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RingCentral MVP review: Messaging voice and phone in a unified interface

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £7.99
(per user, per month, inc. VAT)

An extensive communications platform with the potential to create a good first impression


  • Easy to set up and administer
  • Default automations sound very professional
  • Automatic transcriptions and meeting summaries


  • No desk-phone support during trial

RingCentral MVP is a cloud-based business communications platform with phone, messaging, fax, and video features. It has dedicated apps for desktop and mobile use, plus a web app that replicates the desktop experience.

Some users may prefer using a dedicated app, and it can be useful when working with third-party tools that can’t interface with a web UI. Otherwise, there’s no need to install anything, which makes remote working or logging on from a borrowed computer easy.

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RingCentral MVP review: What do you get for my money?

There are several tiers to the RingCentral MVP (Message, Video, Phone) service. They all include the mobile, desktop and web apps, team messaging, document sharing and call logging, which form the basis of the Essentials tier costing £7.99 per user per month. That’s the price you’ll pay if you sign up for a year, but if you opt to pay monthly it jumps to £12.99. Essentials also includes 100 minutes of free domestic and EMEA calls per user.

Above this, Standard (£14.99/£18.99 per user per month, depending on your billing cycle) ups the number of bundled minutes to 750, rolling in internet fax, unlimited audio conferencing and integration with common business suites including Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Slack. You can record calls on demand with the Standard model, or set this to happen automatically if you opt for Premium.

Premium is billed as the most popular offering, at £19.99 per user per month if you pay annually; or £23.99 per user per month if you opt for monthly billing. This builds on the Standard product by rolling in 2,000 inclusive minutes of calling per user, video meetings with up to 200 participants, hot desking, advanced call handling – including whisper and barge features – and integration with popular CRM platforms such as Salesforce and Zendesk.

RingCentral MVP review: How do you set it up?

Onboarding is swift and simple. When you first sign up, your organisation is assigned a geographic number. In our tests, the service automatically picked the area code from which we were logged in, but there’s no reason why you need to stick with that if you live in the sticks and want to give the impression you have a city-centre HQ. If you have a number that you want to transfer, you can port it once you’re set up. 

The easiest way to get started is to sign up for a trial, which involves supplying payment details and a location (for emergency services), and setting up between one and five numbers. Once you’ve provided a password, you’re good to go. It doesn’t take much more than 10 minutes. After that, you can download the app or access the service through the browser. What you can’t do – until you sign up for the paid service – is add a handset. Fortunately, this isn’t a huge issue since there’s a fully featured online dialler.

With the system up and running, you can manage users and set up company-wide call handling, the latter of which lets you specify business hours and what should happen to incoming calls outside of those times. Whether you’re open or closed, options include sending calls to a specified user or extension, playing a default greeting, sending the call to multiple users (each of whom can pick it up) or sending it to voicemail.

We placed calls from a mobile to our own RingCentral MVP number and, rather than hearing a ringing tone, we were answered immediately by a built-in automation, which placed us on hold until we either picked up in the app or sent the call to voicemail. When we opted for voicemail, the system explained this on the mobile from which we were calling, and included our RingCentral username as part of the announcement. If we were a genuine caller, this would have reassured us that the message had been delivered to the person we were after, rather than a general or company-wide mailbox.

RingCentral MVP review: How do you administer it?

Everything is managed through a comprehensive dashboard, with each action recorded to compile an audit trail. Calls are logged, too, and there’s an analytics engine that not only tracks who has been making and receiving calls, but quality and transfers, too, depending on the tier. So, you can see if a call was moved from extension to extension, and how often a number appears in the log. Call logs are included in Essentials, but if you want to track quality of service, perhaps because users or incoming callers are complaining, you will need to be using the Standard tier or above.

Beyond the core offering, there’s an app gallery through which you can integrate with Salesforce, Google Workspace, Trello and Microsoft Teams; install the RingCentral Automator to generate automatic responses to incoming SMS messages; hook in to OneDrive; and more. The ability to integrate with existing file-sharing solutions means users won’t start to passively create new data silos within chats, and administrators can enable or disable a range of mainstream cloud file-sharing services – including Google Drive, SharePoint and Dropbox – from the dashboard. 

