What’s New in Video Calling Apps?
Video calls are just part of life now. This is the way many of us attend meetings, catch up with friends and stay in contact with family members. But with so many different apps and choices out there, it can be hard to know what to use. Are you getting the best results from your current platform and technology, or should you switch it up? Here’s what you need to know to supercharge your video calling.
Zoom is still king
Three years later, Zoom is still one of the best video calling apps around. It’s simple enough for families to use and powerful enough for small and large businesses. It’s available on iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows PCs, Macs and even through a web browser, so you don’t need to worry about what devices anyone has. You’ve almost certainly used Zoom by now, so you know just how easy it is to host or attend a Zoom call.
The biggest downside with Zoom is that with the Basic free tier, there is a 40-minute time limit. You can call again right away, but it does break up the flow of a conversation while you wait for everyone to call back in. If you’re hosting regular family meetings or have consistent needs for business purposes, the Pro tier starts at $15/month.
Skype remains a solid choice
Skype was the big name in video calls before Zoom came along, and it’s still a really solid app. It’s also available on iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows PCs, Macs and through a web browser, and what’s more, it supports group video calls of up to 50 people, without a time limit, completely free.
While businesses will probably get more from Microsoft Teams (Microsoft’s other video calling app), Skype is great for families and friends.
Great smartphone options
While prescheduled video calls are great, sometimes you just want to see somebody’s face when you have a quick chat. This is where all the great smartphone options come in. With them, making a video call is as easy as making a regular phone call.
If you and your friend or relative both have iPhones, FaceTime is the way to go. While it also supports Macs and group video calls for up to 32 people, really, its standout feature is that you can just video call your contact from your phone app and see them immediately.
Google Meet (formerly Google Duo) is Google’s answer to FaceTime—though it’s available on pretty much every device. If you and your friend both have the app on your phones, it’s a great option for quick video calls, and you can schedule on your Google Calendar.
WhatsApp and Messenger—both owned by Meta—are really good options, as they’re widely supported and used around the world. They both support text chat, voice and video calls and even group calls. For staying in contact with the people you love, they’re hard to beat.
Discord is best for gamers
For video gamers looking to coordinate a raid, race or other competitive match with friends and teammates, there is but one awesome option: Discord. If you haven’t heard of it, Discord is basically an all-in-one chat app for gamers. You can use its text channel features to organize and coordinate games or share strategies in advance, its video calls for more involved meetings and its voice chat features for keeping in contact during games. It operates on a system of servers, so every team, guild or group of friends has its own private place to hang out.
And for all that, it’s free! (Though Nitro for $10/month increases the quality of the video streams.)
Upgrade your webcam
There are now lots of ways you can improve the quality of your camera footage. In the depth of the pandemic, it was almost impossible to get a great webcam—now they’re easy to find.
For more, check out our guide to buying the best webcam for your needs. You can even get ones that use AI to always keep you in view.
And if your background is a bit too busy, consider a green screen. You can set one up for a few hundred dollars and then change your Zoom background to anything you want. You can appear to work from a fancy office—or the moon.
How to have the best video calls
Every video call app relies on your internet connection. If you want to have high-quality video calls that never drop out, you need a strong, fast connection like fiber.
Frontier Fiber is built for the way you live today—and tomorrow
If you’re still on the lookout for the right ultrafast internet connection for streaming, gaming, working from home and running your smart home—all with enough bandwidth for everyone—find out about Frontier Fiber. Then check here to see when it’s available at your address.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.