The Breeze interface is well structured and simple to navigate. The Meeting Room screen consists of several, resizable modules, including separate chat, video, and slide windows. Like GoToMeeting and WebEx, Breeze integrates its chat window into the main interface. This smart design makes it easy for participants to exchange comments while viewing slides and marking up the whiteboard.
But don't expect to master Breeze immediately. While its menu-driven interface is logically laid out, some terminology is cryptic. For instance, the vaguely named Select Content button, used to run a PowerPoint presentation, is bound to confuse a number of Breeze novices. Then again, some tasks are cake. For instance, screen sharing--allowing other participants to see what's on your screen--is a breeze (pun intended): simply click the Screen Sharing button on the Layout bar at the bottom of the interface.
Overall, we prefer GoToMeeting's interface, thanks mostly to its clearly labeled buttons, such as Show My Screen, Pause Showing Screen, and Change Presenters. Breeze, WebEx, and Microsoft Live Meeting tie, coming in a close second with their interfaces.Macromedia Breeze provides everything you'll need for online meetings, including text chat, a whiteboard, an overlay feature (for marking shared documents without changing the original file), application sharing, and even optional videoconferencing and VoIP audio. Its feature set rivals WebEx's and is superior to GoToMeeting's, which has no video, whiteboard, or annotation tools.
Breeze has a few unique bells and whistles, too. It allows you to poll your meeting guests with multiple-choice questions (see screenshot), such as choosing the next agenda item. Breeze then tallies the results and displays them onscreen. And if panache matters to you, Breeze has a certain flair that its staid competitors can't match. For instance, when you switch from Slides mode to Discussion mode, the Breeze windows slide across the screen, dynamically rearranging themselves for the task at hand.
We found Breeze's videoconferencing easy to configure. We connected our Web camera to the USB port, clicked the camera button in the Camera and Voice modules, and within seconds, we had live video. As for the competition, WebEx also has easy-to-configure videoconferencing, but neither Live Meeting nor GoToMeeting do video.
But Breeze isn't cheap. It's priced at the high end of the Web-conferencing spectrum, slightly higher than both the feature-packed WebEx and the less-capable Live Meeting. A Breeze 5-user plan costs $375 per month, but audio/video conferencing costs an extra $99. WebEx also offers 5-user plans for $375, including audio/video. None of the competitors, though, match GoToMeeting's low pricing: $69 per month for a 10-seat license. (Other pricing plans are available from all four vendors.)Macromedia, like its competitors, bundles telephone and e-mail support with its service. The Macromedia Breeze five-user, $375/month plan, for instance, allows you just five tech-support incidents per month, which is a bit stingy, in our opinion. Neither Citrix, Microsoft, nor WebEx limit their users to five support incidents in comparably priced plans.
We like Macromedia's online Breeze tutorials, however. These tutorials are a great way for beginners to learn the program because they clearly demonstrate the features available. Another nice touch: each meeting invitation you send out includes a link to an online Breeze overview and tutorial, which attendees can watch (each takes a few minutes) before joining a conference.