Zoom Video Conferencing App Review 2020

We like Zoom because it delivers huge meeting capacities and reliable streaming performance, but we can't give it five stars due to its lackluster free plan.
Zoom logo
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Reliable performance
500+ participants at a time
Lackluster free plan

Zoom has become so popular in the past couple of months that it has joined the pantheon of brand names that somehow became verbs. Along with Uber, Netflix, and Google, FaceTime, Zoom has become a verb. You’re not going to video call your friend later, you’re going to Zoom them later. Zoom has arrived.

Zoom deserves its popularity due to its impressive performance, overall stability, and wide array of features, but its popularity has also been something of a double-edged sword. Security issues have plagued Zoom with its rise to popularity, but it’s quickly working to patch up the security holes. In part of Zoom’s goal to improve its security over the next 90 days, Zoom acquired a digital security company. Here’s hoping we see a dramatic decline in Zoombombing.

Let’s jump into the Zoom review.

Pros

  • Huge meeting capacities
  • Impressive features

Cons

  • Lackluster free plan

Zoom’s huge meeting capacities

You can have a whopping 500 people on a video call at once.

Zoom has, by far, the highest meeting capacity out of all the major video conferencing platforms. You can have 500 people on at a time in a Zoom call, and the system won’t skip a beat. We tested a meeting that had approximately 450 people on the call, and the system worked beautifully. The audio and video came in clearly, and screen sharing worked as it should.

If you’re looking for a video conference app for a large company to use, then Zoom makes a lot of sense. You can probably get your entire company on the same call, which really helps for companies working remotely.

Zoom’s conference capacities vs. its competitors’

Compare Zoom’s maximum participant capacity against the rest of the field. It’s kind of like comparing Michael Jordan to the rest of the NBA (especially after watching The Last Dance documentary).

Comparing video conference capacities
Video conference appMax meeting participants
Zoom500
Skype50
Google Meet/Hangouts250
Microsoft Teams250
Zoho100
Webex200
Wire4

Zoom doubles what other video conference apps can do. Kind of like how LeBron James has three championships and Michael Jordan doubled him with six. The resemblance is honestly uncanny.

Zoom’s reliable and stable performance

Expect a smooth streaming experience.

Out of the video conferencing apps we’ve tested, Zoom had the most reliable performance. Zoom has, on average, the least amount of latency and highest frame rates we could get out of an internet connection.

Zoom latency stats

Okay, so what do all those numbers mean? The main stat that you want to worry about is your latency rate. Latency refers to how long it takes for you to send and receive audio/video data during a Zoom call. In my case, it takes 17 milliseconds from when I say something until it ends up being heard on the call. Then it takes 24 milliseconds for me to see what other people are saying and doing.

According to tech-company-juggernaut Cisco (who owns Webex), anything less than a 250-millisecond latency is acceptable for video conferencing.1 If 250 milliseconds is still considered acceptable, then 17 milliseconds should be considered olympic. That’s the best word I could think of. [Editor’s note: It’s a good one.]

Reviews.org Zoom Chat

The Reviews.org team experiences very little latency during team meetings with Zoom. Note: Some of these pictures are probably not their subjects’ ideal image of themselves!

Zoom’s other impressive features

Screen sharing, chat functions, virtual backgrounds, the list goes on.

We’ve been using Zoom for the past couple of years at Reviews.org, and we’re still finding cool new features.

Did you know that you can mute everyone else on the call if you’re the host? You just need to hit ⌘Cmd+Ctrl+M on Mac, or Alt+M on PC, and your meeting just got a lot quieter. Taking out all of that ambient noise can make for a much more focused meeting.

Here are some of our other favorite Zoom features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Chat function
  • Camera and audio control
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Meeting recording capabilities
  • Unlimited chat time (for paid accounts)
  • Portrait and gallery views
  • Easy-invite URL codes
Zoom Background Example

This is one virtual background option that has been making its way around the team.

Honestly, if you’re wondering what Zoom is capable of, just navigate to the Zoom options to get an idea.

Zoom Video Settings

You can even select an option to touch up your appearance while on a Zoom call. Just think, that’s the best I can look even after using the beauty filter. It will probably work better for you.

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How do I keep my Zoom conference calls safe?
There’s some extra precautions you can take to improve your security on Zoom, like creating secure meeting passwords and turning off guest screen sharing. We can all live without being Zoombombed, thank you very much.

Which devices are compatible with Zoom?

Zoom is compatible with almost everything.

Zoom makes itself available on basically every platform you can imagine. Okay, maybe you can’t Zoom on your Tamagotchi (yet), but you can on pretty much every other device you have with a screen and an internet connection.

Here’s a complete list of everything compatible with Zoom:

Supported operating systems

  • macOS X with macOS 10.7 or later
  • Windows 10
    • Note: For devices running Windows 10, they must run Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise. S Mode is not supported.
  • Windows 8 or 8.1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista with SP1 or later
  • Windows XP with SP3 or later
  • Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
  • Mint 17.1 or higher
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 or higher
  • Oracle Linux 6.4 or higher
  • CentOS 6.4 or higher
  • Fedora 21 or higher
  • OpenSUSE 13.2 or higher
  • ArchLinux (64-bit only)

Supported tablet and mobile devices

  • Surface PRO 2 or higher running Win 8.1 or higher
    • Note: For tablets running Windows 10, they must run Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise. S
  • Mode is not supported.
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

As you can tell, Zoom covers its bases when it comes to computers, browsers, phones, and tablets. Eventually, we’d love to see Zoom come to streaming devices like Apple TV, or just straight to Smart TVs. No other video conference app has figured this out yet, but maybe Zoom can be the one to pull it off.

