Microsoft Teams Review: Features & Alternatives for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Unified Communications.
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app with video conferencing, team chat, and file sharing. It has a free version, while monthly plans start at $4 per user (billed annually). It is best for Microsoft 365 users and businesses looking for a low-cost unified communications solution. In this Microsoft Teams review, it scored high in pricing and general features but scored poorly in ease of use and customer service.
Microsoft Teams Review: At a Glance
What We Liked
- Dedicated workspace with built-in video conferencing software
- Meet with up to 100 participants on the free plan
- Tightly integrates with Microsoft 365 apps
- Live caption supports 30+ languages
- Plans must be paid in full annually
- No volume discounts
- Interface is not intuitive (e.g., multi-layer navigation)
- Integrations are locked behind Business plans
- Microsoft 365 users: Microsoft Teams is one of our best team chat apps for Office 365 users due to its seamless integrations with Microsoft productivity apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Free or low-cost unified communications: Microsoft Teams offers a feature-rich free version and a cheap monthly plan starting at only $4 per user, billed annually.
- Video conferencing software: Microsoft Teams is a team collaboration software with video conferencing capabilities, including screen sharing and live captions.
- Team communication app: Microsoft Teams offers an all-in-one collaboration solution for remote and hybrid teams, combining team chat, video meetings, and file sharing.
- Third-party integrations: Comparing Microsoft Teams vs Slack, Slack has a better edge when it comes to third-party tools since all its paid subscriptions have access to over 2,400 integrations.
- Free, feature-rich video conferencing software: Zoom’s free version offers more video meeting tools, such as breakout rooms, whiteboarding, and co-annotation. Discover more about these two providers in our Microsoft Teams vs Zoom Meetings comparison.
- Straightforward video meeting platform: Between Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams, Google Meet is more favorable to new users because of its streamlined interface.
Microsoft Teams Deciding Factors
Microsoft Teams works best for remote and hybrid work, allowing teams to stay connected, access shared content, and keep up with workflows. It provides robust collaboration features and a high participant limit for video meetings.
Microsoft 365 users and small businesses looking for an affordable virtual workspace with built-in video conferencing features
Annual or Volume Discounts Available
24/7 phone support
Microsoft Teams Alternatives
While Microsoft Teams provides a centralized workspace for distributed teams, it doesn’t mean it caters to all collaboration requirements. It has a few downsides, including a complex interface, the lack of monthly payment plans, and free plan restrictions. If these are your priorities, here are the best Microsoft Teams alternatives to consider:
Businesses looking for a full-featured unified communications solution
Companies wanting to manage all internal collaboration and customer engagements in one platform
Distributed teams looking for a straightforward video conferencing solution
Monthly Starting Price (per User)
$30 per user a month
Microsoft Teams scored 4.25 out of 5 for plans and pricing, as it offers four scalable packages that cater to different collaboration needs. It has a free version, a one-month free trial for Microsoft 365 Business plans, and a cheap monthly paid plan starting at $4 per user, billed annually. On the downside, all plans require an annual prepayment, and no discounts are offered for annual billing and volume purchases.
Microsoft Teams Pricing & Plans
Microsoft Teams Free
Microsoft Teams Essentials
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Small teams looking for a free virtual workspace
Businesses wanting to host longer online meetings
Teams that rely heavily on Microsoft productivity apps
Microsoft 365 users that regularly host webinars
Group Meeting Length
For businesses with advanced security needs, consider upgrading to the Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which costs $22 for each user, every month (billed annually). It includes everything in Microsoft 365 Business Standard, as well as a comprehensive set of security capabilities, such as cyberthreat protection and access control.
Microsoft Teams Features
Microsoft Teams is an online team workspace that lets you chat, meet with co-workers, and share files. Channels are focus spaces where people gather to work on the same project or topic. It also includes an online meeting solution for holding web meetings, audio conferences, webinars, and large-scale events.
Microsoft Teams scored 4.5 out of 5 for general features, as it offers a variety of unified communications features to support remote and hybrid work. Conversations among co-workers occur in channels, under the chat tab, or in a video meeting. All plans include file sharing, cloud storage, instant messaging, and unlimited search history. Upgrading to Microsoft 365 Business plans offers bigger cloud storage capacity (up to 1TB) and hundreds of app integrations.
