Video chat and online meeting tools have become part of our everyday life, and our tech-savvy readers have opinions about which ones are the best.

Most of us are spending more in-person time together since the height of the pandemic, but one thing we learned from our time apart is that it’s easy to connect, even when we’re not in the same physical location. Free and inexpensive video conferencing and online meeting tools let us stay connected anywhere, whether for a quick video chat with a loved one or a meeting with work colleagues. But these tools aren’t limited to video calls and meetings: Some let you provide remote tech support for a friend, and even listen to music, watch videos, and play games together. Best of all, no need to head home after your meetup—you’re already there.

In this month’s PCMag Readers’ Choice survey, readers rate their satisfaction with the video conferencing tools they prefer to use when initiating connections.

The Top Overall Video Conferencing Services for 2023


If you use an Apple device, the clear tool of choice for initiating video connections is Apple’s free FaceTime app. It earns our Readers’ Choice Award for the second year in a row.



Google’s platform-agnostic Meet works on every device you own so it shares our award with Apple. It’s the service most likely to be recommended by respondents and offers all the key features most people need for free—and even more robust features for a fee.



Post-pandemic, Zoom has become synonymous with online meetings. For those who require the added high-end features of a paid meeting tool, Zoom is our readers’ top pick.

This is the second year we surveyed our readers to understand their online meeting preferences. Our two winners from last year, Apple’s FaceTime and Zoom, win again this year. And this time, Google Meet joins them.

Apple FaceTime is available only as a free service. Specifically, though, it’s free when you buy into the Apple ecosystem with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. All of those devices can initiate a FaceTime call (including up to 32 people), though anyone with a browser can take part in the conversation via a link provided by the call initiator. Certain other features, such as shared movie watching, song listening, and gameplay, are limited to participants using Apple devices. (Note: Click the down, left, and right arrows in our interactive tables to view different question categories.)

When we look at all the services, combining free and paid (above), FaceTime receives the top ratings from our survey respondents on several measures, including overall satisfaction as well as satisfaction with reliability, ease of use, video quality, and sound quality. The scores are just as strong when we look at the free services alone.

Although FaceTime users on Apple devices can share their screens, few of us would confuse FaceTime for a true online meeting tool. If you need more meeting-oriented features than what FaceTime offers, or if you aren’t an Apple product owner, our readers’ overall recommendation is Google Meet. It works on every kind of device, including Windows PCs and Android-based phones, as well as Macs and iPhones. That’s another reason we’re giving it an award.

Meet requires a Google account to initiate calls and meetings, but even the free version offers screen sharing, white-boarding, chat, and various moderation tools. Most survey respondents who use Meet say they use it without paying; the free version lets anyone hold meetings that can last up to an hour. You can get longer meeting times and more features with a Google One paid account or a Google Workspace account.

Google Meet receives the best Likelihood to Recommend rating among all the services considered, which is a particularly important measure of satisfaction. Meet also gets the top scores for satisfaction with reliability (tied with FaceTime), security, screen sharing, and scheduling meetings. Note that respondents who have used Meet only to join other people’s meetings are not as enthusiastic about the tool, rating their satisfaction in the middle of the pack.

We didn’t hear from enough paying users of Google Meet to include it in our final chart of paid-only services. Instead, the dominant fee-based online meeting services among our respondents are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Zoom has a free tier plus many paid tiers, and so many users, it shows up on all the charts.

Video meetings are only one aspect of Teams, which also offers asynchronous collaboration via individual and group chats, as does its main competitor, Slack. Zoom is focused on meetings in real time. We asked readers to consider the two tools for online meetings only, and Zoom—which offers many products, but primarily Zoom One for meetings, chat, and collaboration—comes out far ahead.

In the paid-services-only chart, Zoom and Teams have identical satisfaction ratings for cost, security, and background visual effects. But Zoom wins on fifteen other satisfaction ratings. For example, Zoom’s likelihood to recommend rating is over a point higher than Teams’ rating on our zero-to-ten scale.

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