Zoom Honest and Complete Review 2020 – Pricing, Features and Integrations

What are the features of Zoom?

As coronavirus has spread all across the globe and affected millions of people, a large number of people are using social distancing measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus resulting in a growing popularity of Zoom video meeting and chat app which has helped scores of people continue with their work and study from the comfort of their home. It is worth noting that the Zoom meeting has come into focus as one of the most preferred choices among video conferencing tools. Whether you have been using the Zoom app for several years or just started using it, you will discover several useful and fun-filled features. These features will help in upgrading your video chatting experience. Here are some of them:

Background Customization

You can change the background of the app effortlessly. You may opt for a stunning beach or an outer space simply by customizing your background while on Zoom calls. Everybody has been opting for the various majestic backgrounds offered by Zoom nowadays. You need to visit the settings and then select virtual backgrounds. Now choose or upload the picture that you seek from here. Meanwhile, you also need to ensure that your system fulfills all the requirements to carry out background change.

Easy Calendar Integration

Zoom provides a scheduler extension and a plug in for Microsoft outlook which helps you to schedule your meetings using your own calendar application. All you have to do is click on “Make it a Zoom meeting” when you schedule your meetings.

Opt for gallery view

The view allows you to view every participant in one glance instead of only the one speaking. To make it working, you need to click the “gallery view” tab available at the top right corner. In case the meeting has 49 or lesser participants, you can view all their screens being displayed on one page. And, if the meeting has more than 49 participants, you will get the alternative to reshuffle between various pages. You can revert back by clicking “speaker view” available at the same topmost right corner.

Keep non-video participants hidden

If you happen to be on a larger call, you may notice your screen getting cluttered with participants. It may cause distraction especially if somebody does not have his/her cameras on. You have the option of hiding the participants who are not using video by following these steps: Settings>video>meeting and click at “Hide non-video” participants. Now you will see only those participants only who appear on the video.

Use screen sharing

You may also be able to share your screen for a zoom meeting with other participating members. For this you need to click the share screen icon available at the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen. You will get the alternative to share your whole desktop or just one of the many windows you have opened. If you are keen to revert back to being normal, you need to click the red “stop share” button available at the top of the screen.

Multi-sharing

Zoom allows you to collaborate in real time with multiple people by allowing them to share their screens at the simultaneously.

Switch on the beauty filter

As everyone is working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic not everyone will be looking their best on some days. If you want to look you best during one of those days when you appear dull, use “touch up my appearance” feature. The vital filter can significantly boost your appearance thus making you look better. You need to follow the following steps in a bid to activate this feature: Video settings >> Touch up my appearance.

Record meeting when required

You may record your meeting to your laptop or desktop whether you are a free or paid zoom subscriber. You can do so by using a desktop app. It is worth noting that you cannot record the meeting on mobile as you need to have a paid account for it. After recording the meeting, you can upload it to a file storage service namely Dropbox, Google Drive, or YouTube. For local recording, you need to follow these steps: Setting>Recording and then you must toggle it on. If you are keen to record, make sure that when you host a zoom meeting; click the record icon at the bottom toolbar.

Waiting Room and Personal Waiting Room

Zoom allows you to enable the Waiting Room feature so that you can choose to admit your participants for better security. You can admit them one at a time or everyone and also message the ones that are waiting. You can also reserve a Personal Meeting room with a Personal ID for yourself.

Mute audio and turn off camera

You may also opt to mute your audio and switch off your camera when you enter a meeting. It will help you maintain your privacy. And, your colleagues or classmates will not be able to see your surroundings or hear any unpleasant sound. You need to follow these steps for muting audio: Settings >> audio >> mute microphone. To mute the video, you need to follow these steps: Settings >> video >> turnoff video. You will also come across the mute button and video button in the zoom app, and you just need to press them. It will automatically mute video and audio.

Use helpful shortcuts

If you detest clicking around your screen, the Zoom app offers plenty of keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts will allow you to navigate the app on your desktop without relying on the mouse. With these shortcuts, you can begin or stop recording, enter full-screen mode, or share your screen.