We gave Microsoft Teams a score of 4 out of 5 for niche features because it has most of the features expected from a team collaboration solution. Public and private channels enable users to create groups for specific team members, while task management tools are designed for managing individual and team tasks. Users are also able to edit and collaborate on Microsoft 365 apps right within Teams using the real-time co-authoring feature
Click on each item below to learn more about the best features of Microsoft Teams:
Teams are made up of channels, a group of collaboration spaces where teams have conversations based on specific topics or projects. Channels are divided into two types: standard channels are accessible to all users within a workspace, while private channels are for confidential conversations. Each channel includes tabs that link to shared files, apps, and services.
Online meetings at Microsoft Teams hold up to 300 attendees. Video conferencing tools include breakout rooms, in-meeting chat, recording, hand raising, custom backgrounds, and participant lists. Live captions and subtitles support over 30 languages. When speaking in meetings, you can turn on speaker coach, an artificial intelligence (AI) feature that provides real-time insights on your pace, pitch, grammar, and use of sensitive phrases.
Microsoft Teams goes beyond the usual screen sharing experience by adding interactivity to presentations. Instead of presenting slides, the cameo feature allows users to embed their webcam video into their presentation. Attendees are able to interact with shared content by browsing slides and videos at their own pace.
Here are other ways to utilize Microsoft Team’s screen sharing feature:
- Share or turn off your device’s sound
- Present slides as a co-presenter
- Collaborate in real time on a digital whiteboard
- Use a laser pointer or draw on slides
- Allow attendees to add text and sticky notes on shared content
Microsoft Teams earned a score of 2.5 out of 5 for customer service because while it provides a 24/7 toll-free hotline, it doesn’t support other channels like live chat and email. Another option is to submit a service request in the admin center. Free plan users can access self-service resources such as a help desk, community forums, and YouTube tutorials.
Microsoft Teams scored poorly for ease of use because its user interface is not intuitive enough, especially for those unfamiliar with the Microsoft 365 environment. While its platform looks relatively polished and professional, most users find it difficult to set up and navigate due to its compartmentalized layout. Others also complain about the need to create a Microsoft account and train employees to fully utilize its features.
Microsoft Teams scored 3.5 out of 5 for our expert assessment because it is not as feature-rich and user-friendly as other collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom. It doesn’t have enough customization options and productivity tools like workflow automation. Additionally, its free plan and first paid tier lack many essential features, such as integrations and admin tools, which force users to upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business plans.
At the time of publication, Microsoft Teams earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
- TrustRadius: 8 out of 10 based on 4,745 reviews
- GetApp: 4.5 out of 5 based on 8,904 reviews
- G2: 4.3 out of 5 based on 13,259 reviews
How We Evaluated Microsoft Teams
We explored Microsoft Teams and tested some of its features and functions. We also consulted recent Microsoft Teams reviews to know more about the personal experiences of its business users. From there, we created a scoring system divided into a set of criteria: pricing, general features, niche features, customer service, ease of use, and expert score.
Learn how we evaluated Microsoft Teams by clicking on the tabs below:
20% of Overall Score
Since cost is a major concern for small businesses, we looked for the availability of a free-forever plan, free trial, and discounts for annual billing and volume purchases. We gave additional points to Microsoft Teams, as it offers cheaper per-user pricing for its subscription plans.
25% of Overall Score
Since Microsoft Teams is a unified communications solution, we delved deeper into which features will benefit remote and hybrid teams. These include unlimited chat, cloud storage, file sharing, user presence, and searchable message history.
20% of Overall Score
The best team collaboration software includes tools that enhance team productivity. We checked if Microsoft Teams offers public and private channels, task management, and workflow automation. We also considered its participant capacity for video meetings and compared the number of integrations against other leading competitors.
10% of Overall Score
We looked at the types of support channels the provider offers, including phone, email, chat, and a ticketing system. Additional points are awarded if all support channels are available 24/7.
10% of Overall Score
To evaluate Microsoft Team’s usability, we consulted several customer reviews and tested the software ourselves. We also compared it to our experiences with other team collaboration solutions. Additionally, we checked whether users encountered learning curves when setting up and operating the platform.
15% of Overall Score
Our years of experience evaluating various unified communications solutions serve as our basis for coming up with an expert evaluation. We compared Microsoft Teams’ offerings against other team collaboration tools and weighed the provider’s popularity among users. We checked how its service meets small business needs, including its ease of use and overall value for money.
Microsoft Teams is a solid choice for businesses that are already using Microsoft 365 products or those looking for a collaborative workspace with budget-friendly plans. It facilitates teamwork by providing a centralized platform for hosting meetings, managing projects, and sharing virtual presentations. Sign up for its free version or register for a free trial to determine if it’s the right collaboration app for your team.