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Facebook Messenger video chat app review

CHOICE Expert Rating

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CHOICE Expert rating

This is the product's overall performance score, based on key tests conducted by our industry experts in the CHOICE labs.

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Good points

The product's best features and benefits

Bad points

Drawbacks or issues you need to know about
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Recommended View more details.

We recommend video conferencing apps that score at least 80% overall.

Overall score View more details.

This overall score is made up of performance (audio and video) score (50%), ease of use score (40%), first use score (5%), and cancelling account score (5%).

Performance score View more details.

The triallists used each of the apps in a video chat and provided feedback on audio and video quality, ease of use and general comments. The results for audio and video determine the performance score. Triallists used a mixture of desktop and mobile devices.

Ease of use score View more details.

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, use the app while working on something else and change the video layout grid.

First use score View more details.

How good the experience is when using this app for the first time. Are you left confused and stressed or can you instantly click on the video chat and start enjoying your meeting straight away?

Cancel account score View more details.

How easy it is 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 begging you to come back.

Data usage for 30 minutes in MB View more details.

The amount of data consumed for a 30-minute video chat session. Our tester was unable to measure the data consumed on WhatsApp.

295
Pricing model View more details.

Free and freemium (paying for more features) are typically the available models of popular software. We test the free versions.

Free
Participant limit View more details.

The maximum number of people you can have in the chat.

e
50
Maximum on screen participants View more details.

While some apps allow many people to join, all have a limit as to how many you can show on the screen at one time. Most will rotate between participants and automatically bring them up when they're speaking.

9
End to end encryption View more details.

While we indicate which apps have stronger protection with end to end encryption, this feature may become available for each app in future updates. 

No
ID required View more details.

The ID sign-in may be the same as another app you use, such as Facebook, Apple or Google.

Facebook ID
Minimum required Android version
4
Minimum required iOS version
8
Minimum required Mac OS
10.12
Minimum required Windows OS
10
Hosting location View more details.

Indicates where the site is hosted which could affect performance and security. 

Facebook servers, 5+ countries
Privacy policy View more details.

This link will take you to the company privacy policy for using the app.

facebook.com/privacy/explanation
Website
messenger.com
Android View more details.

Whether the app can be used on Android devices.

Yes
iOS View more details.

Whether the app can be used on Apple devices.

Yes
iPad OS View more details.

Programs with a tick provide a version optimised for the iPad, rather than a direct port of the iPhone app.

Yes
Software for Windows View more details.

Whether there is desktop software for the app (rather than just accessing the service via a website).

Yes
Software for Mac OS View more details.

Whether there is desktop software for the app (rather than just accessing the service via a website).

Yes
Linux View more details.

Whether there is desktop software for the app (rather than just accessing the service via a website).

No
Web browser support View more details.

This is handy if the video chat app doesn't have a dedicated desktop version or if you can't/don't want to install it (e.g. if you're using a public computer).

Yes
Supporting app View more details.

Some conferencing apps can integrate with other programs to offer more features.

Instagram, Portal, Oculus
Speaker highlighting View more details.

Some apps provide a highlight bar or frame to let you know who's speaking, which can be handy when several people are in a group video chat.

Yes
Share screen View more details.

This is useful for presentations or when sorting out tech issues.

Yes
Virtual backgrounds View more details.

The option to set a still or moving image as your background. Most apps provide a selection of presets and the option to upload your own.

Yes (phone app only)
Fun filters View more details.

This feature lets you overlay your face and surroundings with fun or silly features such as sunglasses and puppy ears. Pick your audience when using these.

Yes (phone app only)
Games
Yes
Layout control View more details.

Some apps have a simple static video tile layout while others allow you to move the screens around.

Yes
Share files View more details.

The ability to share files among participants.

No
Transcripts View more details.

A copy of the meeting can be downloaded as text.

No
Record meetings with permission View more details.

Some apps can let the host to record the meeting without it being obvious to the other participants.

No
Host capabilities View more details.

Some apps allow the host to control the mute button on participants as well as remove people from the session.

Exclude attendees
Hand off to other device View more details.

This feature lets you move from one device to another (e.g. laptop to smartphone) without leaving the chat.

Yes
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