Video calling has become the new normal since the pandemic hit, but with so many apps to choose from, what is the best service for mobile users? Here are nine apps to help you place a video call on Android, iOS, and the Web.
1. Google Duo
The service also has a web version that will allow you to make a video call from your PC. In addition, users can start group video calls with up to 31 participants. Duo comes preinstalled on many Android devices these days, so you may not even need to get an additional app to start video chatting with family and friends.
Duo is super easy to use. Just log in and verify your number. The video quality is excellent, but if you’re in an area where the bandwidth has issues, Duo will automatically adjust the quality of the video to keep you connected. A unique feature of Duo is the Knock, Knock option. It plays the caller’s video stream so that you know who is calling just by quickly glancing at the display.
WhatsApp (iOS, Android), owned by Facebook, is the most popular video-calling app with over one billion active users. If you like group chats, WhatsApp will let you conduct a video call with up to 8 people at the same time.
One helpful feature of this app is the ability it gives you to reject the calls and send a text instead. What’s more, while in a call, you can easily switch to the rear camera at any time simply by tapping on the screen. You can also mute the microphone.
The app does not assume what your Internet speed is going to be ahead of time. It calculates the speed when you call and adjusts the video quality to work best with that connection speed.
WhatsApp is also available via browser as well as in the form of a web app, so you can access your chats everywhere.
With the new coronavirus keeping a lot of people stuck inside, Zoom (iOS, Android) video calls have become the norm when it comes to conducting business meetings, but also socializing with friends and family. The app’s mobile version offers a simplified version of the online Zoom experience.
That’s not to say that you don’t have tons of features to take advantage of in the mobile version. These include scheduling meetings, sharing your screen, live transcription, backgrounds, whiteboard, encrypting your chats and more. The main tabs can be found at the bottom, including Meet & Chat, Meetings, Contacts and Settings.
While Zoom’s free tier allows for one-on-one chats of up to 24 hours in length, group meetings with 3 to 100 participants are limited to only 40 minutes. There are other limitations to consider for free account holders, including not having access to features such as live transcription, polling or billing cycle and terms.
Skype lets people start one-on-one or group chats (up to 100 participants). The app includes robust video chat features that may come in handy for those running small businesses, or hosting online meetings. These include sharing your screen with others, recording chats, turning on subtitles and more.
Discord (iOS, Android) might not be known for its video chatting capabilities, but it does bundle that feature. Since it’s an app aimed primarily at gamers, it facilitates online gaming sessions where you can stream your screen content to the rest of the group. The app’s built-in Go Live streaming service can currently host up to 50 people during a streaming session.
Alternatively, you can have up to 25 participants in a straightforward video call. In terms of features, Discord is not as rich as the others we’ve listed here. Even so, the basics are all there. On mobile, you can easily switch between cameras and toggle your camera off/on, as well as the microphone. Video calling is also available in Discord’s web client.
6. Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger (iOS, Android) has a handy video chatting feature, and given the app’s popularity, it’s perhaps the most convenient option on the list. To start video chatting, open a discussion with someone, then tap on the little video chat button in the upper-right corner. The best thing is, you don’t even need a Facebook account to use Messenger.
Messenger supports one-on-one chats as well as group chats with up to eight members. If you want to invite more people, Messenger lets you create Rooms which allow for up to 50 members to join. Other options include filters and the ability to send emojis just like in chat.
Viber (iOS, Android) began as strictly a voice-calling app and now also offers unlimited video calls and messaging. It’s pretty similar to Facebook Messenger but with more functionality. The app supports video group calling with up to 40 participants and is quite popular with users outside the U.S.
There’s no need to register for the app with usernames, passwords, or aliases. Just use your phone number. Viber’s end-to-end encryption keeps your group chats and calls safe and protects your privacy. Other features of Viber include a compact interface, customizable contact list, hidden chats, and the option to use it on desktop.
Nevertheless, it’s pretty standard when it comes to video chat options, so if you need something geared toward professional use, you should probably look at some of the other options on the list. Signal is also available as a web client for Windows users.
We couldn’t conclude this list without FaceTime (iOS), the mobile app which paved the way for video chatting to become more accessible. The app comes pre-installed on all Apple devices and includes an impressive array of features from group calls with up to 32 people and flipping back and forth between video and voice to Animoji and stickers.
The speed of connections, the quality of video, and coherent interface all make Facetime a great video chat app. On mobile devices you can even use the app to make regular phone calls via Wi-Fi if you’re in an area with a poor cellular signal. iOS 15 brings the option for PC and Android users to participate in FaceTime calls as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it important for my app of choice to be cross-platform?
Most of the apps on this list are cross-platform; however, it all depends on your needs. If you using video chatting often, and from different locations, for instance, if you move between home and school, cross-device video-call apps would be useful.
2. How do you make a video group call?
It depends on the app your using, but usually the process is pretty straightforward. If you’re still not sure how to get started, you may be interested in learning how to make group video calls on WhatsApp using our step-by-step guide.
3. How much bandwidth does video calling use?
If you’re on a limited data connection, you’ll need to be careful how much time you’re spending on video calls. Get educated regarding the factiors in video call data usage and more by reading our article, which dives deep into this subject.
If you’re looking to learn more tricks so you can become a video chatting power user, perhaps you’d like to learn how to record WhatsApp video and voice calls. Alternatively, check out our comparison between Skype and WhatsApp to help you determine which video calling