Microsoft Lync Review Summary – Microsoft’s most recent online meeting service is “Lync Onlline”. This new application can be purchased as a stand-alone product (Microsoft Lync Server), or you can buy it in a bundle with Microsoft Office 365.
Pros – If your business is using Microsoft Office 365, Lync is included for free. Supports up to 250 meeting attendees.
Cons – The purchasing options for Lync are confusing. You can either purchase a server license (for your internal organization) or purchase it as part of Office 365. There is no way to purchase a stand-alone subscription to their cloud service. No meeting recordings (unless you purchase Lync Server).
Microsoft Lync Online Ratings
|Overall Rating:||Microsoft Lync Online is a decent online meeting service for those who are deeply entrenched in Microsoft’s software ecosystem. For everybody else, you’re going to be on the outside looking in.|
|Usability:||Microsoft Lync Online has made considerable improvements to their user interface throughout the years. It’s certainly easier to use than it’s predecessors (Microsoft Live Meeting and Microsoft Net Meeting) but it’s not as simple to use as GoToMeeting and other dedicated online meeting services.|
|Audio quality:||The audio worked well in our testing.|
|Video quality:||The video conferencing and desktop sharing worked well in our testing.|
|Collaboration features:||Microsoft loses points in the collaboration category because their software isn’t as open and accessible to those playing outside of Microsoft’s walled garden.|
|Presentation features:||Lync online’s presentation features are tightly integrated into Microsoft’s office suite, making it easy to share Powerpoint and other documents.|
|Mobile features:||At the time of this review, Microsoft has no native mobile applications.|
What We Like About Lync Online
If you’ve bought into the Microsoft Office 365 Ecosystem, you’ll be happy to learn that Lync Online is one of many collaboration tools included with the service. If your organization is not using Office 365, then you will need to purchase, setup, administer, and maintain a Lync Server. This is not feasible for most small businesses.
What We Don’t Like About Lync Online
Like Central Desktop, it’s hard to compare Lync Online to other online meeting services. It’s not meant to be a stand alone online meeting program, like GoToMeeting. In fact, you can’t even purchase Microsoft Lync Online without a subscription to Office 365. In our opinion, Lync Online is better suited for a company intranet, where everyone is running similar hardware and software.
Microsoft Lync Online Features
|Pricing||$24/per user a month|
|Free Trial||Yes, 30 days.|
|Meeting Capacity||250 users|
|Private Chat||Yes – via Microsoft Messenger|
|Annotation Tools||Yes, but you must first take a screen snapshot|
Before committing to an online meeting service, make sure you read the reviews for our top picks. You can also compare our top picks side by side. It’s worth noting, that most of the vendors we review on this site offer free trials.