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LiveAgent is an online Help Desk solution for e-commerce businesses at the small and midsize levels. The platform offers live chat application, ticket management, online self-service portals, and change and license management, all...Read more about LiveAgent
Bitrix24 is an online workspace for small, medium, and large businesses. It features over 35 cross-integrated tools, including CRM, tasks, Kanban board, Gantt chart, messenger, video calls, file storage, workflow automation, and m...Read more about Bitrix24
CloudTalk is a contact center management solution that enables businesses to streamline communications with teams and customers using virtual call systems. It allows executives to manage inbound/outbound calls, extract interaction...Read more about CloudTalk
Zoho Voice is a cloud telephony software that helps you easily manage business calls from anywhere and on any device. It seamlessly integrates with other Zoho apps like CRM, Desk, Recruit and Bigin so you can handle calls right in...Read more about Zoho Voice
Squaretalk is a cost-effective, scalable, and simple-to-use cloud communications platform that gives your sales and support teams tremendous tools to boost efficiency and productivity. Your sales and support representatives will ...Read more about Squaretalk
GoToConnect (formerly Jive) delivers a cloud-based unified communication solution to organizations of all sizes across the U.S. GoToConnect includes integrated products for business VoIP, video conferencing and contact center whic...Read more about GoTo Connect
CloudCall is the only communications software dedicated to businesses who use CRMs. By capturing all calls and communications, and saving them into the CRM contact records, CloudCall helps businesses make more insightful decisions...Read more about CloudCall
Zultys MX System
Zultys MX System
Zultys offers a line of unified communications (UC) solutions and phone system equipment known as the Zultys MX Series. Zultys MX systems support on-premise, cloud-based and hybrid deployments for businesses of all sizes. The solu...Read more about Zultys MX System
Telzio is a cloud communications provider that offers small business phone system. It includes trunking that allows professionals to connect calls with the phone network so businesses don’t have to look for a third-party SIP provi...Read more about Telzio
Cloud Voice for Microsoft Teams from UniVoIP Why Use Microsoft Teams as a Phone System? ● You already have M365, so maximize your existing Microsoft investment - and cut costs drastically. ● True Unified Communications - busine...Read more about UniVoIP
Zoiper is an on-premise and cloud-based softphone solution that caters to service providers, call centers, VoIP integrators, mobile operators and businesses that require softphones independent of their service provider. It aggrega...Read more about Zoiper
Bria is a softphone and Unified Communications solution developed by CounterPath. With Bria, businesses can provide their employees with the means to take business-line calls on the go and work remotely from both desktop and mobil...Read more about Bria
UniTel Voice is a web-based virtual business phone system for small businesses, medium-sized businesses, nonprofit organizations and freelancers. The private branch exchange (PBX) empowers entrepreneurs to operate and grow their b...Read more about UniTel Voice
Circle Loop is a cloud-based VoIP solution that provides phone systems that are accessible via desktop and mobile devices. Key features include call transfer, voicemail to text, call recording, contact management and configurable ...Read more about CircleLoop
Zadarma is a cloud-based and on-premise solution that assists small to large enterprises with cloud PBX, virtual phone numbers, VoIP calls and more. It allows users to create a business phone system to streamline processes for int...Read more about Zadarma
VirtualPBX is a cloud-based phone solution that caters to all-sized businesses. VirtualPBX enables companies to streamline and improve communications with features such as unlimited minutes, video conferencing, business SMS, auto-...Read more about VirtualPBX
Revenue.io is a VoIP solution that helps sales teams by providing voice communication and an automated dialer. It is a cloud-based platform that bridges the gap between conversation intelligence and organizational telephony. Des...Read more about Revenue.io
Grasshopper is a cloud-based virtual phone service that helps small to midsize enterprises establish communication with customers through local and toll-free numbers. It provides several modules, including call forwarding, multipl...Read more about Grasshopper
Ringover is the no.1 business phone system that gives you unlimited calls to 110 countries, video conferencing, SMS and group messaging, call recording, call whispering and more features focused on improving your teams productivit...Read more about Ringover
Acrobits is a cloud-based softphone solution, which helps small to large businesses configure, develop and deploy communications applications in real time. Key features include QR code scanning, customizable branding, push notific...Read more about Cloud Softphone
Popular VoIP Softphones Comparisons
Buyers GuideLast Updated: November 23, 2022
With the vast number of VoIP softphone products on the market, choosing the right solution for your phone system can be daunting. (Technically, all softphones are for VoIP service, since they’re essentially software for placing calls over the Internet.) To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled this guide.
We’ll outline the common features of softphones and give a rundown of popular products to help you make the right decision for your business. We’ll look at:
What Is a VoIP Softphone?
Common Functions of VoIP Softphones
Benefits of VoIP Softphones
Crucial Considerations for Buyers
What Is a VoIP Softphone?
The name says it all: software phone. Softphones are software applications that run on devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets etc.) with Internet connections and allow you to make and receive calls. Softphones are thus designed for Internet phone service, commonly known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), rather than traditional phone service.
A VoIP softphone is perhaps easiest to understand when compared to an IP phone i.e., a hardware office phone designed to make calls over the Internet using a business VoIP service rather than traditional land lines.
