Ring Central Ring Central
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4.5 5stars

Ring Central Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Integrated faxing and mobile apps make this a good choice, but it's a bit complex

Full Review:
Many of the virtual phone service providers we've reviewed are also Internet fax providers. What's become rather clear to us is that success in one area, doesn't guarantee success in another. RingCentral does faxing, and to be honest it wasn't one of our favorites in that category. Its virtual phone offering, however, hits almost all the right spots, particularly for those that like a lot of options.


Interface and Setup


We mentioned above that RingCentral is great for those who like options. It has one of the most robust control panels of any virtual phone service we looked at. This can be good or bad, depending on your needs. The larger your small business, the more complicated your needs, the more you may like it. If your small business is limited to one or two people, it may be unnecessarily complex. Some things are not as simple as they should be; entering your business hours, for instance is also a bit tedious.


One thing we did not like is the way you record your greetings: You must call your number and navigate through a complicated phone tree to record your announcements, or record them on your computer and upload them. There's no option to have the system call you. You can, however, have your greetings professionally recorded for an additional charge.


Service and Features

Call quality is perfectly fine with RingCentral. When we tested these services against one another they were virtually indistinguishable. It's in the actual functionality that these services start to show their differences.

RingCentral distinguishes itself by integrating Internet faxing into the service. While we didn't love RingCentral's stand-alone Internet fax product, we think this is a great extra for small business owners who don't need to do too much faxing. Faxes are charged to your account as one page per minute, so three pages of faxes will deduct three minutes from your monthly allotment.


RingCentral also offers an iPhone app (see screen shot at left). While somewhat limited in functionality, it does allow you to call out, show your Ring Central account as caller ID, access your contacts, and listen to your messages. The RingOut function is particularly useful, since dialing out with most services is a bit laborious. However, on 3G, the app will use your normal iPhone connection for dialing out. While this won't use your RingCentral minutes, it also means your personal number will show up as the caller ID.

Additionally, you'll find functionality that allows you, or your employees, to record calls (check to see if that's legal in your state). There's also a fairly wide range of hold music styles to choose from. Although none of them are great, we've definitely heard worse, and it's nice to have a choice. You'll also find extensive call blocking options with customizable behaviors. RingCentral also allows you to set up some pretty advanced incoming caller-ID options, so that you'll know which calls are coming from where.


Pricing and Minutes

RingCentral's Pro plan is $12.99 per month for 300 minutes, which is pretty normal for this category. RingCentral's ProPlus plan hits the real sweet spot: $19.99 per month gets you 1,000 minutes. Finally, the ProPower plan costs $24.99/month for 2,000 local, long distance and 1,000 toll-free minutes. All these rates are based on a full-year commitment. Month-by-month plans are generally a bit more per month. Free 30-day trials are offered on the Pro and ProPlus plans. It costs $30 for an 800 number, or you can choose another toll-free number for free with your plan.


Conclusion

The keyword with RingCentral is "options." RingCentral may be the most robust virtual phone service we've reviewed, though the learning curve is a bit high. The menus may be intimidating at first, but RingCentral has pretty good US-based customer support should you get stuck. Ultimately we like RingCentral for its incorporation of faxing, its iPhone app and nice, if complex, interface. If those things are important to you, we recommend RingCentral.

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Service Details

Annual Plan Price:$12.99/mo
Free Trial:30-day free trial
Domestic Minutes:300/mo
Extensions:2
Faxing:Send & receive
Additional Minutes:4.9¢

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