Details and Review of TeamSpeak

Man sit alone in front of gaming laptop and plays a video game
mikkelwilliam / Getty Images

TeamSpeak is a VoIP tool that allows groups to communicate using voice-chat in real-time. It is mostly used by gamers to communicate and businesses for feature-rich collaboration among partners and co-workers in order to cut down communication cost. It also finds use in education.

TeamSpeak has been around for quite some time and is one of the leaders in voice collaboration, along with competitors Ventrilo and Mumble Audio. TeamSpeak seems to be leading others with its latest version.

  • Very good quality audio

  • Customizable, feature-rich, easy to use and innovative interface

  • Free apps (both server and client are freeware)

  • Free license with up to 1000 participants for non-profit users

  • Many servers around the world

  • You can create and host your own servers and make things really private

  • High security

  • Many plug-ins available

  • Rich in features

  • Available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and mobile platforms like iOS and Android

  • Quite stable software

  • Provides an SDK (software development kit) for integrated TeamSpeak functionality in your apps

  • No calling possibility to non-TeamSpeak users and to landline and mobile phones

  • No video — making tools like Skype a better option

  • Not worth the hassle for a small audience

What TeamSpeak Costs

The server and client apps cost nothing and are freely available for download. They make money only on the service. But let’s see first what is free. You can use the TeamSpeak service for free (i.e. have a complete voice communication system) if you don’t intend to go beyond 32 users. If you are a non-profit organization (like a group of gamers, a religious or social organization, a club, etc.), you can have, upon registration 512 user slots for free. But then, you will need to host your own server, which will need to be always on and connected.

Else, you need to rent the service from Authorised TeamSpeak Host Providers (ATHPs), which are companies that buy licenses from and pay fees to TeamSpeak and sell the service to users. These ATHPs take care of the hosting and service and all it takes, and you pay a monthly fee depending on the number of users you want to have in your group. To look for such services, have a look at this map, which has information compiled and endorsed by TeamSpeak.


The TeamSpeak client app interface is simple at the first look and not eye candy, but it is quite powerful and rich in features. There is a large collection of visual themes and icons, and tons of options for customizations and tweaking. Among the important things that can be tweaked are notifications, security settings, chat options, and environment. The look and feel can be changed completely, with a list of skins to choose from in the fully customizable user interface.

Despite being that loaded with functions, the interface is simple and user-friendly, with a learning curve that is nearly flat. Even first-timers will find their way through easily. Now given that nearly all people using this app are already quite tech-savvy (we are talking of gamers, heavy communicators, etc.), user-friendliness is not even an issue.

Contact management is interesting with a feature that is quite particular: the friends and foes options. This allows you to categorize the contacts in ways that are obvious with the name, and to grant different levels of access permissions. Your friends and foes can be tracked by the program, which always helps in gaming.

Audio quality with TeamSpeak is good, with much from the part of the developers in integrating new codecs and features such as automatic microphone adjustment, echo cancellation, and advanced noise reduction. This is pure high-quality VoIP. As gaming involves maximum immersion in a virtual environment, 3D sound effects make things appear more real. With these effects, you can hear sounds as coming from specific directions within the 3D sphere around you.

The app also features IRC style text chat with emoticons and text formatting. The chat area, which lies at the bottom of the interface, can also show messages from the server. It is tabbed so that you can talk to more than one person at the same time, in public or in private.

Security and privacy have been reinforced with the release of version 3. Over and above the use of a username and password for authentication, each user is identified with a unique ID. This way, a lot of hassles related to username-password authentication are avoided and security is strengthened.

With this new version of TeamSpeak, a user can connect and collaborate with multiple servers at the same time using the tabbed interface. You can, therefore, collaborate with different groups at the same time. You can even bookmark your preferred servers. You can also use multiple audio devices with different servers.

TeamSpeak 3 is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems for computers and for mobile devices running Android and the iPhone/iPad. You can, also, use your mobile devices to communicate while on the move, something important for corporate communicators.

On the downside, the fact that TeamSpeak uses pure VoIP P2P technology, there is no service for calls to other VoIP services, landline or mobile phones. This may not be a drawback for the service when compared to others of its kind, but it makes it profiled for use by a group of people and not the average communicator. It is not a social tool. Also, there is no video communication, and there doesn’t seem to be a need for it in the contexts of targeted users. For video, you will want to consider tools for video conferencing.