A cloud phone system may have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, but in an ever-expanding global marketplace, this next-generation communications technology is becoming increasingly popular. More and more businesses are recognizing the value of managed, portable phone systems, and RingCentral is one of the best providers available.
In our RingCentral Phone review, we put one of the industry’s best business phone services through its paces, testing the standout features of this virtual phone system so you can decide whether the service could benefit your business.
- You can sign up to RingCentral Phone here.
- Best cloud phone systems: buy a business PBX system in the cloud
- The best business phone service
Plans and pricing
RingCentral offers four plans, Essentials, Standard, Premium, and Ultimate.
Its Essentials plan is aimed at small businesses with up to 20 employees and, as the name suggests, enables users to access RingCentral’s basic calling features. The plan starts at $29.99 per user per month.
The Standard plan starts at $34.99 per user per month and includes all the features of the Essentials plan plus a few welcome extras, such as 24/7 support and video facilities.
RingCentral’s Standard plan costs $44.99 per user per month when paid monthly and includes custom integration, while the Ultimate plan, aimed at enterprise clients starts at $59.99 per user per month and includes unlimited storage.
RingCentral is keen to encourage annual subscribers, and if you make a one-off yearly payment, you’ll receive a discount of up to 33%.
If you want to add more than 100 users, you’ll receive a further discount on your plan, but it only equates to a few dollars saved per month. All plans also come with a 15-day free trial.
We were pleased to see how easy it was to scale up too, with options to add international and toll-free numbers as needed.
RingCentral’s phone service is packed with features. In fact, there are over 50 in total. For the purposes of this review, we focused on the most relevant ones on the list.
Call quality is a very important consideration when choosing a business phone service, and RingCentral ensures HD audio regardless of your calling location. The provider also limits the disruption of switching to a new phone service by enabling you to keep your existing number. However, there’s also the option to set up local numbers if your business is focused on a particular geographic location.
We found RingCentral’s voicemail-to-email feature particularly interesting as it enables you to receive voicemails whilst out of office—a great feature for remote teams.
A lot of consideration has also been put into incoming-call management, with call screening, call delegation, and call forwarding options available to users.
Finally, RingCentral’s Call Flip feature enables users to switch calls from a desktop to a mobile phone during a conversation.
Interface and in use
Once you sign up with RingCentral you’ll need to download the desktop app—there is a fully-functional mobile app too if you require it. The process is quick and easy and the RingCentral interface is user-friendly and navigable.
You should be aware that the RingCentral app doesn’t just display the provider’s phone settings. From the admin dashboard, you can access video, messaging, and upcoming tasks too. However, clear icons on the left-hand side of the screen make it easy to access the service you need.
The basic functionality of RingCentral’s business phone service is fairly easy to understand. A pop-up dial pad enables you to make calls from a selection of numbers listed on a dropdown and voicemails are easily accessible and displayed visually. That said, advanced features are more difficult to locate.
For example, call screening functions need to be enabled first, and you’ll only be able to confirm that you’ve enabled them when you receive a call. RingCentral offers a great deal in terms of features, but we would have preferred to see them displayed more prominently.
With RingCentral support, you get what you pay for. There is 24/7 support available but only to users that subscribe to the Standard plan and up.
That said, RingCentral does have a dedicated support site where you can access comprehensive FAQs split up into well-defined categories, consult instructional videos, download technical information, and join its community development group.
There is a live chat feature too, but with such a comprehensive cache of documentation, you probably won’t need it.
Reliability is one of RingCentral’s key concerns. As a result, the measures in place to prevent downtime and disruption to the provider’s service have led to some standout security features.
These include end-to-end network monitoring to ensure performance and real-time analysis of network stability, disaster recovery protocols involving the migration of data to alternative data centers, and cloud-based measures for service continuation even during a period of internet outage.
Nextiva offers a similar service to RingCentral but at a reduced cost—its Enterprise plan is just a few dollars more than RingCentral’s Essential plan and includes up to 10,000 toll-free minutes.
That said, RingCentral’s multi-tool platform, with video and messaging facilities, does give it an edge, and the provider’s Essential plan is competitively priced if you don’t need the extra functionality. But small businesses that just want a simple, cheap way to integrate their phone services might prefer Nextiva.
In comparison, Verizon’s Preferred Voice service starts at a steep $59.00 a month. This does include unlimited US calls, but we felt RingCentral offered much better value for money here.
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RingCentral is one of the best cloud phone providers available. Clearly, the team behind the platform is well versed in the requirements of business phone users, and the wide range of features tick all the boxes.
However, it could be argued that such a long list of features actually over complicates the product, and we would have preferred to see fewer of them but in more accessible locations.