useful for company branding purposes. You can also generate a custom link that is easy to remember and further promotes your branding endeavors. These features are especially useful when hosting meetings with people outside of your organization, whom you want to familiarize with your brand name and imagery as much as possible.

Join.me offers three affordable pricing tiers to meet your business's needs. The Lite package, Pro package and Business package each expand upon the free-trial version. For small businesses with serious video conference needs, we recommend at least purchasing the Pro package; however, our choice of Join.me as a best pick was based on the features in the Business package. Here's a look at what each plan offers.

  • $10 per month per user
  • Personalized URL
  • Screen sharing
  • Unlimited VoIP calls
  • 5GB cloud storage
  • $20 per month per user
  • All Lite features
  • 10 video feeds
  • User management
  • Developer API
  • Recording
  • Integrations with Outlook and Google Calendar
  • $30 per month per user
  • All Pro features
  • Feature management
  • Single sign-on
  • Integrations with Salesforce
  • 5TB cloud storage

When considering pricing, which is based on a monthly per-user fee that's billed annually, keep in mind that only users who will be presenting in meetings require an account. This will help keep costs down if you have only a few meeting hosts in your organization. The Business plan is the reason we chose Join.me as the best video conference system for multiple participants; the cheaper plan reduces the number of total users permitted to access the system at any given time.

Join.me also offers a 14-day free trial for up to 10 meeting participants.

Of the video conference services we evaluated, one of our best customer service experiences was with Join.me. The customer service representative we spoke with was knowledgable and friendly, and didn't push us to make a purchasing decision when we explained we were just exploring our options. They answered our questions in detail and left us feeling well informed about the product.

Join.me offers both email and phone support. Email support was quick to respond, and the answers to most of your questions are readily available in the Join.me user forums or help section. If you can't find the information you're looking for in those places, you can try the feedback form, which allows you to notify the company of any shortcomings, misinformation or confusion.  

Although many small businesses don't need hundreds of participants to sit in on any given meeting, large enterprises might find Join.me's limit of 250 participants restrictive. However, the vast majority of entrepreneurs we spoke with said this would be sufficient to meet their needs. This, as well as Join.me's above-average ability to stream the video feeds of 10 different cameras at a time, made us decide to name Join.me as the best video conference service for multiple participants.

We chose join.me from a pool of dozens of video conference services. To learn more about our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of video conference services, visit our best picks page.

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

Additional reporting by Adam C. Uzialko.

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

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Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.