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Zoom Review

By
Chad Brooks
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Feb 15, 2019
Home
> Business Basics
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Zoom is the video conference service we recommend for the best features. Zoom is a comprehensive cloud-based video conference platform that is intuitive and effective, and supports up to 1,000 participants at a time. What really makes Zoom stand out is its wide array of features that meet virtually any company's needs. It has all the essential features businesses look for in a video conferencing platform, in addition to ancillary features that are useful for collaboration and brainstorming. Zoom even offers a free edition that allows users to test out all its features. 

Zoom

Zoom

Unpublished Reviews

The Verdict

Zoom is a great option for companies small and large with webinar and video conference needs. It boasts a strong slate of features and an inexpensive price tag.

To see all of our recommendations for video conferencing services, visit our best picks page. 

With all of those features, you also want a system that is easy to use and that your participants can access from various locations and devices. Zoom fits that bill. The software can be tapped into from desktop and mobile apps, as well as in-room setups, and many of the options available to end users are apparent and self-explanatory. First-time users require little to no training on the software. 

Pricing 

Zoom has a free plan as well as three paid service plans. Zoom's pricing is structured on a per-host basis. A host license is required for each person in your company that needs to host a meeting. 

Each of the service plans differ based on price, the minimum number of hosts and the included features. All of the plans include support for 100 participants at one time. If you host video conferences with more than 100 attendees, you can purchase large participant blocks (more on those costs below). The four service plans are: 

Free

  • Cost: $0
  • Meeting time limits: 40 minutes
  • Minimum number of hosts: 1
  • Features: HD video and voice, active speaker view, full-screen and gallery views, simultaneous screen share, telephone dial-in numbers, desktop and application sharing, personal rooms or meeting IDs, instant or scheduled meetings, calendar integrations, local recording, private and group chat, host controls, raise hand options, breakout rooms and whiteboarding
  • Support: Online only 

Pro

  • Cost: $14.99 per host, per month
  • Meeting time limits: 24 hours
  • Minimum number of hosts: 1
  • Features: Everything in the Free plan, plus administration feature controls, custom personal meeting IDs, assign scheduler, 1GB of cloud recording, reporting and Rest API
  • Support: Online only 

Business

  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Meeting time limits: 24 hours
  • Minimum number of hosts: 10
  • Features: Everything in the Pro plan, plus an administration dashboard, vanity URLs, option for on-premises deployment, managed domains, single sign-on, company branding, custom emails and cloud recording transcripts
  • Support: Dedicated phone support 

Enterprise

  • Cost: $19.99 per host, per month
  • Meeting time limits: 24 hours
  • Minimum number of hosts: 50
  • Features: Everything in the Business plan, plus unlimited cloud storage and executive business reviews
  • Support: Dedicated customer success manager 

If you want increased meeting capacity, you can buy added limits of 500 or 1,000 attendees that cost $65 and $110 per host, per month. 

To add video conferencing to your company's conference room, Zoom offers Zoom Rooms. Zoom Rooms costs $49 per month, per room, and comes with the required software, high-quality video, audio and web conferencing for Mac, PC or touchscreen devices. Additionally, these rooms include screen sharing with Wi-Fi, Airplay or wired HDMI connection. 

Another option Zoom offers are H.323 room connectors for $49 per month, per port. 

Pros and Cons 

There is a lot to like about Zoom. One of the greatest pluses of this video conference solution is the number of conference participants that can be on video at one time. Everyone who joins a meeting can have their video feed on. Other video conference services we examined limited the number of cameras that could be turned on at once. Instead of having to select which participants will appear on camera, meeting hosts can concentrate on running the meeting and participating in the discussion. 

The system's ease of use is another advantage of Zoom. The platform is very straightforward and simple to understand for both meeting hosts and those attending the video conference. 

While its list of features is long, the dashboard is not cluttered or difficult to navigate. Zoom automatically presents the video feed of the active participant, which is generally the person speaking or sharing their screen. When sharing your screen or using the whiteboarding tool, the same options appear at the top of the screen, as well the option to hand control off to another presenter, or exit the screen-sharing mode. 

Zoom's free service plan is another positive. Accessing so many features at no cost is enticing to small businesses on a tight budget. However, meetings in the free plan are limited to just 40 minutes, which could pose a problem for some businesses. 

Another potential downside to Zoom is that those on Free and Pro plans have limited support options. 

Features 

Of the video conferencing systems we looked into, few had more to offer in terms of features and tools than Zoom. 

Among some of the most valuable features Zoom offers include HD video and audio, simultaneous screen sharing, desktop and app sharing, meeting recording with both local and cloud storage, and the ability to host both scheduled and instant meetings. 

Other important features include private and group chats, a tool that allows participants to "raise their hand" so as not to interrupt the speaker, breakout rooms for smaller group discussions, and whiteboarding for brainstorming and sketching ideas. 

Zoom is unique in that nearly all of its features are available to even those who use its free plan. The meeting time is limited, but you still have access to Zoom's most valuable features. The free edition is so robust, it might even be suitable for very small businesses that don't have much need for conferencing. 

Another important tool is the integration with Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. This allows you to schedule meetings directly from those programs. Once invitations are sent out, those video meetings are automatically placed on your calendar. 

Zoom offers a few features that large organizations will find appealing. This includes custom branding, custom emails, single sign-on, vanity URLs and executive business reviews that feature detailed trending adoption analysis, ROI tracking and product roadmap discussions. 

Zoom secures its platform with SSL encryption and AES 256-bit encryption. 

Customer Support 

We were very impressed with the customer support we received from Zoom. We contacted Zoom by phone posing as a business owner interested in their service. 

Our call was answered immediately by a friendly representative who answered our questions. She gave detailed answers and never once pressured us into signing up for the service. She thoroughly explained the specs of each plan, including participant numbers, how many video streams could be used at one time, as well as costs, annual contracts and conference room capabilities. We were very pleased with the call and the overall level of service. 

Zoom offers different levels of customer support depending on the service plan you choose. All paid subscriptions have access to 24/7 online support and live chat, while higher levels gain access to dedicated phone support. The Enterprise plan has a dedicated account manager that acts as a point person when issues or questions arise.   

In addition to the personal support, you'll find helpful training materials, including video tutorials, on Zoom's website.

Editor's Note: Looking for a video conferencing service? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the Compare Quotes button below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

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Zoom

Zoom

Unpublished Reviews

The Verdict

Zoom is a great option for companies small and large with webinar and video conference needs. It boasts a strong slate of features and an inexpensive price tag.

Chad Brooks
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.