Which Zoom plan is the best?

A video conferencing app fit for a whole company—of one or hundreds

You definitely get the most value by going with the Business or Enterprise Zoom packages, both of which cost $19.99 a month per user.

Zoom plans
PlanPrice*Max meeting participantsCloud recording storageLearn more
Basic (Free)Free100NoneView Plans
Pro$14.99/mo.1001 GBView Plans
Business$19.99/mo.3001 GBView Plans
Enterprise$19.99/mo.500UnlimitedView Plans

*Prices are per user

The Pro Zoom plan (the cheapest paid option) costs $14.99 a month per user and only allows 100 people on a call at a time. You might as well use the free version of Webex and get 100 people on a call. Along with the lower capacity, the Pro Zoom plan also strips down some of the best features, like scheduling and cloud recording transcripts.

If you’re going to go with Zoom, go with the Business or Enterprise plans.

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What’s the difference between the Business and Enterprise plans?
Both of these plans cost $19.99 a month per user, but the Enterprise plan allows for 500 participants, and the Business plan only allows for 300. The price for the plans may be the same per user, but the Enterprise plan requires at least 100 users, and the Business plan only requires only at least 10 users. So you’ll pay at least $1,999 a month with the Enterprise plan, and at least $199.99 a month for the Business plan when you add up all the users.

Zoom’s lackluster free plan

If you just plan on using the free version of Zoom, you can find better alternatives out there. The biggest wart with the free Zoom plan is that your calls will always end at the 40-minute mark. You can always restart your meeting after it shuts down, but that means everyone needs to reopen the Zoom meeting. That’s annoying for at least two reasons:

  1. Free Zoom meetings tend to shut down right as someone is making a good point (at least, in our experience).
  2. It can be a pain to find the Zoom link and get everyone back in the meeting.

If you can live with meetings shutting down on you after 40 minutes, then you still get all the awesome features and user experience of Zoom for free.

How does Zoom pricing compare to the competition?

Decent premium plan, mediocre basic plan

Zoom compares decently well with other video conferencing apps in terms of price for premium plans. However, Zoom’s basic plan costs more than the average basic plan.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down for some of the most popular video conferencing apps:

Zoom price comparison
ProviderPrice
Zoom$14.99–$19.99/mo.
Google Meet/Hangouts$6–$25/mo.
Microsoft Teams$5–$20.00/mo.
Zoho$8–$63
Webex$5–$9/mo.
$13.50–$26.95
Wire$5–$9/mo.

Zoom maxes out at $19.99 a month per person, as opposed to Google Hangouts maxing out at $25 a month per person and Webex maxing out at $26.95 a month per person. Zoom allows you to get more participants in a meeting than you could with Google Hangouts or Webex, and it costs a few less dollars every month.

What kind of internet connection do I need for Zoom?

Zoom still requires a reliable internet connection.

Zoom will get the most out of your internet connection, but you still need to hold up your end of the bargain. The average Zoom call will take somewhere between 540MB and 1.62 GB of data per hour, so you’ll want an internet connection that can dedicate at least 5 Mbps to a Zoom call.

If your internet is at its capacity and can’t seem to reliably stream a Zoom call, you might want to check if there are any better internet providers in your area. Our internet expert Catherine says that Xfinity internet will give you the most bang for your buck.

Best Internet Provider
Xfinity Internet - West
Upload speeds:
22000 Mbps
Download speeds:
152000 Mbps
Starting at $24.99 a month

Enter your ZIP code below to see what internet providers you have in your neighborhood.

Find the best Internet Providers in your area.

Recap: Is Zoom worth it?

It has the best performance, but security issues hold it back.

Zoom’s meeting capacity limits outclass every other video conferencing app, and its features are as good and better. It’s clear that Zoom is determined to increase its security, but with such a big target on its back, one can’t help but wonder if Zoom will continually be the focus of internet anarchists. Zoom has committed to improving its security over the next 90 days, so you might want to wait a while before mentioning any social security numbers or other sensitive information over a Zoom call.

  • Plans: Zoom offers three paid plans, and the plan you choose will depend on how many Zoom hosts you want. Both the Enterprise and Business Zoom plans cost $19.99 a month per user, but the Enterprise plan requires at least 100 hosts (totalling at least $1,999 per month), and the Business plan requires at least 10 users (totalling at least $199.99 a month). Check out the table below to compare and contrast Zoom plans.
Zoom plans
PlanPrice*Max meeting participantsCloud recording storageLearn more
Basic (Free)Free100NoneView Plans
Pro$14.99/mo.1001 GBView Plans
Business$19.99/mo.3001 GBView Plans
Enterprise$19.99/mo.500UnlimitedView Plans
  • Performance: Zoom offers top-notch performance that should get the most out of your internet. You can expect a low amount of latency on your calls, meaning there shouldn’t be tons of lag between what you see and hear.

What has your experience been using Zoom? Please share if you’ve had any Zoombombing stories (we promise we’ll share if it ever happens to us). Do you have any questions we didn’t cover in our Zoom review? Let us know in the comments below.