Mute and unmute through the space bar

When someone calls out your name to speak, do not waste time looking for the microphone button. Just press and hold the spacebar to mute or unmute your microphone without wasting any time from your keyboard.

Use emoji available on screen

In case you opt to stay muted, you can still make your presence felt in the meeting. You can convey your thoughts via several emoji reactions. You may send a thumbs-up emoji or a clapping one to share your feelings sans disturbing anyone in the meeting. The reactions are in a yellow skin tone. However, you will also be allowed to customize that. When you are keen to react during a meeting, you need to click the Reactions tab.  The Reaction tab remains available at the end of the meeting screen. Now select the emoji that you desire to send. Emoji will vanish after 5 seconds.

Host over 100 people

If you desire to host a meeting of more than 100 people for work or school, you must upgrade to a paid professional account. And, you can also upgrade to the uppermost tier also known as Enterprise Plus which allows you to host up to 1000 participants.

Host meeting for more than 40 minutes

Yet another interesting feature of the Zoom app is that you can host a group meeting for up to 40 minutes for free.  To opt for the unlimited group time, you must upgrade to a paid account.

Pricing of Zoom

The Zoom video app is available in a vast range of pricing packages to users all across the globe. Depending upon what you require from your meeting solution, you may seek the package accordingly. Meanwhile, the free plan offered by Zoom has emerged as one of the most lucrative offers available on the market.

The free plan also offers a huge range of useful features for users who are facing some budget constraints. In the free plan from Zoom, you will be able to host meetings for up to 40 minutes duration with up to 100 participating members. You will also be allowed to have one-on-one conversations.

Zoom also provides its pricing according to a per-host basis just like other conferencing solutions. You just need to make sure that you invest in the correct amount of licenses for your organization’s requirements.

Mentioned below are the other pricing plans of Zoom:

  • Pro plan: The plan will cost you $14.99/month per host in case you decide to pay on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, if you decide to pay on an annual basis, you need to pay $12.49/month per host. The plan will stretch the group meeting time limit to up to 24 hours.
  • Business: It is feasible for a minimum of 10 hosts. The Business plan will cost you $199.90/month per user if you decide to pay on a monthly basis. And, the cost will come down to $166.58 if you decide to pay annually. In this plan, you will get 1GB of cloud recording, API access, and Skype integration. You can also opt for the Enterprise option in case you have 100 hosts or above. This will cost ten times the cost of the business plan.
  • Education: This plan will cost you $1800 on an annual basis. You will also receive the functionality that you require to host Zoom solutions in an educational atmosphere. You will get support for nearly 300 participants. Zoom also provides a “Zoom Rooms” meeting room as part of the service pricing package. The price of the service begins from $49/month per room on a monthly basis. The price will come down to $41 if you pay annually.

Whom is Zoom best suited for?

Zoom has emerged to be highly appropriate for organizations that require meeting with its clients and colleagues on a regular basis. One of the most popular features of Zoom is that it allows you to break the large group into small teams. You can have brief communications with them and then bring back the large group. It may not serve the purpose in case you just require organizing some sort of video conferencing for sheer fun. Zoom has also become quite helpful if somebody finds it difficult to turn up for a meeting as he/she can record the call.

Zoom has also become quite useful for small and medium-sized businesses wherein the several teams consistently schedule zoom meetings. According to Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan, the company tends to focus on customers, big enterprises, and SMB, among others. They also strive to target education customers and healthcare clients that may include telehealth and telemedicine. Now many school children all across the globe rely on the Zoom app for their online classes.

The main reason behind high usage of Zoom can be attributed to the fact that other video conferencing providers charge from first customers. Zoom provides most of the stuff for free and that’s why it has become suitable for a large group of people.

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How to use Zoom?

Video conferencing has emerged as one of the fastest-growing tools. If you desire to join a video call with your colleague or keen to connect with your loved ones, Zoom has come up as an ideal option. Zoom helps you in setting up a video call with scores of participants and lets you remain practically present. The tool has become significantly useful when you work remotely. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the tool helps us stay safe and practice the social distancing measures effectively.

