When you’re looking for a service to chat with your friends or coworkers through, there are an overwhelming number of options. And they all come with their own pros and cons. The best option often varies wildly depending on your team’s specific needs. In this video, we’ll be comparing our favorite platform, Discord, against some of its biggest competitors. But, even though we like Discord a lot, this video aims to be fair to the other platforms and offer an honest review.
Arguably the closest competitor in terms of group communications, Slack is a powerhouse of professional chat services. And that’s one of the legs up it has on Discord. Businesses like Slack for a variety of reasons, but Discord being associated with gaming doesn’t help it in this case. But being designed for gamers comes with its own advantage though. Slack offers text chat and video chat (although group video chat is only available in the paid version of Slack), but Discord voice chat quality is vastly superior to Slack’s, because gamers want high-quality voice audio while playing with their friends. This flexibility allows Discord users to communicate any way they want without having to pay just to get multiple voices in a room. Slack is usable as a free service but has a lot of shortcomings such as message and storage limits. Discord on the other hand has unlimited messages and unlimited storage. Where Slack wins is file upload limit. Files up to 1 gigabyte can be uploaded to Slack, whereas Discord only goes to 50 megabytes, and that’s with Discord’s paid Nitro plan. Another area where Slack wins is its integration with apps such as Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more. Discord comes with plenty of game integrations, and even its own game store. For gamers, this is great, but the app integrations are a big plus for businesses and teams using Slack. In the end, neither of these really wins, and it really depends on the needs and preferences of your team. In terms of normal use, Discord and Slack are nearly identical, each having different channels inside a larger server.
Discord has quite a few advantages over Skype as a communications platform, and some things just can’t be fairly compared. The first comparison is in terms of text communication. Skype lets you send direct messages to your contacts, but Discord reigns supreme due to its servers, channels, and variety of communication mediums. You can’t build a very good community on Skype. However Skype is, first and foremost, a video communications platform. This is the one thing they do, and they do it well. You can have 25 people in one video call on Skype, whereas Discord can only support 10. Depending on your needs, this may not even be an issue. Another thing that makes Skype unique is the ability to call and text message real phone numbers. This lets Skype be an all-in-one communications platform for groups and individuals. If you have one single group, you might find that Skype works fine. But if you are part of a lot of different groups, whether for work or gaming or something else, Discord will offer better organization and flexibility. Speaking of calls, Discord’s big advantage is that it is more secure than Skype, utilizing a dedicated server for private calls. Additionally, Discord is much lighter on systems, with less data transfer, less file size, and less CPU usage than Skype, making it a non-intrusive communications app. Discord seems like the clear winner in general, but your specific scenario may call for using something like Skype.
TeamSpeak is Discord’s main competitor when it comes to their target market of gamers. It has been around for longer and is well established, but a lot of people have moved over to Discord in the last few years. The big difference is that Discord’s servers are hosted by Discord themselves, and TeamSpeak requires you to host your server yourself or get a third party to do so. This could go both ways - on one hand, Discord allows you to easily create new servers for free and never have to worry about paying hosting fees. But, hosting your own server lets you decide your own security levels. This matters to some people, but in general letting Discord take care of hosting makes people’s lives easier. TeamSpeak is lighter weight on your computer, due to its less intense interface and its smaller suite of features. That being said, Discord’s resource usage is pretty low compared to many of the other options like Slack and Skype. Discord has more features than TeamSpeak, including rich text chat and video chat. TeamSpeak focuses on audio calls, and servers are able to set their audio quality higher than the standard on Discord. In this case, Discord is the winner if you’re looking for a feature-rich app and care more about flexibility than necessarily having studio-quality sound.
Mumble is pretty comparable to TeamSpeak, and when comparing to Discord, it is worth mentioning a lot of the same things. Mumble is known for its high audio quality, which may slightly surpass Discord’s. However, Discord offers rich text chat, video chat, and screen sharing as well as voice, making Discord significantly more flexible. Much like TeamSpeak, Mumble server owners have to find their own way to host the servers, while Discord hosts everything themselves. While security is still a determining factor here, Discord does generally offer better security than Mumble, including protection from DDoS attacks. Mumble is also open source and offers advanced encryption options, but Discord’s ease of use and user-friendly interface still make it an attractive option for the average user.
So there you have it! For most general cases, Discord beats out the competition in nearly every way. It’s a great choice for most people who want to communicate with their friends or coworkers. But the competitors are popular for a reason, and they come with their own advantages. At the end of the day, there could be features that determine which you will use.
Let us know in the comments what platforms you use, and if you currently use Discord, what you switched from. What aspects of Discord were the most compelling to you?
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