When looking for a video chat app for you and your family and friends, don't expect to click on and catch up without a little groundwork.
In an effort to find the best solution for a casual virtual catch-up, we selected a range of the most commonly available group video apps and collected user feedback using CHOICE staff for a series of video group chat sessions.
We selected a range of the most commonly available free group video apps so we could see which ones provide the best experience.
Our CHOICE testers hold an online video call and then get user feedback on video and audio quality across a variety of mobile devices and computers. They then collate the results and incorporate the data with their own assessment of the ease of use aspects including installing, using and deleting the app off your system.
The triallists use each app in a video chat on a device of their choosing, and provide feedback on audio and video quality, ease of use and general comments. Our CHOICE testers also look at each app and assess how well each one deals with any privacy and permission aspects, as well as deleting the app from your system. We also assess Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android versions.
In our most recent video chat apps review, all of the apps we looked at were free to use, with some restrictions for some products such as time or participant limits. We didn't test the paid versions of apps. While we gathered general data about each app's security claims, we didn't conduct a security test or score this aspect.
Audio and video performance
The triallists use each app in a video chat and provide feedback on audio and video quality. The average results for audio and video determine the performance score.
Ease of use
Our tester looks at the various aspects that help make a video chat hassle-free, including the ability to easily mute yourself, mute others in the video chat, using the app while working on something else and changing the video layout grid.
We look at how good the experience is when using the app for the first time. Are you left confused and stressed? Or can you click on the video chat and start enjoying your meeting straight away?
How easy is it to wipe the app off your computer and out of your life when you're finished with it? Some apps keep bugging you with notifications and begging you to come back.
Our testers record the amount of data used during a 30-minute video chat session.
The overall score is made up of:
- audio and video performance (50%)
- ease of use (40%)
- first use score (5%)
- account cancellation score (5%).
We also publish the results from the data consumption test but it doesn't contribute to the overall score.