Let’s be honest, using the speakerphone on your regular office phone, well, just plain sucks. How so you ask?
A speakerphone picks up all that unwanted, nasty background noise that annoys and distracts not only you, but those you’re communicating with. We all want to sound great, and we all want our customers and clients to have a good, pleasant experience.
That’s not possible if you have them on your speakerphone. Spot the wonder dog finds perfect moments to go off on a barking tangent.
Or, your 3 year old ends up in your private home office banging and crashing his or her way to you for that much needed attention.
That speakerphone you’re talking on, guess what? It hears it all, and so do your important clients.
Some speaker phones aren’t full duplex. This means that only one person can talk at a time. That’s not how conversations go. In order to have a naturally occurring conversation, it needs to be dynamic and free flowing. Some speakerphones inhibit this as one person is unable to talk when the other party is. That’s referred to as “simplex”
What you want is “duplex”. This means that both parties can talk at the same time which is normal. Not normal from the standpoint of truly hearing the other party, but normal as in how conversations normally go. Conference phones give you full duplex conversations.
Speakerphones can have echo or even fluctuations in the level of sound. This means that your callers may very well hear you well one moment, and not so well the next. This makes it hard to lock in on a conversation when you’re struggling to get the details.
Echo is just that. This can be brought on by having the volume up too high, or speaking too closely to the device itself. No matter the cause, it’s unacceptable and a significant annoyance to all parties involved. You really want to ditch the echo in favor of better sound quality.
Whether you’re using a speakerphone or using the audio from your PC, Laptop or mobile device, the audio quality you hear is going to leave you wanting something better.
Good sound quality equals less frustration, less distraction, a better communication experience and happier customers. So let’s explore some fine options that you can consider when a conference phone is needed while working from your home office or on the go.
The conference phones we’ll discuss are those that have the ability to connect to a PC via the USB port. Some will have Bluetooth connectivity as well. Our list here isn’t all inclusive, but it does represent the most popular models available today.
So if you’re in the market for a small, compact, full featured great sounding conference phone for home use or traveling, look no further because these products are guaranteed to have you sounding great at home, or on the road.
First up, we have the Poly Sync 20+. As you might know, Plantronics, a company known worldwide for manufacturing great headsets, merged with Polycom. Polycom is a company well respected for making excellent audio and video products. Their integration was a natural fit, and the Polyc Sync 20+ is one of the early products to come out of that merger.
This is a small, elegantly designed product that’s perfect for the home conference user. It has the ability to connect to a PC via the included USB dongle, but it can also connect to your mobile devices via Bluetooth. This is highly valuable flexibility that keeps you connected when in or out of the office.
The Lithium-ion battery will keep you talking all day if needed because it’s rated at up to 20 hours of talk time. That’s a great feature all by itself and it outperforms many of the competitors in this space.
But, it doesn’t end there. You can also use the Poly Sync 20+ to charge your mobile phone via the built in USB port. We’ve all been there.
You’re in the middle of something and then you notice your mobile phone battery is in a death spiral threatening to put you in the black hole of mobile communications.
With the Poly Sync 20+, you’ve got a built in second life because it can charge your phone. Longer talk time, longer peace of mind.
The Poly Sync 20+ will have you sounding great too. It has audio characteristics that enhance your sound, not interfere with it. For example, the Sync 20+ comes standard with full duplex audio.
This allows for a natural conversation that allows both parties to speak when they like rather than one at a time talking. The microphones are rated to pick up your voice to 7 feet giving you the freedom to get up and move around while on a call.
It also features echo cancellation for enhanced audio, and a 3 microphone steerable array to make sure that everything is heard loud, crisp and clear. Nothing was spared in the engineering of the Poly Sync 20+. Noise suppression is a standard feature as well. This helps to keep the background noise to a minimum so your callers aren’t bothered by what’s going on around you.
If listening to music is important to you,, the Poly Sync 20+ has you covered there too. You’ll hear rich sounds including deep bass thanks to the bass reflex system with dual passive radiators for deep rich sound. The Sync 20+ is more than a pretty face, it’s a sleek, solid workhorse that gets the job done when called upon.
The Sync 20+ comes with a lanyard and carry case.
Poly Sync 20 Review Video
Jabra Speak 510+
Jabra, most known for manufacturing professional grade wired and wireless headsets, has silently been developing quality audio conferencing products in the background. The Jabra Speak 510 is a very good product that’s well built and versatile.
You have the option of connecting the Jabra Speak 510+ to a mobile device via Bluetooth connection, or, you can plug in the included USB dongle (Jabra Link 370), to your Laptop or PC for wireless connectivity. This gives you the flexibility to use the conference phone at your office or on the go. It doesn’t take up a lot of room either, and it does come with a nice padded carry case.
The battery is rechargeable and provides up to 15 hours of talk time. Most people don’t talk for 15 hours, not even 8 full hours in a typical work day, so the 15 hour battery should be more than enough to handle even the most rigorous of days.
The Jabra Speak 510+ has a lot of great technology built into it. Take for example the microphone is omni-directional. This means that it has a full 360 degree coverage area so anyone’s voice at any angle can be heard.
Wideband audio/HD voice
Today, there’s a high expectation for great audio. The Jabra Speak 510+ doesn’t leave you short. The sound is rich and clean just like what you want and need. The HD voice feature delivers near theater like audio for an awesome listing experience.
Digital Signal Processing
DSP is a sound enhancement that makes your calls come to life with true sound that eliminates the chance of echo or feedback even at higher volume settings. DSP is another example that this is a product that’s built with quality in mind.
