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Comparing Teams vs. Zoom – A Look at Features, Benefits and Practicality

Cowritten by Matthew Carlson

Teams Essentials, Comparing Teams vs. Zoom – A Look at Features, Benefits and Practicality

As you might have expected, Microsoft and Zoom have a lot of the same core features.

Both tools support high-quality video conferencing, phone calls, group messaging, and file sharing. There are also various bonus features included with each platform to make interactions more convenient. You can separate your team into breakout groups during a meeting, set up a variety of view modes for camera streams, and even choose your own virtual backgrounds.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow people to “dial in” to meetings from any device, and you can even record conversations for people who can’t attend. Live captions and transcription features make every recording as accessible as possible.

Let’s look at what Zoom, and Microsoft Teams can do, head-to-head in a technical capacity.

Features 

Microsoft Teams  

Zoom 

Video conferencing  

1080p video at 30 FPS with presentation features, background blur, and virtual backgrounds 

1080p video (720mp by default) with 3mpbs bandwidth with webinar and presentation features, background blur, and virtual background   

Content sharing  

Document management, SharePoint for storage, to-do lists and file sharing. (Up to 100GB limit per file)  

File sharing in meetings or chat, and third-party integrations for task management tools. (Up to 512MB limit per file)  

Integrations 

Excellent integration with Microsoft productivity tools, and a host of third-party apps  

Hundreds of integrations and dedicated “Zoom apps” for better tool blending  

Voice calling  

Audio meetings, Phone plans for PBX support or direct routing. Customers can also access Operator Connect  

Audio meetings and Zoom Phone for voice calling   

Navigation 

Convenient app interface across all devices, with intelligent search function 

Easy-to-use app across all devices, with simple searching functionality 

Security 

SAML, AD, and SSO account controls, with two-factor authentication, data encryption, and protection of data at rest. Microsoft Teams is compliant with HIPAA, SOC I and SOC 2, EU privacy clauses, and ISO 27001   

Easy-to-use app across all devices, with simple searching functionality 

Pricing plans  

Both free and paid options available 

Both free and paid options available 

Today’s post-covid collaboration and conferencing tools are packed full of features, and easy for people to use as both Microsoft Teams and Zoom perform exceptionally well from a UX perspective. 

And the Winner Is…

Before we get into the actual reasons, we feel that Teams is far superior to Zoom, so let me start with a common joke we have around the office here.  I must say this at least three times a week now:

Teams Essentials, Comparing Teams vs. Zoom – A Look at Features, Benefits and Practicality

Which is true, if by everything you mean the entire Microsoft Office 365 Suite of applications, your desktop operating system, your browser and possibly some servers…   So that’s a great place to start in this analysis, the most helpful and beneficial aspect depending on where you’re coming from, and that, is collaboration:

  • AUDIO – With what some consider to be the most important aspect of all, Microsoft Teams wins with HD Quality audio delivery across the board.  The audio format, each second of audio is represented as 16,000 samples, with each sample containing 16 bits of data. A 20-ms audio frame contains 320 samples that are 640 bytes of data.  When joined to a Teams meeting consisting of multiple participants, Teams can identify which meeting participants are currently speaking. Active speakers identify which participants are being heard in each received audio frame. Dominant speakers identify which participants are currently most active or dominant in the group conversation, though their voice is not heard in every audio frame. The set of dominant speakers can change as different participants take turns speaking but is always delivered in full HD Quality.

  • COLLABORATION – Microsoft Teams  wins based on its integration with 365 applications, as it has a clean and streamlined interface, with a smart search function for finding content, and a convenient directory for tracking down contacts. Creating group and one-on-one meetings is easy and you can even plan meetings with your Outlook calendar and send people reminders when a conversation is coming up. Microsoft also allows people to communicate through meetings in-browser.
  • TELEPHONY – Primarily it’s the telephony expansion that in our mind makes this a no-brainer because Teams has two options for voice compatibility, a Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing, which allows users to make and manage phone calls with Microsoft’s built-in phone system, making Microsoft your actual PTSN/PBX/Carrier. Direct Routing allows organizations to connect Teams to their existing voice carrier as well as integrate necessary analog endpoints (like elevator phones and fax machines) into Teams.  Zoom is also voice compatible, but it doesn’t offer nearly as many options, especially when it comes to connecting to existing voice technology. Since Zoom is chiefly concerned with video conferencing, it’s not ideal for users looking to protect voice investments.
  • SECURITY – Microsoft also boasts a plethora of security certifications, including HIPAA, HITECH, ITAR FedRAMP, FISMA, EU Model Clauses / Privacy Shield, ISO, SSAE, and SOC 1-3. A complete list of certifications as well as more information regarding Microsoft’s trust and security can be found at the Microsoft Trust Center.
  • PRICING – Both Teams and Zoom offer free versions of their app. Customers unlock more features by paying for premium plans. For Zoom, this chiefly includes allowing a higher number of participants in meetings and allowing a greater number of hosts on a single server. Teams’ premium tiers unlock more features not just within Teams, but within the entirety of the Microsoft Suite. This is even better for current Microsoft customers who can leverage existing licenses in Teams.  As for which one’s cheaper, that’s not such an obvious answer. Teams is more expensive with its Microsoft licenses, but these licenses provide access to all the features of applications such as SharePoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Outlook. Zoom does not.  The clients we work with already have most of the licensing taken care of, which makes implementation easier and faster.  In fact, to get all the features Teams offers with a Zoom solution, it would require using third-party apps such as Slack and Dropbox. For small businesses, this isn’t a bad thing. These different platforms can provide a higher level of flexibility. Furthermore, it gives businesses the option to only pay for what they want, or rather need.
  • USER VIEWS AND USE FUNCTIONS – Another factor making Teams more appealing over Zoom is the gallery view, which makes more participants visible during a meeting. Microsoft Teams now supports a gallery view and a virtual auditorium with Together Mode as well.  Both Zoom and Teams have intuitive interfaces that don’t lack visual appeal. Some say Zoom is bland and boring, but that’s largely subjective. Many users tell us they enjoy the gallery view of Teams mainly because of the ability to capture everyone in the meeting, making them visible throughout.

Summary

Microsoft Telephony using Direct Routing for Communication and Collaboration for remote, hybrid and on-site employees.In our opinion, this isn’t really a hard choice to make and is very similar to the historical argument of apples and oranges or square pegs in a round hole.  For us, the only reason anybody could possibly want to use Zoom, is to harness it as a videoconferencing program only.  Or possibly being a little masochistic. 

In full disclosure, In the Cloud Technologies is a Certified Microsoft Partner and Teams implementation group.  We operate as a partner driven technology company and our best-practices partners are as big a part of our success.  Equal to our amazing, talented employees. 

We are a Microsoft oriented company, preferring Azure as a platform, integrating with Microsoft Teams, Exchange, Intune, and Dynamics 365 to name a few.  Our subject matter experts and outstanding technology partners provide a unique and rewarding set of solutions for collaboration and communication, technical equality, and unified communications.

Want to Know More About Teams Unified Communications?

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Cloud eBook whitepaper - Top 10 Benefits of Unified Communications as a Service, register to download.
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Teams Essentials, Comparing Teams vs. Zoom – A Look at Features, Benefits and Practicality