Microsoft Teams offers the level of quality and feature set we’d recommend to any organization looking for a video conferencing tool. But this isn’t just a video conferencing tool, and that’s why it’s more effective than the bulk of its competitors.
Rather than combine video and audio conferencing with separate tools for chat and team collaboration, with Teams, you get everything in one powerful digital workspace.
And in terms of performance and breadth of features available for both conferencing and collaboration, other collaborative platforms just don’t match up.
We think Teams is a no-brainer for Microsoft shops (you’ll be pleased to find it’s made significant improvements on Skype for Business) and well worth considering as a standalone tool within other ecosystems as well.
Compare Microsoft Teams to The Best Video Conferencing Software
Microsoft Teams ranks high on our list of top video conferencing software as the best video conferencing tool for large businesses. Although it serves any size company well, Teams is designed to support large organizations (up to 10,000 users) distributed across multiple channels and locations and offers the most generous plans for enterprise users. See all of our top picks along with in-depth research on how Microsoft Teams stacks up against alternatives.
Microsoft Teams: The Good and The Bad
All your apps in one place: Teams provides everything you need for messaging, conferencing, and file sharing—all under one roof, no matter the size of your business. Maybe you’re used to combining Slack with Zoom because individually, they excel at instant messaging and video conferencing, respectively. But Teams does both extremely well, and there’s very little that other conferencing tools do that Teams cannot do. The usability makes an all-in-one solution much easier than buying and switching between disparate tools.
Seamless integrations: Teams plays well with the entire ecosystem of Microsoft products and syncs with hundreds of non-Microsoft products you might be using to run your business on a day-to-day basis, from product management platforms like Jira to social media marketing apps. This further saves time switching between tools. I find the Outlook calendar integration particularly useful—get reminders for scheduled meetings and a single view of all meetings, which you can join from your calendar in one click.
Full-featured conferencing: As I said, this isn’t just a video conferencing tool, yet it’s one hell of a video conferencing tool in its own right. It offers everything you would expect from a mature product—customizable virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, whiteboarding, hand raising, the ability to pin participants to your main view—and then some. Preview your video before joining a call. Use Dark Mode to reduce eye strain. Dial into audio conferencing when you don’t have wifi access. The noise suppression settings cancel background noise when working from home. Another feature we love is the ability to review chats during calls because, in other tools, in-meeting chats disappear after the call.
Good quality and reliability: Arguably, the best thing about Teams as a video conferencing solution is the video and audio quality. The app is powerful yet light and doesn’t consume huge amounts of data for good quality audio and video. It runs on all operating systems and device types equally well (functionality isn’t quite the same between desktop and mobile, but performance is equal). In our tests, we found that Teams stood up to even lower quality network connection and rigorous use of video and screen sharing without crashing. For paid versions of Teams, Microsoft promises a 99.9% uptime rate.
Organized and focused chat capabilities: Many companies use Teams just for instant messaging, and this feature is also one of the best in its class. As with conferencing, Teams chat includes functionality ranging from the useful to the exceptional—email-like threaded conversations, powerful search, integration with Skype, the ability to pin chats to keep important conversations top of mind and easily accessible. Take the Team channels feature. Using channels, you can categorize conversations based on topic without creating groups, or you can intentionally create groups to share messages and files with the right people rather than copy folks into irrelevant emails.
Solid security: This is Microsoft. Need we say more? You can rest assured your business and customer data is safe with Microsoft, with data encryption offered at a minimum. The paid tiers provide more advanced security tools (mapped to Azure Active Directory for single sign-on, two-factor authentication)—ideal for companies that need to store and secure large amounts of data. Teams also enables you to restrict document access for private document sharing among authorized users.
Fast support: If you have any problems, support will generally connect with you and resolve the issue quickly. They’re happy to connect via screen share for added clarity. Microsoft also offers a great deal of training to help users make the most out of the tool.
Easy to use externally: Unlike many other video conferencing tools we’ve tried, Teams will remind external participants to join. And there’s no need for external guests to register an account nor download the desktop app to join the call. They can easily join from the web (albeit with slightly reduced functionality) with just one click.
Somewhat complicated navigation: Your opinion on the user interface of Teams likely hinges on your technical ability. Personally, I think it’s relatively simple—especially when you consider it’s so highly integrated—but it’s not terribly modern compared to competing tools and definitely could be better organized and more user-friendly. The navigation isn’t always intuitive. You might find yourself clicking through multiple tabs and breadcrumbs to locate something. And folks with less technical knowledge might have trouble accessing certain features of the app. That said, however complicated Teams seems at first to some users, it’s easy enough to get used to.