If you are planning to use the Zoom app, you must register yourself for it. You can do it either from your smartphone or from your laptop.

You need to follow the below-mentioned steps to use Zoom:

  • Visit the Zoom sign up page. You will notice some options that will help you create your account. At topmost, you need to enter your e-mail address in the box “Your work email address.” Now move to step number two. Zoom may ask you for a work email but you can also provide a personal email address.
  • You will also be able to make an account just by clicking on the “sign in with Facebook” or sign in with Google” button. And, after this, you will be required to download the “zoom desktop app”. After following this step, you can right away move to step number seven.
  • In case you have entered an email address, Zoom will instantly send you an activation email to the given address. Now you need to either click on the button “Activate Account” in the e-mail or just copy and paste the given activation URL in your browser. It will help you in activating your account.
  • Once you click the button, you will be required to fill details like your first and last name along with a password in the page.
  • Once you have activated your account, you will be able to invite people for creating a free Zoom account through an email. If you do not want it, you may skip this step.
  • You will then receive a link to your personal meeting URL. And, you will also get the alternative to click an orange “start meeting now” button. It will help you begin a test meeting. If you copy that particular URL in your web browser or click the orange button, you will be led to download the Zoom desktop app. You may follow the prompts for installing the Zoom app.
  • Soon after installing the Zoom app, you may notice the buttons “Sign in” or “Join a Meeting”. Now to begin your test meeting, you must click the “Sign in” button.
  • Now at the subsequent screen, you need to enter the email address and password you recently used for signing up for zoom. If you registered using “Sign in with Facebook” or “Sign in with Google” buttons, click one of those buttons and follow the remaining steps.
  • After you have logged in, you need to make sure you are at the “Home” tab. Now click the orange “New Meeting” button at the Zoom app. And, here you go for the meeting.

Customer reviews of Zoom

If you are keen to know more about a specific product, customer reviews have turned out to be a great source of information. Customer reviews help you find out if the product met the expectations of users or not. They also give you amazing insight about the tiny details of a product. You can also discover the weak areas and strengths through these reliable reviews.

Given below are some of the top reviews that will prove useful for you:

When it comes to the ease of use of the Zoom app, users felt that it offered stunning ease of use. The app has allowed users to continue working from home, supported teachers and students alike. It also helps you connect with your friends, family, and loved ones without spending any effort. Highlighting the same thing, one of the users of the app said, “What a wonderful way to be together virtually with so many family members, friends, and classmates”

The other aspect of the Zoom that left users in awe of it includes accessibility and privacy. Reaffirming the same, an avid user of the app said, “It works on many platforms, so it really doesn’t limit you when it comes to accessibility. The chat you can use during meetings works amazingly well, and the app allows you to privately chat with one individual person.”

Some users found that the app helped people practice social distancing more effectively and celebrate special moments with their loved ones. “Zoom is very easy to download and to host. Thank you! I also enjoyed hosting a birthday party for my husband’s 81st! Three of our children, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren were able to attend.”

However, some users were happy with the app but disappointed with the customer service. One of the unhappy users said, “terrible customer service”.

Another user reported an issue with the app. “I had to use this app for a job interview last week, and it did not work well.”

It is worth noting that a whopping 90% of the reviews turned out to be positive and happy. A mere 9 to 10% of users reported trivial issues that can be conveniently taken care of by the Zoom team.

Zoom FAQs

Do you need a webcam for zoom?

Yes, you will require a webcam if you desire to join a Zoom meeting or webinar. Else, you will find it impossible to transmit video sans a webcam.

Is Zoom safe to use?

As Zoom is quite easy to use, it has become prone to be exploited by mischievous elements prevailing around us. A term is doing the rounds these days. It is known as Zoombing that takes place when an unwanted participant intrudes or seeks to derail a meeting. Sometimes, the harmless trolling often stretched to the harassment level.

However, you can prevent it. You must remain cautious when you share meeting IDs and always avoid posting them on a public platform. You must produce a new ID for every meeting you host by using the options panel. You must ensure that meeting participants use a password to access the meeting.

