Amazon recently launched its Skype competitor christened “Amazon Chime“, which is meant to be a group calling, messaging, and collaboration tool for businesses, as well as just a simple video call app for the masses. It does this, with a three tier plan system, that divides the available features into various levels. In the “Amazon Chime Basic” plan, all you get is 1:1 voice, and video calling. It also grants you access to using the chat. At its highest tier (Amazon Chime Pro), the application offers advanced features such as custom meeting URLs, screen sharing capabilities, scheduling, and hosting meetings, and even recording meetings. All this, for up to 100 people, at a relatively low price of $15 per user, per month. So, if you’re wondering which one to use, we have a detailed comparison of both the Amazon Chime, and Skype:
Amazon Chime vs Skype: Feature Breakdown
1. Calling Features
Both the Amazon Chime, and Skype, offer some really great calling features. Adding contacts is easy in Amazon Chime, but not so much in Skype (at least, I’ve never found Skype to be particularly good at this). Once you’ve added your contacts, calling them is easy on both Amazon Chime, and Skype, and both the services have equally good audio quality, so you can’t go wrong with either choice. However, there is one place where Skype leaves Amazon Chime in the dust: calling phone numbers. It’s not always a given, that the person you need to contact is on the same application as you are, which is where Skype’s competitively priced calling rates really knock it out of the park.
When it comes to video calls, both the Amazon Chime, and Skype are great performers. The quality of video calls are as good as expected, and stable. It’s important to note that if you’re using Chime on an unstable connection, it will refuse to launch the video. However, you will still be able to connect on voice call.
Note: Amazon Chime only offers 1:1 audio, and video calling in the “Amazon Chime Basic” plan. For more capabilities, you will need to subscribe to the “Amazon Chime Plus”, “Amazon Chime Pro” plans.
2. Screen Sharing
Both the Amazon Chime, and Skype offer screen sharing support. However, while Skype offers the feature for free, Amazon Chime requires the “Plus” plan ($2.50 per user/month) in order to use the screen sharing feature. That said, screen sharing in Amazon Chime seems to be accessible more easily than on Skype. While you’re in a call with someone, you can simply click on the “Screen” option, and choose between “Share Screen”, and “Share Window”.
In Amazon Chime, you can even request to control the other user’s screen remotely. This will definitely come in handy in meetings, and video calls where you’re trying to make plans, etc. Meanwhile, even though Skype allows Screen Sharing for free, you can subscribe to one of the paid plans for Skype for Business, to be able to remotely control another user’s screen.
3. Record Meetings
Another feature that Amazon Chime, and Skype for Business, both offer, is the ability to record entire meetings. The record meetings feature in Amazon Chime allows users to record the audio of the meeting, but not the video. So, if you were sharing a screen, and working on a document together, that won’t be recorded; however, the audio of the meeting will. This can help to create transcripts of meetings, share the audio with people who couldn’t attend the meeting, so they may be briefed about everything that was discussed, and more.
To get this feature in Skype, you will have to subscribe to one of the “Skype for Business” plans, which is not a big deal, because the recording feature that Amazon Chime offers is a part of the “Amazon Chime Pro plan”, which will cost you almost $15 per month, per user. Also, Skype for Business can record audio, as well as video, something that Amazon Chime can’t do (yet).
4. Share Documents and Media
Both Skype, and Amazon Chime come with the capability to share documents, and media. Although, being oriented towards both consumers, and enterprises, one would expect Amazon Chime to have more options for sharing documents, and media. However, as it turns out, Skype offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to they types of files you can send. With Skype, you can send documents, and images, as well as contacts, location, and video messages. However, Amazon Chime only lets users send documents, or media (such as images).
This is a sad oversight, in my opinion, because sharing locations, and contacts can be pretty useful in a software aimed at solving the issue of remote meetings in large multinational companies.
5. Instant and Scheduled Meetings
Since Amazon Chime is aimed primarily at enterprises, it includes a host of powerful meeting features; something that is present in Skype for Business, as well. However, personally, I find the intuitive way in which Amazon Chime works, much better than Skype.
With the “Amazon Chime Pro” plan, you can easily set up instant, or scheduled meetings. The host can simply click on “Meetings”, and select “Start an Instant Meeting“, or “Schedule a Meeting”. Users can even click on “Join a Meeting“, if they want to join a meeting being hosted by someone else.
Instant Meetings start at the very same moment. You simply select the people you want to invite, and the meeting starts off. Invitees get notifications that they’re invited to a meeting, and they can join, decline, or send a message if they’re running late.
Scheduled Meetings, on the other hand, are made by creating a meeting in the calendar application of your choice, and adding invitees. Amazon Chime also gives you some important information that you have to add in the description for the meeting, so the invitees can attend it. This information contains various methods to connect to the meeting, and every invitee can choose to connect whichever way they prefer.