Both IP phones and softphones serve as endpoints to which VoIP phone systems connect calls, but one is software and the other is hardware.
Some businesses choose to deploy softphones rather than hardware phones as phone system extensions. For instance, if your employees work remotely, it makes more sense to connect the phone system to applications on their laptops than to desk phones in an office they rarely see. Additionally, you can deploy softphones alongside desk phones and connect the same extension to both endpoints. This gives your employees more flexibility in their communications options.
Softphone-only deployments are gaining in popularity and can also help keep the costs of switching to VoIP down, since IP phones can be expensive.
Common Functions of VoIP Softphone Software
VoIP softphones often include the following core capabilities:
|Voice calling||The key functionality of softphones. Make and receive calls through your Internet connection.|
|Video calling||Place and receive video calls on devices with cameras. (Note that video calling is not the same as video conferencing, which frequently requires a more advanced application.)|
|Call history||Track incoming and outgoing calls.|
|Voicemail||Let callers leave voice messages when you’re not available. Listen to voice messages and return calls.|
|On-demand call recording||Users can frequently initiate on-demand call recording from the softphone user interface (UI).|
|Directory of contacts/presence||Just like your smartphone, a softphone has a directory of contacts. The difference is that softphones also generally display which contacts are currently online (a feature known as presence).|
|Call transferring||Softphones allow you to transfer calls to contacts in your organization.|
|Click-to-dial||Because softphones are installed on your device, they allow you to click on links on web pages and in emails in order to place calls automatically, without touching a keypad or picking up a receiver.|
More advanced softphones offer a smorgasbord of features beyond these basic capabilities, and are known as unified communications (UC) clients. Generally, these clients are offered directly via the vendor of your phone system or UC system, whereas softphones are commonly offered by third-party vendors. If you’re just looking for basic inbound and outbound calling capabilities, a softphone will generally be enough, while UC clients are for supporting advanced communications like multi-party video conferencing on smartphones and tablets.
Benefits of VoIP Softphones
There are many benefits of choosing a softphone over, or in addition to hardphones:
- Reduce costs by reducing hardware. Softphone software gives you the option to forego traditional office phones. You’ll save money by not having to buy extra hardware in the first place.
- Integrate with computer systems. Because softphones use your local computer network, they also integrate with your existing computer-based systems. Many softphone applications, including the ones mentioned above, can integrate with contact databases such as Outlook, Thunderbird and Mac address books. Softphones with click-to-dial allow you to place calls from your customer relationship management (CRM) software, Web browser or accounting system. This is a highly useful feature for call center agents and other employees that have to place lots of outbound calls (e.g those in accounts receivable).
- Place calls through Wi-Fi. Normally, when you make a call with your cellphone, it goes over a cellular network and you have to pay per-minute rates as well as prohibitively expensive roaming fees if you’re out of range of your providers’ network. Softphones allow you to place calls over a Wi-FI internet connection, so you bypass the cellular network and avoid per-minute rates and roaming charges. You still need to pay for the data connection or the Wi-Fi connection unless it’s public. This feature results in significant savings for employees who travel abroad frequently.
The Vendor Landscape
There are both free and paid softphones on the market. To help you determine which softphone solution is right for you, let’s take a look at a few popular products.
3CX. 3CX offers both cloud and on-premise business phone systems. Manage calls from your desktop and use your computer to make and receive calls.
3CX has softphones for both Windows and Mac, and it includes native Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) apps for Android and iOS.
3CX softphone for Mac
Bria X-Lite. One of Bria X-Lite’s most attractive qualities is that it’s free. Several softphone vendors offer “freemium” versions that may have only limited functionalities and/or be supported by ads.
Bria X-Lite includes functionalities for voice and video calls, instant messaging and voicemail support. This free solution is meant to act as a stepping stone to the paid option, Bria 4. It is compatible with Windows and Mac systems.
Bria X-Lite softphone, video calling and chat
Zoiper. Another notable option on the market is Zoiper. Along with voice and video calling, it offers call recording, call transfer and auto-answering. It also has native conferencing, so you can conduct conference calls without relying on a third-party service. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
Zoiper video calling
Crucial Considerations for Buyers
Free vs. paid softphones. Many softphone vendors offer what are called “freemium” clients (e.g., Bria X-Lite) to encourage customers to eventually pay to upgrade. Some freemium products rely heavily on advertisements within the application to stay free.
These clients can work well for smaller companies or companies with limited needs. However, larger enterprises or those seeking more complex functionalities will need a more advanced client.
Phone system/headset compatibility. The #1 factor that should guide your choice of a softphone is compatibility. The softphone needs to be supported by your phone system, so check with your vendor or your vendor’s channel partner about this issue. Most major vendors list compatible softphones on their websites or in product literature. Additionally, if you’re planning to use the softphone in conjunction with a headset in a call center environment, you need to ensure that the softphone is also compatible with the specific brand of headset you’re using.
Softphone platforms. Softphones are trending toward OS agnosticism. Users want apps that run on Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as on smartphone operating systems such as Android and iOS. Thus, many providers are now offering their products on many different platforms, and they’re developing mobile clients.