Can people see you in Zoom?

If your video is turned on during a Zoom meeting with several participants, all participants can see you that may include you as well.

Is Zoom free to use?

Zoom provides users a full-featured basic plan free of cost with an unlimited number of meetings. The basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit. And, participants can’t record these meetings.

Do you need to install Zoom before a meeting?

You are not required to have a Zoom account for attending a Zoom meeting. You might be compelled to download the software the moment you clicked on the link that you have been given.

Conclusion:

Pros:

Let’s see the Pros of using Zoom for which this software has become so popular:

  • Zoom’s interface is convenient and user-friendly.
  • The learning curve has emerged to be quite short and the credit goes to the platform interface.
  • You will find it hassle-free to share the Zoom link for joining the video conference.
  • Screen sharing quality of Zoom is outstanding.
  • You are given the ability to share slides and content.
  • You will get to experience top quality video and audio. In video calls, you will not witness any buffering. Audio calling is ideal too and can be recorded for future purposes.
  • You will be allowed to view anyone in the group when you are chatting
  • It is quite compatible with various kinds of operating systems that may include Windows or Android.
  • You can mute participants in the group when required.
  • You get the hand-raising function which proves helpful while discussing.
  • You have the ability to use an external microphone to boost the listener’s experience.

Cons:

There have been several positive points about the Zoom app. But, you cannot rule out any cons. Given below are some potential flaws that have plagued the software:

  • You will require a fast internet connection so that you do not come across any instability.
  • It is worth noting that a mobile app for iOS has bad audio quality.
  • You may encounter some voice lags.
  • The mobile app is not that appropriate when compared with a website platform.
  • You may also find some unwanted comments in the chatbox.
  • You may find the limit of 40-minute meetings on a free plan inadequate.
  • The window app has got plenty of unused white space. If the app was compact, it would have been much better.

The positives of the Zoom app have outshone the negatives. Zoom has also emerged to be highly economical and provides users with some stunning features. You may begin with the basic plan and get it upgraded when you have discovered the app adequately.

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Zoom Comparison with Skype

Effective communication is what it takes to make things convenient. And, amid the coronavirus outbreak no one is keen to spend hours in travel for a meeting. According to a study, a whopping 89% remote team gives preference to video conferencing for connecting with colleagues and workers. So let us make a brief comparison between Zoom and Skype:

  • Cost: The cost of the Zoom app varies from free to $19.99/month while the cost of the Skype app may start from free to $12.50/ month per user.
  • Device: Zooms offers support to Android, iPhone, Mac, Web-based, Windows, and Linux, among others. Meanwhile, Skype is available at Windows, Android, Windows mobile, iPhone/iPad, Web-based, Mac.
  • Participants: Zoom permits up to 100 participants while Skype allows up to 250 participants.
  • Language: Zoom and Skype support the English language alike.
  • Target audience: Zoom caters to small, medium, and large businesses. And, Skype is feasible for small, medium, large businesses, and freelancers, among others.
  • Customers: The leading customers of Zoom may include Delta, Sonos, GoDaddy, Pandora, Slack, and Match.com. Meanwhile, Skype has been used by VerbalizeIt, Advansys, AIRDEX, and Diverse Learners.
  • Conferencing features: For Zoom the conferencing features include HD Video, HD Voice, Screen Sharing, and Whiteboarding. While for Skype, it may include real-time chats, video messaging, and file sharing.
  • Supported integrations: For Zoom the supported integrations may include Google Drive, Dropbox, Eloqua, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, Pardot, etc. For Skype, it may include Agile CRM, Slack, Grasshopper, Microsoft Systems, etc.
  • Support: Zoom offers online support on the other hand Skype provides on-demand support to users.

We may conclude here that Zoom and Skype provide premium solutions alike. Although they serve different audiences both have been designed to take your business communication to a higher level. However, the features offered by Zoom on free and paid tiers provide it a little edge over Skype.

How does Zoom compare to other platforms? Read our review of 19 top alternative platforms to Zoom right here.

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