Controls. The Jabra Speak 510+ has easy to interpret user controls. It’s not confusing to see how you turn up or down the volume levels as well as how to mute the microphone. Equally easy is to see your Bluetooth connection, battery level, answer a call/end a call and more. Simple to understand and even easier to use.
The Jabra Speak 510+ is a solid choice if you’re wanting a reasonably priced, great sounding, versatile conference phone or bluetooth conference phone in a compact design. It’s easy to use, it stores easily and it won’t break your bank account if you want to get one.
Jabra Speak 710
The Jabra Speak 710 is the 510+ on steroids. It’s the most current iteration of the Speak family of products and the latest in the line. Jabra truly made a better, more versatile product in the Speak 710. Consider for a moment some of the standard features that come with it.
This is a conference phone that sounds great. It comes with Digital Signal Processing for enhancing the sound while helping to keep things like echo out of your conversations.Beyond that there’s an omni-directional microphone that picks up sounds from a full 360 degrees. Though the Jabra Speak 710 is rated to accommodate up to 6 people, the omni-directional microphone will allow everyone to be heard, loud and clear.
Not only is the speaker HI FI grade quality, but the Jabra Speak 710 has the unique ability to wirelessly pair two units together for a true stereo listening experience. So, whether you’re wanting to have a better experience when listening to music, or
whether you want to expand your crew to more than 6 even up to 12 people, the Jabra Speak 710 has you covered all the way. You’d be hard pressed to find another conference phone this versatile in a compact, high powered, portable conference phone speaker design.
The Jabra Speak 710 delivers even more convenience with its ability to navigate using voice guidance for many of the most popular assistants. This makes navigating around faster and more convenient.
The Jabra Speak 710 has a built in stand that allows the conference phone to stand up so you can face it in the direction of your choosing. This can allow you to hear better rather than the sound being projected towards the ceiling.
-It comes with a full 2-year warranty.
-It comes with a padded carry case for easy transporting
-It can be used as a stand alone unit, or paired to a second unit
-It sounds great and it’s easy to use
-It sets up fast and is well built
If a new conference phone or wireless bluetooth conference phone is in your future plans, check out the Jabra Speak 710. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Jabra Speak Review Video + Mic + Speaker Test
You might be asking yourself who’s EPOS? The short answer is think Sennheiser. Sennheiser is a name that’s been around a long time and is always associated with quality audio gear.
A while back, Sennheiser peeled off their headset business unit and sold it to a group that’s now operating under the name of EPOS. So, just think Sennheiser and this should be less confusing.
Sennheiser, now EPOS, is known for their German engineered quality products. When you look at the SP30+, you’ll appreciate the build quality. Fine materials including metals are generously provided across the product. It’s easy to see, and even easier to appreciate.
When it comes to a conference phone, or Bluetooth conference phone, having versatility is important. After all, remote workers are just that; remote. Remote could mean working from home, or it could mean working somewhere else, like at a nearby Starbucks or in your car. Having a versatile product gives you more use options and that can come in handy when you find yourself working in more places than just one.
The EPOS Expand SP30+ can connect to a USB port of a computer via the included dongle, or you can plug it in via the USB cable. If neither of those are to your liking, it can connect via Bluetooth as well. So if a Bluetooth conference phone is what you seek, the SP30+ has that base covered. But remember, you still have other ways you can connect it.
Having a great looking conference phone or Bluetooth conference phone that’s versatile is great, but that’s not enough. It needs to sound awesome. So what should you expect in the SP30+? Great sound of course. Here’s why:
The SP30+ comes standard with a pair of omni-directional microphones. This gives you 360 degree coverage for you or your group of up to 8 people. Pretty awesome, right? Two omni-directional microphones in one small, compact conference phone.
The SP30+ has the goods. It comes standard with noise suppression, echo cancellation, Digital Signal Processing, and full duplex audio. All
these high tech features are engineered to provide you with the best available audio experience going today.
All that is great if you’re using your conference phone for a voice call. But what about if you want to listen to music? What kind of listening experience might you expect?
The EPOS Expand SP30+ delivers on the listening experience. It provides an immersive experience through the built in technology such as the use of an ultra-low distortion speaker. Furthermore, the SP30+ incorporates a dynamic equalizer that has bass enhancement. All this is designed to give you, the listener, a great audio experience.
-360 degree microphone pickup (2 onboard microphones)
-Digital Signal Processing
-Full Duplex Audio
-Easy to navigate user controls including a one-touch Microsoft Teams button Connects to Smartphone, Tablet, Mac or PC
-Storage beneath for USB cable and USB dongle
-18 hours of talk time
-3 hours 20 minutes charge time
If a high quality, affordable, versatile and great sounding conference phone is what you seek, then you’ll want to give the EPOS Expand 30+ a thorough consideration.
This is a great sounding, versatile product that’s tops for quality and it won’t leave you disappointed when it comes to the sound you hear, or the sound that others hear.
Epos Expand SP30 Review Video
These four models of conference phones are all excellent. You cannot go wrong with any of them. If there’s something specific you have in mind, then a careful review of the data sheets and the corresponding specifications should provide you with the best option for you.
The state of the art when it comes to portable conference phones is exceptional really. They’re mostly plug and play which makes using them a breeze. The cost won’t break
your bank account, but you will have a smile on your face knowing that you can use it at home or whenever you hit the road. Who doesn’t like options, right?
Best of luck to you in finding your next best conference phone. We think that these models are real winners.