Staying Connected: Basics of Video Chat

Cary, NC — Stuck at home in Cary? Feeling isolated? Reconnect right now with friends, colleagues and family on video chat.

These are five of the most common, easy to use video chat platforms and a few tips to help you get started.

1. Skype

Available on: web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox, Alexa

Skype is a favored option of many users as it is available on just about every platform out there, no matter what phone or computer or browser you use.

Pro: Apps for just about everyone
Con: Some interface and connection annoyances

2. Facetime

Available on: macOS, iOS

Facetime is a platform exclusively accessible to Mac and iPhone users. It’s user-friendly, reliable and can allow multiple users, up to 32, simultaneously with its Group Facetime feature should you choose to initiate a reunion with the whole extended family.

Pro: Seamlessly integrated into Apple devices
Con: No capability to connect with non-Apple devices

3. Google Duo

Available on: web, Android, iOS, Google Nest

Known for its ease of use and a usually reliable video feed, Google Duo is a good option for people who do not have the same phone models. Alongside Skype, it’s also one of the few video calling apps you can use inside a web browser, making it a good choice for Chromebooks and on computers where you don’t want to install any extra software. Group video chats support a maximum of eight people.

Pro: A breeze to use
Con: Not packed with features

4. Facebook Messenger

Available on: web, Android, iOS, Portal

This just might be the easiest to get started up right away if you already have a Facebook account. This method doesn’t require downloading new software either as it can be accessed on the web or via the phone app. The Facebook Messenger app is available for Android and iOS. A whopping 50 people can get involved in the same video chat.

Pro: Pre-existing for Facebook users, no new account required
Con: Occasionally low video quality

5. WhatsApp Messenger

Available on: Android, iOS, Facebook Portal

Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger has risen in popularity for users to send instant messages back and forth using an internet connection. For those already using the app to chat with friends through the day, sliding into video chats is very easy. The downside with WhatsApp is that users can’t access video calling on the web, so it’s a no-go for Chromebooks and browser.

Pro: Solid, reliable calling
Con: No video calls on a web browser, only phones

Tips & Best Practices

  • Call from a quiet location with no background noise
  • Utilize a headset, headphones if you have them for best quality sound
  • Close blinds on windows so that you are easier to see
  • Make sure your device is well-charged or plugged in during the call
  • To look your best, you’ll need a light source that brightens your face, positioned in front of you

Story by Ashley Kairis. Featured image by H. Lira, other images courtesy of platform websites.

1 reply
  1. Brent
    Brent says:

    Good tips if you need to video chat, but keep in mind that bandwidth is at a premium while so many people are working from home.

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