Chat functionality: Again, it depends on your experience. If you’re comparing Teams with Slack, you’ll probably be disappointed. Yes, Teams includes emojis, GIFs, stickers, and other fun chat features, but feels subpar compared to Slack, which is superior in its capabilities for group chat, chat history backup, and some other features (you might notice not all emojis are available in Teams, for example). Competing solutions aside, I’m confident Teams chat capabilities are more than sufficient for most people.
Confusing file structure: This comes back to organization and usability. Teams allows for easy file sharing, integrates with Microsoft 365, and can even serve as storage for files and message attachments. Yet I wish its file management system was more intuitive—the organizational structure can be confusing, and again, it’s not always easy to find files. Recordings are a great example. They’re stored in Microsoft Stream, which isn’t always readily accessible, and I’d prefer to be able to download recordings to a local folder.
Imperfect screen sharing: The ability to share your screen and remote controls is a useful feature for remote collaboration, but other tools do this better. For some reason, when sharing an individual application or window in a Teams call, the screen edges aren’t quite visible. You can remedy this by sharing the entire desktop, but that doesn’t necessarily allow for privacy. Teams is also a bit glitchy when trying to give screen controls to other participants during a meeting.
Requires good RAM and processor speed: This may not be a problem for you, but Teams takes a lot of RAM to work and has been known to operate on the slower side compared with other tools. We’ve found it to be a bit buggy after certain upgrades and will occasionally need a system reboot. It can also be slow to sync with Outlook. Still, minor annoyances in the context of the platform’s superior performance in general.
Microsoft Teams Pricing and Options
Microsoft Teams Pricing
The basic version of Teams is free, but it’s limited. If you’re a business thinking of trying Teams for free, you might be surprised to find that it doesn’t include critical capabilities, like meeting recording and administrative tools. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend the free version to most businesses—it’s designed more for personal use. Expect to need to upgrade to get the most business value out of it. (Note that all paid plans require an annual commitment.)
To upgrade, you have to buy a Microsoft 365 for Business package that includes Teams in the product suite. That gives you three options:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic — $5 per user per month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard — $12.50 per user per month
- Microsoft Office 365 E3 — $20 per user per month
Teams can get expensive, but we think it’s fairly priced for the number of features and participants you can accommodate. Let’s take a look at what you get.
Microsoft Teams Meetings and Calling
Teams’ conferencing solution includes everything you need for high-quality audio and video calls, even at the free tier. With the free plan, you get up to 100 participants and a 60-minute maximum meeting duration—more than many companies will need. You just don’t get to record your calls. If that’s important to you, you can upgrade for 300 participants and 24 hours at the middle tiers and 10,000 participants at the enterprise level.
One key benefit to note: There’s no minimum capacity like some other providers require.
However, other providers offer video conferencing as a standalone solution. Some include specialized capabilities for running webinars and trainings for lead generation. If you need either of those, Teams probably shouldn’t be the only solution on your shortlist.
Microsoft Teams Chat and Collaboration
The free plan is okay for light file sharing, but 2GB per user and 10GB file storage across all teams might run out quicker than you think. 1TB is much more reasonable for most organizations, and unlimited file attachments in the enterprise plan will be a boon for any large organization storing and retrieving files across departments.
Microsoft Teams Productivity Apps and Services
In terms of connectivity to other Microsoft apps and services, the free plan includes only Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and only the web versions—no desktop access. This is not ideal for companies using the full suite of Microsoft products. Again, the enterprise plan is generous here and throws in unlimited personal cloud storage, and provides your customers the ability to manage and schedule meetings on a self-service basis.
Microsoft Teams Security and Compliance
It’s good to know Microsoft doesn’t discriminate here—all plans get data encryption at a minimum, and all paid plans include the same advanced level of security (apart from additional eDiscovery capabilities for the enterprise that allow you to run a search for Teams chat content—useful for companies in regulated industries or big legal departments).
The only glaring downside is that the free plan doesn’t come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which other tools we’ve tried can guarantee.
Microsoft Teams Administration and Support
The free plan does not include administration tools for managing users and apps, nor round-the-clock phone and web support, as the paid plans do.
If you’re choosing between the paid plans, again, these features shouldn’t be deal-breakers—they’re about the same across plans. The extras are only really useful for the enterprise: access to equivalent on-premises servers for companies that need it while migrating to the cloud, and FastTrack deployment support to help onboard and drive user adoption among large or distributed teams.
Comparing The Best Video Conferencing Software
Still not sure if Teams is for you? Head over to our full in-depth review to compare it with best-in-their-class alternatives:
- RingCentral – Best video conferencing software for most
- Zoho Meeting – Best for simple webinars at a budget-friendly price
- Microsoft Teams – Best video conferencing tool for large businesses
- Vectera – Best for branded 1:1 video calls with customers & clients
- Livestorm – Best if you focus heavily on webinars and live events
The bottom line: Microsoft Teams is a solid choice, especially if you’re already using Microsoft products. If not, it’s a potent solution still for larger organizations and corporations. See what you can do with the free plan or a trial of the paid services, though, before committing to the annual subscription. We don’t think there’s a better collaborative workspace for large companies at the moment, and you can trust Microsoft to keep improving it—unified collaboration looks to be the way of the future, and Microsoft is certainly at the cutting edge.
