Zoom meeting software review
Zoom's popularity is soaring in the coronavirus pandemic, but what are the pros and cons of this video conferencing software? Is it right for you?
So commonly used it’s become a verb – “Want to Zoom?” – the virtual meeting software Zoom has a few tiers, although you get a lot with the free version. Here’s how to get the best out of basic Zoom, and what the other options offer.
VIDEO: How to schedule a Zoom meeting
How to set up a Zoom meeting
- Open the Zoom app
- Click on “Schedule Meeting”. You get 40 minutes with the free version of Zoom
- Choose whether you want audio, video or both
- Choose which calendar you want your meeting in
- Add the meeting to your calendar
- Add guests
- If you’re joining a meeting, click on the Zoom ID
- Enable audio and video
- Away you go
How does a Zoom meeting work?
Zoom is a web-based video conferencing platform – a virtual meeting room you can use on desktop or mobile. Each meeting has an ID in a link for the guests to click on to join the meeting, and each guest can choose whether to use video or just audio (useful for those tricky-time-zone meetings when you’re in your pyjamas). Everyone can share their screen (in turns) and you can record the meeting, too. All this is included in the free version of Zoom. Paid-for versions allow for longer meetings, more participants and extra features.
How popular is Zoom?
After the UK went into lockdown, searches for Zoom in the UK soared. In fact, the popularity of the search term on 1 June, 2020, was 10 times the figure on 1 March, 2020, in the UK, reflecting similar trends worldwide. This spike led to massive interest in buying Zoom shares. Finder has created a guide for those who want to buy shares in Zoom (capital at risk).
The quality of a Zoom meeting call
Flexibility in how your group connects is a huge plus for Zoom, which supports native clients on PC, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS/iPadOS, as well as a web-only experience if there are users who can’t or won’t install the Zoom Meetings app itself. As a guest rather than a host, you’re likely to be better off on the dedicated app than the web client, as there are often more issues with core video and audio when connecting that way.
Rather predictably, Zoom lives and dies on the strength of your group’s broadband connections. When it’s good, Zoom can fly. When you’ve got group members with shaky connections, expect difficulties. If you experience lag time or blips in quality, it’s sometimes worth experimenting with disabling video if you can get by with audio only.
Zoom pricing and availability in the UK
Zoom is best known for its user-friendly video conferencing platform, Zoom Meetings, which includes screen-sharing and live messaging. You can use the surprisingly full-featured Basic plan of Zoom for free. If you need more than the free version can offer, there are several paid-for options to choose from, starting from £11.99 a month per host. The right plan for you will depend on the size and scope of your business.
|Monthly plan, per host||Free||£11.99||£15.99||from £15.99|
|Video meeting||All features of the Basic plan, plus:||All features of the Pro plan, plus:||All features of the Business plan, plus:|
|Account management||All features of the Basic plan, plus:||All features of the Pro plan, plus:||All features of the Business plan, plus:|
Is Zoom safe to use?
The surge in people using Zoom as a result of the coronavirus lockdown has highlighted some security and privacy concerns from users of the app.
One of the ways in which people have been abusing the service is by “Zoombombing”, which is where someone joins a meeting for the purpose of sharing their screen and displaying offensive material to the participants. Other complaints have included the company sharing users’ data with Facebook, and meeting hosts being able to track attendees.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan responded to these concerns in early April 2020, saying the breaches were due to the company being unable to deal with the huge increase in new users. The company says it is now taking extensive steps to tackle the problem, including freezing the development of new features to focus on safety and privacy and holding a weekly webinar to provide privacy and security updates.
Fixing all of the issues might take some time, and so it’s up to each of the company’s 200 million global users to decide whether the potential risks are worth it.
Zoom UK customer reviews
Customer reviews for Zoom are largely positive. In the Google Play store, the app has 4 out of 5 stars, based on more than 90,000 reviews. In the App Store, it has 4.6 out of 5 stars, based on more than 124,000 reviews. Customers particularly love the ease of use and ability to communicate with a poor Internet connection.
Compare Zoom against its competitors
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Pros and cons of Zoom
- Wide variety of pricing plans
- Supports multi-screen sharing and private chat
- Works across several device types
- Can suffer under bad bandwidth conditions
- Only as intuitive as its users
Zoom has many fans and it’s not hard to see why. The barrier to entry is literally nothing, and the service you get for free is very robust. Some small businesses could get by almost entirely without sending a penny Zoom’s way.
Equally, there’s plenty of value that larger businesses will find on its paid plans.
The basic plan is a good place to determine if Zoom is right for your needs, compared to services such as Google Hangouts, Skype and others. But for many, Zoom will likely be more than enough, and at a competitive price.
Frequently asked questions
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