Conference speakerphones and their use have become fairly commonplace in most office environments. In the current climate, COVID-19 poses a health-risk and the need for self-isolation is present. A conference speakerphone could be exactly what you need in your home office, too.
While using an app on your laptop or mobile device may be of some worth, the quality can vary wildly. It also depends on a number of variables. This can make conducting business even more difficult, instead of easier (as they should).
There are tonnes of options available when it comes to conference speakerphones, all packing different features. We’ve rounded up the best of the bunch to help you make your decision on which one to buy.
For a fantastic, feature-rich device that won’t break the bank, check out Anker’s PowerConf Bluetooth and USB Speakerphone. This is one handy little unit, we have to say, and its uses don’t stop at being just a speakerphone. At a relatively bargain price, you’re getting plenty for your money.
The box features the PowerConf unit itself, a carry case, and a USB-C cable. It is just what the Poweconf is capable of that really impressed us. For a start, the tiny 4.88 x 4.84 x 1.18 inches is really unimposing when sat on your desk. This means it won’t take up too much space where the real estate in your office is lacking.
Inside its diminutive housing lies all manner of awesome tech which comparative devices like the Jabra Speak 710 can’t match. It holds no less than six microphones, offering excellent voice pick-up during calls. This voice-pickup has 360-degree coverage over a 5-meter radius, which is great if you like to walk around the room as you hold discussions.
Ambient noise is reduced by 20dB for a much clearer call at the other end. This combines with the Smart Voice Enhancement tech to deliver even more call-clarity. Therefore, neither you nor the caller will miss any important details.
Finally, the Anker PowerConf not only boasts 24-hour talk time from its on-board battery, but it can also charge other USB devices. If you want an excellent catch-all conference speakerphone, for a very reasonable price, this one comes highly recommended.
If you’re not a newcomer to conference speakerphones, then the Poly Calisto 7200 may look somewhat familiar to you. Polycom (who formerly manufactured the Calisto) and Plantronics have joined forces. The result is a new brand: Poly.
The Calisto is a stylish machine, with a flashy aluminum outer case that gives it additional durability. This also means that it remains lightweight and portable, so you can carry it with you if required.
The Poly Calisto 7200 comes with four microphones to pick up voice signals and has a range of 10m. You get a maximum talk-time of 10 hours from one complete charge of the device’s internal battery. Alongside this, you can charge while in use. This means you needn’t worry about the battery losing juice while you’re in the middle of an important call.
The Calisto 7200 features Bluetooth connectivity, which works perfectly with your smartphone. Also, if you would like to use it with a desktop app, you can do so via USB. The speakerphone works straight from the box, therefore no fiddly set-up process. So, you can just plug it in and away you go.
Sennheiser is an expert in audio, so it goes without saying that the Sennheiser SP 30+ speakerphone would rate highly on our list of recommendations. Their little device is barely more than the diameter of a coffee mug. It packs in Sennheiser quality sound to deliver an excellent call experience and you can even use it to play music!
Where the PowerConf and Calisto only allow six users simultaneously, the Sennheiser SP 30+ speakerphone allows for eight. That is to say, you can hold a larger conference call, with more input and more efficiency from your remote meeting.
The speakerphone is easy to set up, too. The USB-C and Bluetooth connectivity make this a great all-round speakerphone; it will allow you to connect with your laptop, smartphone, or your tablet. Voice clarity is always an important feature, so it is good to know that the Sp 30+ makes use of voice clarity tech. This, along with the noise cancellation, means your calls should be crisp and clear at both ends of the line.
4. Konftel Ego
If budget is high on your priority list, then the Konftel Ego will do just the job. It retails at under $100, so it won’t break the bank.
The device looks a little more like how you might expect a conference speaker to look. It is heptagonal in shape, with each of the three longer edges carrying the controls. The call controls also double up as media player controls. These are useful for instances in which you’re using the Ego as a music speaker or similar.
The speakerphone only supports a meeting size of up to four people, but this is perfect if you’re only going to be using it from home. Its fairly diminutive size means that this is a great alternative to wearing a Bluetooth headset to make and take calls. It supports a Bluetooth connection, NFC, and wired connectivity.
The Konftel Ego also features a nice LED screen which forms part of this base. This is a simple function, but it does have the advantage of indicating what the Ego is doing at the time. It will display either a Bluetooth symbol, a USB symbol, or a music symbol. This way, you’re left in no doubt as to what mode your speakerphone is in.
In short, this is an excellent entry-level personal conference speaker that is excellent for home office use.
The eMeet Note N1 is a brilliant conference speaker and for a multitude of reasons. It might be a little on the pricier side, but it packs loads of cool features which will make the investment worth it.
The area in which the Note N1 really shines is its note-taking functionality. All speech is automatically recorded to text and can be recorded as an audio file, too. This could make note-taking a thing of the past, leaving you to concentrate on your call rather than fumbling around the back of your desk drawers for a pen that works.
It even features role-based recording. This means that you can assign two people a role within the meeting, and capture what they say as color-coded text. They are then kept as notes and can be placed in manuscripts to find conversation points easily and quickly.
Despite being pricier than the other speakerphones on our list, the eMeet Note N1 packs in so many useful features that we are certain that the cost reflects a great buy.
The Best Conference Speaker for Your Needs
As you can see, there are plenty of conference speakers on the market. Each one has different features depending on your needs, whether you are using it via Bluetooth or a USB connection.
Not sure which USB cable to use with a wired conference speaker? Check out our handy guide on understanding USB cable types and their uses .
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