Good quality and reliability: Arguably, the best thing about Teams as a video conferencing solution is the video and audio quality. The app is powerful yet light and doesn't consume huge amounts of data for good quality audio and video.What is new in MS Teams 2022? ›
With Microsoft Whiteboard's Collaborative Annotations, everyone in a meeting can add notes simultaneously on a shared screen in a Teams meeting. You'll need to share your full screen in Teams, then select Start annotation. Everyone can add notes, shapes, text, and reactions on what you're sharing.
- ClickUp. ClickUp is the world's leading project management and team communication tool. ...
- Zoom. Zoom is a video conferencing tool that lets you send instant messages alongside your calls. ...
- Google Meet. ...
- Rocket. ...
- Cisco Webex Teams. ...
- Brosix. ...
- Pumble. ...
Zoom's meeting capacity is higher at 1,000 max participants versus Microsoft Team's 300 max meeting participant allowance. File storage varies by provider plan; Zoom's top plan offers unlimited file storage, while Microsoft Team caps storage at 1 TB per organization and 10 GB per license.What are four 4 potential disadvantages of working in Teams? ›
Working in teams carry the potential risk of inefficient communication, complex, sometimes too long lasting decision processes and personal conflicts. Also dysfunctions, like group losses, social loafing, group thinking and risk-shifting are a part of any team.What are 10 common problems found in Teams? ›
- Poor Communication. ...
- Zero Trust. ...
- Underlying Tension. ...
- Minimum Interaction or Engagement. ...
- No Long-Term Planning. ...
- No Milestones or Team Recognition. ...
- Bad Curveball Management. ...
- Conflicting Goals.
If the diagnostic doesn't detect an issue, check whether the user's Teams client is running the latest update. Select the Settings and more menu next to the user's profile picture at the top right of the Teams window, and then select Check for updates. The desktop app is configured to update automatically.How long will Microsoft Teams be away? ›
The 'Away' status can be set manually, and it can be set automatically but there is no way for users to decide the 'time out' period for it. It's set for 5 mins and there's nothing to change it which is why a custom message is needed to override it.Is Teams better than Outlook? ›
And unlike Outlook, Microsoft Teams allows you to see your tasks on both your computer and mobile. Round winner: Microsoft Teams wins hands down when it comes to task management, as it provides better visibility and collaboration.What is so good about Microsoft Teams? ›
Improved collaboration and communication
Thanks to the tight integration with Office 365, you don't need to switch apps when you need to collaborate on a document. You can create the Word, Excel or PowerPoint document in Teams, immediately share it with your coworkers and then co-author within a blink of an eye.
- Class (teacher-led team featuring assignments)
- Professional Learning Community (PLC) (peer-led educator working group)
- Staff (leader-led for management, administration, etc.)
- Other (clubs, study groups, and extracurriculars)
Mesh for Teams
In the future, Microsoft will integrate Teams with Mesh, which means that users will be able to perform Teams actions inside VR. Accenture already has a virtual office campus in Mesh, called the Nth Floor.
For situations that require heightened confidentiality, Teams offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for one-on-one calls. With E2EE, call information is encrypted at its origin and decrypted at its intended destination so that no information can be decrypted between those points.What's better than Microsoft Teams? ›
2 – Zoom is the post-pandemic favorite Teams alternative
What's not so well-known is that Zoom is much more than a video platform. Zoom Team Chat also enables you to manage your conversations with messaging, groups, and channels. This makes it a genuine Microsoft Teams alternative – not just for video.
We have data on 25,131 companies that use Microsoft Teams. The companies using Microsoft Teams are most often found in United States and in the Information Technology and Services industry. Microsoft Teams is most often used by companies with 50-200 employees and 1M-10M dollars in revenue.Which is better Google or Microsoft Teams? ›
Google Meet offers a whopping 15GB of cloud storage per user, while Microsoft Teams provides 5GB of free cloud storage per user. Offers across paid plans on both platforms look quite similar. Microsoft Teams has a slight edge over Google Meet in terms of more competitive pricing.Does Teams have a time limit? ›
Microsoft Teams meetings have a time limit of 30 hours.Does Microsoft Teams free have a time limit? ›
For how long can I meet? Meet one-on-one for up to 30 hours or with a group for up to 60 minutes in the free version of Teams. Upgrade to Teams Essentials for group meetings of up to 30 hours.Do I have to pay to use Microsoft Teams? ›
Microsoft Teams is designed for everyone. Get started for free, get more with Teams Essentials, or get Teams as part of Microsoft 365.What kinds of problems can teams have? ›
- Lack of clarity. ...
