There's no doubt about it – this past year has been challenging for businesses, with a global pandemic proving disruptive to standard work practice. Many of us are now working remotely, or from different offices, and the need to communicate clearly with our teams is more important than ever.
When face to face meetings aren't possible, a conference telephone system can remove a lot of headaches, offering clear audio to teams no matter where they are. But what is the best conference phone?
Our team of experts have unearthed the ten most popular and highly regarded conference phones available right now. The best models we've found are the Polycom Real Presence Trio, VTech VCS702, and Yealink CP960. We've also found some great options for smaller teams, such as the Konftel Ego.
Deciding on which conference phone is best for your office is no easy feat. Between countless features and dozens of unique price points, a little information goes a long way in making the right call. That's why we've collected all the research you need to choose the setup that'll make your business as productive as possible.
To save you a bit of time, this table gives a quick overview of the top five conference phones on the market. You can find more complete reviews of all 10 of the phones that have earned a spot on our best conferences phones list further down the article.
10 Best Conference Phones Reviewed
The 10 best conference phones on the market are:
- Polycom RealPresence Trio – 20 foot pick up range, feature-rich
- VTech VCS702 – two wireless microphones, with 12 hour talk time
- Yealink CP960 – 20-foot range, acoustic echo cancelling
- Polycom SoundStation 2 – 10 foot range, easy to read LCD screen
- Cisco 8832 – Supports up to 26 participants, full-color display
- Snom MeetingPoint IP – Supports up to 10 participants, three speakers
- Polycom SoundStation IP 7000 – High fidelity audio and built-in security features
- Konftel 300IPx – Smartphone compatible, can accommodate extra microphones
- Konftel Ego – Small and compact, can be used outside the office
- Cisco 7832 – 7 foot range, with 360-degree coverage
Now that you've got a general idea of what the top conference phones offer, it's time to take a deeper look at each of the best devices to make sure you're making the right decision. Finding the right conference phone for your business will depend on a number of factors – these include the budget you have at hand, the size of your conference rooms, and the number of models needed.
This section gives a comprehensive breakdown of the best VoIP conference phones available, taking price into consideration, as well as the reach of each model – meaning you can find the perfect conference phone, however large or small your office and meeting rooms are.
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Recommended Conference Phone
Polycom RealPresence Trio
5″ LCD color display
Mobile and PC integration
Supports up to 26 attendees
Supports up to 26 attendees
The Polycom RealPresence conference phone is by far the most stylish piece of conferencing technology out there, and the feature-rich system will also exceed expectations with its high quality audio.
With a 20 foot pick up range, the RealPresence Trio is suitable for even the largest of boardrooms, and can aid collaboration between whole teams with ease.
- Stylish design
- 5 inch LCD color display
- Polycom’s HD Voice & Noise Block
- Integrated Bluetooth technology
- 360 ° microphone coverage
- 20-foot (6-meters) microphone pickup
- One-step-to-join meeting integration
The VTech VCS702 differs from a lot of its competitors in that the base station also includes two wireless microphones, which can be detached and placed around the room. This means that participants can be comfortably heard without feeling the need to strain to get closer to the main unit. These microphones charge when placed back on the base, and have a 12-hour talk time.
The base itself has one fixed microphone and a two-line backlist display, with the usual phone book and calling options you'd expect from a conference phone system. Without the removable microphones, it would simply be a ‘good' phone – but throw these into the mix, and it elevates itself to a model well worthy of your shortlist.
- DECT 6.0 microphones
- Duplex speakerphone
- Suitable for small to medium rooms
- Detachable microphones
- Built-in microphone charging stations
- Backlit display
- 10-level volume control
The Yealink CP960 IP conference phone is designed for small and medium-sized conference rooms. It can support a radius of 20 feet for speakers in the room, which can be extended to 60 feet with the addition of optional wireless microphones.
The unit provides Optima HD technology, a built-in 3 microphone array, full-duplex technology, and acoustic echo cancelling to enable clear, lifelike conference calls. It also supports call recording and linkages to mobile phones or PCs.
