Will TeamSpeak’s Windows 11 facelift be enough to dethrone Discord?

TeamSpeak's new interface shown on a laptop screen
(Image credit: TeamSpeak)

TeamSpeak, an old-school voice chat app for gamers which has been around for the best part of two decades, has just pitched up on the Microsoft Store in Windows 11 with an all-new look.

As MS Poweruser points out (via Deskmodder), the fresh incarnation of the software is a new electron app which replaces the old UWP version (previously available on Windows 10).

The new TeamSpeak app (informally known as TeamSpeak 5, with the current version being 3) still works with Windows 10, mind, and it’s currently in closed beta, with development being an ongoing process. You can download and install it even if you aren’t in the beta, but you won’t have access to certain functions (like global chat) until you’re signed up for the beta.

TeamSpeak differentiates itself from rivals like Discord on several key points, notably audio quality and streamlined resource usage.

With TeamSpeak 5, the developer notes: “We have added machine-learning background-noise cancellation, advanced voice detection, multi-track recording, in-line pink noise filters and a whole host of other audio improvements.” That’s paired with 384Kbps audio quality, and a fully overhauled interface to boot.

The UI has been completely redesigned to deliver what’s described as the “most easy-to-use communication experience on the market”, and it’s easy to resize the various panels, for example, plus there are a bunch of visual (and otherwise) customization options (the latter has always been a strong suit for TeamSpeak).

Analysis: Promising progress – but when will the improved TeamSpeak launch?

The new TeamSpeak seems to be doing a lot to tackle its perceived deficiencies when compared to Discord – and it’s already attractive to a core group of gamers who’ve stuck with it for a long time, including those who prefer a simpler and more no-nonsense approach to some of Discord’s frills.

As mentioned above, part of the attraction of TeamSpeak is that it’s less resource hungry, and that it has great voice quality with a high level of reliability. Plus some see it as a much more secure option compared to Discord (the new TeamSpeak promises “end-to-end encrypted, 100% secure” global messaging).

Clearly, the new version is about catching up with Discord in many ways, and getting fresh gamers into the fold. The chat options and improved interface are a big part of that, because the shortcomings on the UI front were a roadblock to more casual users. TeamSpeak currently offers a lot of fine control to users, but it’s fiddlier and more difficult to work with than something like Discord, which is an issue that could definitely do with being addressed in terms of attracting a wider audience for the app.

The TeamSpeak 5 beta has been running for a couple of years now, and there’s no ETA for a full release yet. Hopefully this appearance on Windows 11 is a positive sign in terms of progress being made, and it certainly looks like TeamSpeak is headed in the right direction – even if some beta testers are frustrated about how long it seems to be taking to get things together for the new version. Still, better to get it right, than rush things out...

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).