Did you know that one in every four Americans is expected to be working remotely in 2021?
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many employees began working from home, staying in touch with their supervisors and coworkers through video calls and email. And while many people have begun to return to normal working life, there’s no doubt that working remotely will continue to be a popular option.
Working remotely means you get to do almost anything you like while keeping your job. You might even choose to travel. But when it comes to connecting with friends and colleagues back home, which video call apps are the best for keeping in touch?
That’s what this article will explore. To find out what the best apps for video calls are for you, keep reading.
When you choose a video calling application, you have to find the right balance between the quality of the app and the size of its user base. You may find an app that works incredibly well, but it won’t matter if none of the people you need to talk to use it. On the other hand, a platform like Skype has a large user base, but longtime users complain that its quality dropped after Microsoft purchased it.
Facebook Messenger has the best of both worlds: it’s fairly stable and full-featured, but it also has an enormous user base. Nearly every person you could meet uses Facebook, and so you should also be able to reach them using Messenger.
If there’s one downside to Messenger, it’s that the interface might feel too complicated. While an app like Apple’s FaceTime is very simple and straightforward, Messenger almost seems bloated with features and options most users won’t need.
Next, we have the famous video conference app that became especially popular during the pandemic.
Although Zoom is best known for multi-person video conferencing, it works just as well as a one-to-one video calling app. But if you do have multiple friends you want to speak to at once, it handles multiple callers extremely well.
Like most video calling apps, Zoom lets you place calls using either video or audio-only. Unlike most other apps, however, Zoom also has built-in recording functionality, so you can capture your conversations.
Whether you need to make conference calls or have one-on-one conversations, Google Meet is a simple and accessible solution. A relatively new service from Google, it comes built-in with Gmail, both in-browser and in the mobile apps. Of course, you can also download Google Meet by itself if you don’t want your email and video calling in the same app.
Google Meet works alongside Google Chat, allowing you to send instant messages as well as place voice and video calls.
Although anyone can download and use Google Meet for free, it’s an especially appealing option for work teams that use G Suite, Google’s professional email and calendar service.
Besides Google Meet, you can also download Google Duo for Android and iOS devices. However, it requires a mobile phone number to identify you with, instead of just a Gmail account.
If you and your friends are all Apple users, then you can’t go wrong with the FaceTime app that comes bundled with Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
The best thing about FaceTime is its simplicity. It works for both audio and video calls (in fact, you can switch between audio and video at will). You can even make group calls with multiple Apple users. The obvious downside to FaceTime is that you can’t call someone if they don’t have an Apple device.
You may also have a problem with FaceTime if you need more advanced features than the average user. However, with third-party apps and plugins, you can perform more advanced functions. You can even screen record FaceTime calls.
For many people, Discord has replaced Skype as the go-to solution for video chatting. It performs all of the same functions as other popular communication platforms, including group calls and instant messaging. But it also offers advanced features, such as creating forum-like groups and separating topic-based conversations into servers.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, Discord is one of the best platforms for staying in touch with other gamers, from Minecraft fans to Wii Sports champions. If you have friends who are avid gamers, chances are most of them are on Discord already.
Despite seeing many user complaints since it was modified by Microsoft, Skype continues to be the default video calling app for many professionals. If you’re a freelancer or contractor, it’s a good idea to keep a Skype account handy in case a prospective employer wants to interview you through the platform.
Similar to Discord but designed for professionals, Slack is basically a comprehensive tool for keeping work teams organized. It can be synchronized with your Gmail or Outlook calendar, and it offers voice and video calling, as well as group instant messaging capabilities. It even integrates with Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing.
Choosing Your Video Calling Platform
Video calls will only increase in popularity as more people jump on board, but as you can see, not all platforms are created equal. Hopefully, you now have an idea of which video call app is best for your situation.
For more relevant information and helpful advice, check out more of our posts in the Tech Tips section here on Tech Featured.