The Best Video Chat Apps to Stay Connected
By Nicholas Sinclair | April 17, 2020
Okay, yes, we’re all locked inside now but who said we must do it alone? It’s 2020! We don’t need to see each other. The internet is a marvellous thing and in this week’s student life, we’re going to discuss the best video sharing apps to keep you connected this “stay-at-home” season.
Now, when it comes to choosing an app, it’s all about why you’re using it. Is it personal? Is it for work? Or, are you just trying to have a little fun amid the chaos? Whatever your reason, we’re here to help you stay connected, motivated and social!
Just a Bit of Casual Banter
For those of us that just want something easy and simple, look no further than the pre-installed apps on your mobile devices!
This is one we should all be familiar with. Anyone with an Apple device is going to be well acquainted with Facetime. This is the app that started it all for mobile users and has held the flaming torch, leading the way ever since.
This app supports up to 32 people in a video call! However, the more people involved, the harder it is to hear everyone. It also supports audio calls with Facetime Audio, making chatting over the phone simple and easy. Not to mention it’s all done through Wi-Fi or cellular data, so you don’t have to worry about using up all your credit on lengthy video/audio calls.
Android’s response to Facetime works surprisingly well. It’s easy to use and accessible on most devices, including Apple’s IOS, so your friends using iPhones will have no excuse not to stay in contact.
With Duo, you can also record and send video messages, which adds an extra dimension to your video calling ability. The only real downside to this app is that you’re limited to eight people per video call. But to be honest, that’s more than enough. Unless you’re holding business meetings or seminars any more than eight people becomes chaotic
Depending on the type of person you are, this is probably the most accessible of all the casual video calling apps. This is because most of us are already connected to Facebook. All long as you’ve got a Facebook account and the Messenger app is installed, you’re good to go, and (most likely) so are your friends!
Whilst you can have up to 50 people in a video call, Facebook Messenger does lack more work-friendly features, so that’s why it’s better suited for casual interactions.
Best All-Rounders - Work and Play
Zoom is one of the best video sharing apps. Not only does it work on all devices, but it also works as a desktop client without needing to be installed. Zoom has a more general scope compared to other video sharing apps. It’s great for communicating with both friends and work colleagues, if there are up to three people in the chat, the app’s features are completely free.
However, once there are more than three people in the chat your call times are capped to 40 minutes. If you want the full features for up to 50 people, it’s going to cost $15.00 a month. But for what you get, this app is well worth it, whether you the get the free or paid version.
Skype is probably the most well-known platform in the industry, offering a massive 50-person limit which is freely available. Skype is available on all platforms including IOS, Android and browser clients so you can always stay connected.
International calls and texts are supported, providing a great way to stay connected with friends and family no matter where they are. If you need live transcription, translation or screen sharing, Skype has you covered. They also offer a paid version called ‘Microsoft Teams’, which is geared towards businesses and their needs, but you won’t need that if you’re planning to talk to family and friends.
Discord is a video chat platform most used in gaming. Whilst it’s often used for general video and audio chats it’s also great for live streaming the games you’re playing. It covers group chats and private chats and is full of customisable emojis, gifs and little quirks to keep you entertained. Like many of the other video chat platforms, it’s available on Android, IOS and as a desktop client.
Regardless of how you plan to spend your time over the coming weeks and months, these 9 simple steps will help you make the most of it.
Just After a Little Fun
If you’re looking for something a little more ‘fun’. Then House Party is a great option for keeping your social life going during this stay-at-home period. The app is based around the idea of a House Party and unlike many of the other apps on this list, it’s got a very informal feeling to it. Instead of being formally invited to join in conversations, it’s much more spontaneous. It allows people to pop in and pop out of chat rooms, play interactive games and have a bit of all-round fun. With up to 8 people in a chat room, it’s fun and inclusive but not overbearing.
A universal contender for the best video-sharing app, WhatsApp, has been around a long time and has one of the largest numbers of active users, just behind Facebook and YouTube. It’s also notably one of the most secure apps as it has end-to-end encryption that means your messages are safe from prying eyes.
WhatsApp has been designed to be very easy to use, allowing you to slide easily from video to audio to basic messaging. If you want to quickly and easily stay connected to friends and family, WhatsApp is a great option.
Considered the Discord of mobile games, Bunch is aimed at people who want the social aspect of gaming but in a more portable format. Now that so many people game on their mobile devices, it was about time that someone designed something like this for the market. Bunch has a similar feel to House Party but takes mobile gaming with friends to a whole new level. If you and your friends play together from your phones, this is a good one to try out.
So, which of these video sharing apps would you use to stay connected? With a list like this, you can’t go wrong. All of these apps are unique and offer different ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones during this “stay-at-home” season. Don’t take our word for it, dive in and test them out!