Bob in El Paso, Texas listens to the podcasts and asked: “We really like to use some of these social distancing Internet platforms like Zoom. The problem with Zoom is the 40 minute limit on the free version. We’re looking for some alternatives. Can you suggest something that’s good, that allows the family to talk together besides some of the more popular ones that require a subscription?”
Bob, Google Meet should work well for your needs. Their tiled view can show up to 16 participants at a time, if your family members could connect to Zoom they should be able to connect to Google Meet using the same devices.
Google has been pushing it pretty hard lately, so youre unlikely to run into any annoyances until they conquer more market share and want to monetize it more.
Skype has gotten pretty clunky and bloated but it should work for your family too.
If your family already uses WhatsApp, you can also do video conferences there, which may spare them from having to download an extra app. Microsoft Teams might work for you as well, its a little more of a corporate tool meant to help with collaboration on Office documents, but you can ignore that and just use the video.
Other ways of connecting with family is Facebook messenger. They have a video chat option. Snapchat has video chat as well. There you can play games and add filters to your video output. Facetime is another choice if you have an Apple device. It also has filters to make conversations a bit more fun.
Any gamers would probably know Discord is a great way to stay connected while playing video games or you and your family can video chat and play games with one another with Houseparty.
There are many, many others, but most of the good ones have the same problem Zoom has for your use case: theyre marketed towards businesses and have limits.
For example, Whereby is pretty good but it has a low amount of participants on free accounts, BlueJeans costs less than Zoom per month but has no free version, WebEx feels like something someone forgot to keep updating 5 years ago and the free version will cut you off after less than an hour, and GoToMeeting has no free version.
The good news here is that there are plenty of options even if most products are aimed towards paid use for business.
Sadie in Jacksonville, Florida listens to the Podcast and is calling via the App and asked: “What are some affordable, good-quality air purifiers out there that remove pet dander, mold, mildew and pollen from the air. And what should I be looking for when purchasing an air purifier – such as features – to know it’s gonna be a good quality product?”
Well Sadie, it depends on what you need it for and what room you intend to put it in. Some air purifiers specialize in removing germs and mold spores, smoke, allergens like pollen, or even for bathroom odors. The bigger the room you need to clear out, the bigger and the more expensive the machine. Another thing you need to consider is how often the filters need to be changed or cleaned in order to stay effective.
For the issues you mentioned, here are some recommendations for air purifiers that wont break the bank.
First one is GermGuardian AC4825. This one costs just under $100, has three filters. A carbon filter, True HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, and a UV-C (ultraviolet C) light. This one is great for smaller rooms.
Next is the O-ION 4-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier. This ones just under $60 and comes with the same three filters. A nice plus is that it consumes low amounts of energy.
You might also check out the Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier. This one costs around $40 and has multiple HEPA filters and an ionizer to eliminate odors. This one is smaller, about 11 inches tall and weighs about 6 pounds so it fits perfectly on a table or desk. Weve heard this one can get loud if you set the speed too high, but its great for the price.
As far as what to look for – be sure it has a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (thats the volume of air that is cleaned), a high filtration level rate, and the right area of Coverage for your needs. Wed also recommend you look for one that has a carbon filter because it serves as a pre-filter and can help remove unwanted odors. Do let us know what you end up getting Sadie!
When you participate on the show – anytime 24/7 – and we HEAR you with any consumer tech question, comment, help for another listener, tech rage or just share your favorite App these days … you could win prizes.
Soundcore: Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Scosche: Portable Air Purifier/Deodorizer – Fits in most car cup holders
Sylvania: SMART+ Wi-Fi light bulbs – control your lights with any mobile device!
Love Handles: Custom “Into Tomorrow” Smartphone Grips
Jabra: Elite 7 PRO True Wireless Earbuds
All CALLERS — using the AUDIO option on our Free App or 1-800-899-INTO(4686) – automatically qualify to win prizes.
Audio archived for at least 6 months