Amazon Chime offers very clear instructions about how to create a scheduled meeting, so you don’t really have to worry about anything, except following the instructions.
|Feature||Amazon Chime Basic||Amazon Chime Plus||Amazon Chime Pro||Skype Free||Skype for Business|
|Voice Calling||Yes, 1:1||Yes||Yes||Yes, up to 25||Yes|
|Video Calling||Yes, 1:1||Yes||Yes||Yes, up to 25||Yes|
|Record Meeting Audio||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Record Meeting Video||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Share Documents and Media||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Share Location, Contacts||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Amazon Chime vs Skype: Platform Availability
Platform Availability is a very important factor when it comes to apps that offer online meeting features. After all, not every one in a company will be using the same platform, which is why it’s important to support at least the most popular platforms – another area where Skype fares much better than Amazon Chime.
- Amazon Chime is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. It can also be used in the browser itself, if need be.
- Skype, on the other hand, is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Windows, macOS, and Linux. Plus, it can be used on a browser, as well.
Amazon Chime vs Skype: Pricing and Plans
Both Skype, and Amazon Chime come with three different tiers, that can be used depending on your needs. The pricing, and features vary vastly between the two, and both of them offer some great features. Here’s a breakdown of the different plans available in Amazon Chime, and Skype for Business:
1. Amazon Chime
Amazon Chime offers 3 plan options for you to choose from:
- Amazon Chime Basic (Free): This is the free tier of the Amazon Chime service, and will only let you make 1:1 audio, and video calls. You will also get access to chats, and chat rooms on all your devices
- Amazon Chime Plus ($2.50 per user, per month): The Amazon Chime Plus plan comes with all the features of Amazon Chime Basic, along with support for screen sharing, and a host of IT management tools.
- Amazon Chime Pro ($15 per user, per month): The highest tier in the Amazon Chime service, this plan offers all the features of Amazon Chime Plus, and adds the ability to record meetings, get personalized meeting URLs, and the ability to join meetings with a standard phone line.
2. Skype for Business
Skype is divided into two different categories: Skype, and Skype for Business. Skype is free to use, and doesn’t require any subscription. However, Skype for Business has two tiers:
- Office 365 Business Essentials ($5 per user per month): This is the most affordable tier of the two, and offers audio, HD video, and web conferencing, along with the ability to share your presentations, and transfer control to other members, schedule meetings, and do a lot more.
- Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50 per user, per month): This tier offers everything that the Business Essentials plan offers, along with features like File Sharing, and storage up to 1GB per user. It also includes advanced meeting options like polls, and Q&As, which can definitely add a lot to your online meetings.
Amazon Chime vs Skype: Use Cases
Both the Amazon Chime, and Skype for Business, are primarily voice, and video conferencing applications that aim to help users run their business effectively. Skype has the advantage over Amazon Chime, in that it has been in the market quite long, plus it offers some killer features. However, Amazon Chime is no slouch, either. It offers a plethora of features that you can use to improve the quality of your online meetings.
- If you’re planning on using the free version of Skype, you should know that it only supports up to 25 people, and doesn’t really incorporate meetings in the traditional way. Of course, you can still use it as an online meeting application, but for real productivity, you’ll do better if you subscribed to one of the “Skype for Business” plans that Microsoft offers.
- Amazon Chime, on the other hand, can only be used as a meeting application with one of the paid subscriptions. The free tier only includes 1:1 video calling, which makes the “Amazon Chime Basic” plan rather meek when it comes to remote, online meetings for enterprises. However, if you subscribe to the “Amazon Chime Plus”, or “Pro” plans, you’ll get access to a host of great features for your enterprise.
- To sum it up, if you’re looking for a casual video calling application, you can use Skype, or the “Amazon Chime Basic” plan. However, I would recommend using Skype, because it allows video conferencing between a maximum of 25 people. After all, you wouldn’t always use a casual video conferencing application for just video calling with one single person at a time.
- However, if you’re looking for an enterprise solution for your online meetings, I think the “Amazon Chime Pro” plan has a lot of potential in it. After all, it is based on the AWS cloud infrastructure, which is one of the best enterprise cloud computing solutions there are. Plus, I personally find the Amazon Chime app much easier to understand, and use. For what it’s worth, though, the Skype for Business app can also serve you well, when it comes to enterprise solutions for online meetings, so the choice is entirely yours to make.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Skype Bots You Should Use
Amazon Chime: Truly a Skype Competitor?
Amazon may have launched Chime as their answer to Microsoft’s Skype for Business, but whether it can truly compete with an established application like Skype, is anyone’s guess. For what it’s worth, Amazon Chime does offer some really great features, and at a competitive price. Add to that the fact that Chime is based on Amazon’s AWS cloud infrastructure, and you can immediately see why it has a good chance of competing against Skype; both for casual users, and as an enterprise solution.
As always, do share your thoughts on Amazon Chime, and whether you think it can compete with Skype, or not. Also, let us know about the apps and services you use for voice, and video calling, as well as for online meetings, in the comments section below.