- Trust issues. ...
- Personality conflicts. ...
- Withholding information. ...
- Lack of communication. ...
- Reduced engagement. ...
- Excessive staff numbers. ...
- Interior competition.
Key Takeaway. Barriers to effective teams include the challenges of knowing where to begin, dominating team members, the poor performance of team members, and poorly managed team conflict.What are 3 cons negatives of working in groups? ›
- Unequal Participation: ...
- Intrinsic Conflict: ...
- No Individual thinking: ...
- Decision making takes time: ...
- Easy to avoid work: ...
- Loss of Creativity: ...
- Time Consuming: ...
- Inequality in getting work:
- Lack Of Trust Between Team Members. Mutual trust between team members is the foundation to success. ...
- Poor Communication. ...
- Role Confusion. ...
- Interpersonal Conflict. ...
- Tackling Poor Performance. ...
- Over Dependence On The Team Leader. ...
- Poor Work Environment. ...
- Ineffective Team Meetings.
Teams automatically changes your status to Away when your computer enters sleep or idle mode. The same thing happens when you lock your PC. The program takes these signals as proof of your unavailability and changes your status accordingly.Is Microsoft Teams getting hacked? ›
Microsoft Teams has multiple vulnerabilities that hackers are known to be exploiting, but it's also likely to have others that aren't public knowledge. Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform that's part of the Microsoft 365 family of products.Did Microsoft Teams get hacked? ›
According to email security provider Avanan, hackers are infiltrating Microsoft Teams meetings and dropping links to malware in the chat.How do Teams stay permanently available? ›
Select your profile picture, select your current status, and then select Duration. Under Status, select the status you want to show going forward. Under Reset status after, select the amount of time you want that status to last.How does Microsoft Teams know if you are away? ›
Your current presence state changes to Away when you lock your computer or when your computer enters idle or sleep mode. On a mobile device, your presence status changes to Away whenever the Teams app is in the background. Users receive all chat messages sent to them in Teams regardless of their presence state.How do you keep your team status green 2022? ›
Keep Your Status on Available
Launch Microsoft Teams on your computer. Click on your Profile Icon (the top right corner). Click on Available. Then click on duration, and set the time you want to be presented as “Available.”
Teams changes your relationship with email. When your whole group is working in Teams, it means you'll all get fewer emails. And you'll spend less time in your inbox, because you'll use Teams for more of your conversations.
Email still has a vastly important role to play in office culture (for now) and can be used to supplement the internal communication you are having in Teams. The recommendation we have is that if communication must go outside the company or has the potential to go outside the company, use email.Can Microsoft Teams replace email? ›
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that can replace email applications such as Outlook, for many purposes. It has chat capabilities, file sharing features, and meeting tools that make it an ideal replacement for Outlook in many cases.Why are companies switching to Microsoft Teams? ›
It allows your team members to collaborate more efficiently by segmenting them into different Teams and Channels. Despite the popularity of other collaboration tools such as Slack, Skype, and others, Microsoft Teams has become the preferred choice for business collaboration.What is the best way to use Microsoft Teams? ›
- Avoid duplicate team names. ...
- Set up naming conventions. ...
- Use chats for one-to-one messages and general channels for collaboration. ...
- Make important groups private to let the team focus on their work. ...
- Set up teams for each project. ...
- Familiarize your team with Folders and Files. ...
- Set up Notifications.
ellipsis button - Microsoft Style Guide | Microsoft Learn.Are there two versions of Microsoft Teams? ›
Plan. – Microsoft Teams is available in two different plans, the free plan and the paid version.Are there two types of Microsoft Teams? ›
In Microsoft Teams, teams are groups of people brought together for work, projects, or common interests. Teams are made up of two types of channels — standard (available and visible to everyone) and private (focused, private conversations with a specific audience).Is Microsoft a good company for 2022? ›
According to a new report from the company review site Comparably, Microsoft is the No. 1 global company with the best workplace culture. The annual ranking is based on anonymous employee ratings for 70,000 companies shared on their site over a 12-month period from March 2021 to March 2022.Is Microsoft Teams a security risk? ›
Cybersecurity research firm Vectra has found a major flaw in Microsoft's workplace-oriented messaging app, Microsoft Teams. The security loophole might impact several users if hackers manage to exploit it and potentially gain access to users' accounts and change their passwords.Are Teams messages private? ›
Private chats are only visible to those people in the chat. However, because Teams is a company-managed communication tool and retains a log of your conversations, you should assume that your company is recording your conversations and can have access to them in the future.
Users under this policy will be aware that their digital interactions with Teams are being recorded but will not be able to disable the recording and will not have access to the recording once the interaction is complete.