There’s also a visual editor for creating interactive voice response menus (the kind of thing you might encounter when you ring your doctor and need to reach a particular department), which are available in the Standard tier and above. Designing a menu with the visual editor is like plotting a family tree: you add stems to branches, along which callers can navigate with button presses. It’s intuitive, but if you’re comfortable with XML then you can instead upload either single- or multi-level menus created outside the system, should you prefer. 

RingCentral MVP review: What are the calling features?

As well as web, client and app-based calling, you can enrol VoIP desk phones for complete flexibility. You can record calls as they’re happening on the Standard plan and above, and your correspondent will be alerted when recording has started, giving them the option to object or hang up if they’re not happy with that.

If you miss a call or send it to voicemail, you can deal with your messages in the order you choose, courtesy of visual voicemail – and you can download any that you want to keep, too. The message is simultaneously transcribed and sent to your email for users on the Standard plan and above.

Live call handling is equally flexible. As well as transferring calls to other extensions, you can park them and send a notification message if the person they need is busy. When the recipient receives your message, it includes details of the incoming number, what to dial to pick it up and, neatly, a link that they can click to take over the call. The whole time this is going on, the caller is listening to hold music.

Incoming calls can be answered by a virtual receptionist using your company name on all but the Essentials plan. Callers are then invited to dial an extension directly, or type at least the first three letters of the surname they need. So, for Hobbs, that would be 462 – rather than 4466622, as it was in the days of T9 dialling. Voice prompts then direct the caller to the person they’re after.

As well as live extensions tied to users, you can create message-only or announcement-only extensions, call queues, shared lines that reach up to 16 phones, and paging groups for delivering one-way broadcasts through multiple desk phones.

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RingCentral MVP review: What about video and messaging?

The messaging module will be immediately familiar if you’ve used an equivalent business messaging tool, handling both group and direct conversations. If you want to message contacts who aren’t in your organisation, you can do so without setting them up on your RingCentral account, or switching to an alternative service: email them an invite via the system, and they can set up a free account of their own to communicate with you.

Contacts that you need to message frequently can be added to a list of favourites, and the system also keeps track of shared files and images, as well as any exchanges you want to pin, so they’re easy to find in the future. Should you find your text messages getting too involved, you can click a button within the chat itself to switch to a video call, at which point your meeting gets a URL and dial-in numbers.

Outside of messaging, you can start video meetings immediately, or schedule them for a future point. Once the meeting is up and running, you can access the features we’ve all become accustomed to with the rise of remote working, including screen casting and chat. If participants need to discuss points on a more granular basis, they can use virtual breakout rooms without disconnecting entirely from the primary meeting. This could be useful for brainstorming specific points before bringing back the results to the larger meeting. As well as meeting recording, there’s a transcription feature that notes not only what was said, but by whom, while meeting insights generate automatic summaries and keywords for anyone who needs to catch up.

RingCentral MVP review: Should you buy it?

Our experience with RingCentral MVP was a thoroughly positive one. Messaging and video are fully featured, and tools such as transcription and summarisation greatly enhance their appeal.

However, what impressed us most was the “V” of RingCentral MVP: Voice. This isn’t just a VoIP service you’re signing up for, but a phone system that, on the Standard tier and above, has interactive menus and an automated receptionist. Of course, it’s a computer answering your calls, but it doesn’t sound overly synthesised. The voice is pleasant, and the integration of your company and staff names gives a very professional first impression. It has the potential to make a small business look like a larger, better-resourced operation than it really is – which could give customers greater confidence.

While the Premium tier product may be the most popular option, at least according to RingCentral’s pricing grid, there’s no need to pay the full £19.99 per user per month if you won’t use all of its features. If you don’t need to integrate with a CRM or develop custom integrations, consider the Standard (£14.99) tier. If you’re a solo or micro-business that doesn’t need interactive voice menus or integration with Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, then Essentials, which starts at £7.99, may better fit the bill.

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