1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
We are here for your business - COVID-19 resources >
Microsoft Teams Review

Best Inexpensive Video Conference Service

A Business News Daily Review

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

After conducting extensive research and analysis of video conference services in 2020, we recommend Microsoft Teams as the best video conference service for integration. What makes Microsoft Teams such an appealing option is that it comes included in many Office 365 subscription plans. With so many organizations using Microsoft Office programs, having a video conferencing solution that is included as part of the platform is a nice bonus. 

With Teams, you have access to some of the most important video collaboration tools. Key features include the ability to host an unlimited number of video meetings, screen sharing, whiteboards and the option to join from any device. 

We chose Microsoft Teams from a pool of more than 30 video conferencing systems. 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. 

You have several pricing options for Teams. It's available as both a free and paid service. However, the free plan limits you to only one-on-one video meetings, while the paid plans offer the ability to conduct video conferences with up to 250 participants.  

With the paid plans, you aren't purchasing a subscription to just the video conferencing service. Instead, you choose an Office 365 plan, which includes access to other popular Microsoft programs, like Word, Excel and Outlook. 

There are three paid plans to choose from. Each allows for video conferences with up to 250 participants and includes 1TB of cloud storage. Here is a breakdown of each plan: 

  • Cost: $5 per user, per month with an annual commitment
  • Included services: Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Features: Screen sharing, guest access, scheduled meetings, meeting recording, team chat, email hosting with 50GB mailbox, custom email domain address, the ability to host webinars, audio conferencing, scheduling assistance, note taking, desktop sharing, uploading files and chat messaging 
  • Cost: $12.50 per user, per month with an annual commitment
  • Included services: Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint
  • Features: Everything in the Basic plan as well as schedule and daily task planning, and access to Microsoft Bookings and Mile IQ 
  • Cost: $20 per user, per month with an annual commitment
  • Included services: Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Intune and Azure Information Protection.
  • Features: Everything in the Standard plan as well as advanced threat protection tools, and PC and mobile device management options 

Microsoft Teams has several uses beyond video conferencing. When you sign up for Teams primarily as a video conference tool, you also get a text-based chat platform, the ability to make audio calls, and a way to send files quickly and easily (even without setting up a video meeting).  

Here are some of the features Microsoft Teams includes:  

  • Audio calling: Microsoft Teams allows audio calls in addition to video conferences, so if you need to speak with somebody without a full video meeting, you can ring them instead.

  • Chat application: A small window on your desktop allows you to see who is currently online, away or in do-not-disturb mode. You can also organize colleagues into groups for quick reference. From this window, you can invite participants to a video conference, or send them documents or a quick note.

  • The ability to manage participants: The administrator can mute, remove or control participants' access to features. If a participant's microphone is picking up a lot of background noise, for example, the presenter can mute it easily. Users can also turn off video feeds or invite additional participants as the meeting is going on.

  • Meeting notes: If you'd like to take notes for future reference during a video conference, you can use the built-in note-taking application. You can also share timestamped notes with fellow participants and other members of your organization who were not on the call.

  • Meeting recordings: Audio and video recordings are available, so you can keep archived meetings for future reference.

  • Polls and surveys: Users can create polls to solicit feedback from participants. Whether you're gauging support for a new idea or getting your team's opinion on an ongoing project, polls and surveys are useful for learning about what your colleagues are thinking.

  • Scheduling: The paid versions of Microsoft Teams allow you to schedule meetings ahead of time on Outlook or the native web scheduler. You can also send out meeting details, such as the link or dial-in information, to participants.

  • Screen sharing: One of the most important features of video conferencing is the ability to broadcast your screen to other participants. Users can share virtually anything on their screen, whether it's their entire screen or just a specific window.

  • Whiteboards: Whiteboards are a collaborative tool that any user can mark up to communicate ideas or list information in an easily digestible manner for other participants. 

The biggest benefit of this video conference service is its integration with other Microsoft programs. So many businesses already use Office 365, so being able to tap into a fully functioning video conferencing service for no added cost is a huge advantage. Since all of your employees have their own Microsoft access, they each have the ability to host their own conferences. This removes the burden of having to figure out how many host licenses your company needs.

We also like that if you are hosting a video meeting, participants can join by phone if they can't connect via webcam. This ensures that everyone can attend your meetings, regardless of where they are.  

We also like the host options that Microsoft Teams offers. In the meeting room, there are a few links at the bottom of the screen. They allow you to turn your camera and microphone on or off, share your screen and hang up. 

One downside to Teams is that to host and join video meetings, you have to download and install the desktop or mobile app. While you can use some Teams features on the web version of the software, the video functionality is not available. 

Another downside is that the free version of the service is limited. You can't host conferences, only one-on-one calls, and 24/7 support isn't available. Many of the other video conferencing services we examined had more robust free service offerings. 

Support for Microsoft Teams was satisfactory in our experience. The biggest problem we encountered was reaching the proper representative. Microsoft has a number of support lines, and each time we called, we were greeted by a representative who said they needed to transfer us to another department. It would have been nice to be able to call a direct line instead of being bounced around to different departments.  

However, once we were connected to the proper representatives, our questions were answered. There were times we would have liked a little more detail in their answers, but we felt comfortable with the service overall.  

Moreover, Microsoft offers plenty of help documents and tutorials on how to use the system. We never felt as if we'd run into an obstacle with Microsoft Teams that we could not overcome with relatively little effort.  

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

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

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer with more than 20 years of media experience. A graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff as a senior writer. Currently, Chad covers a wide range of B2B products and services, including business phone systems, time and attendance systems, payroll services, and conference call services. Before joining Business News Daily and business.com, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. Chad's first book, "How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business," was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.