- Call recording
- Connect to a mobile phone or PC for conference calls
- Optima HD voice, full duplex technology
- 20-feet and 360 degree voice pickup
- Optional wireless microphones for 60-feet pick up
- Microphone blocking when person not speaking
- USB call recording support
The Polycom SoundStation2 delivers full duplex audio to suit small to medium sized meeting rooms. New features include an easy-to-read LCD display, and a 50% increase in microphone sensitivity over the previous SoundStation model. Participants can be heard from up to ten feet away.
The unit connects to a standard analog line or analog extension from a PABX.
- LCD display
- 50% increase in microphone sensitivity over previous model
- Password-protected configuration settings
- Phone book/speed dial list – up to 25 entries
- Excellent sound quality
- Full 360-degree coverage
- Full duplex operation
- Digital speakers
The Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 8832 is a modern conferencing phone with a full color backlit display. It can support large meetings, and caters for up to 26 attendees with a microphone that can cover a wide area. Its design means that it is highly portable, and can be easily taken from one room to another.
Another big plus is it works great with Cisco Webex, which certainly never hurts when it comes to video conferencing.
- Supports up to 26 attendees
- Backlit color display
- Covers radius of up to 800 square feet
- Wideband G.772 crystal-clear audio
- Built-in encryption
- Shares OS with other 8800 series phones
- Easy to move from room to room
The Snom Meeting Point is an executive-level business VoIP SIP conferencing phone, designed for mid to large conference rooms and up to 10 participants. It offers excellent sound quality, with three speakers providing full duplex broadband audio.
The Snom Meeting Point is the only current SIP conference phone that works in unison with Microsoft Office Communication Server. Two models are available – G.729 for 3-way conferencing, and G.711 for 4-way conferencing.
- Call recording feature in development
- Works with any SIP-based IP PBX.
- Integrates with Microsoft Office Communication Server
- OmniSound full duplex broadband sound technology
- Backlit graphical LCD display
- Supports 3 or 4 way conferencing
- Supports power over Ethernet
- Range up to 3 metres- suitable for 10 people
- Connection for add on microphones to extend range
The Polycom SoundStation IP 7000 conference phone is designed for midsize conference rooms. It delivers high fidelity audio from 160 HZ to 22 kHz – designed to best capture the high and low frequency of the human voice – meaning that your colleagues will sound as though they're in the room with you.
Plus, built-in security features mean that calls are protected, no matter who you're calling or where from.
- Full duplex technology
- Compatible with a broad array of SIP call platforms
- Optional expansion microphones and support for lapel microphones
- Polycom HD Voice technology, for high-fidelity calls
- Patented Polycom Acoustic Clarity technology
- Automatic microphone gain control
- Advanced call handing, security, and provisioning features
- High-resolution display
- Integrated Power over Ethernet
The Konftel 300IPx is bound to impress any visitors you have in your team meeting, as it's compatible with your smartphone and can actually be controlled with a dedicated app. Callers can use their smartphone address book to make calls, as well as adjusting the volume, muting the phone, and controlling other features all from the app. This means less of that awkward leaning across the table to hit buttons mid call.
The Konftel 300IPx can also grow as your business grows, thanks to its ability to accommodate additional microphones, wireless headsets, and PA systems.
In addition, users can use the SD card slot to record and store meetings for archiving or note taking purposes.
- Compatible app
- Serves meetings of 20+ participants
- One touch functionality
- USB connection
- Built-in bridging function
- Omnisound with HD audio
The Konftel Ego is something of an outlier in this list, being the smallest – and cheapest – conference phone that we've included. Its diminutive size makes it a perfect travel companion, and even the smallest office can make space for it.
It's a great solution for those looking to communicate outside of the office who still need a conference phone solution, and it's so flexible it can be easily used pretty much anywhere, such as in a car or a corner of a hotel foyer. It's battery-powered too, meaning it really can be set up wherever your team happens to be.
However, its small size means it's only really suitable for teams of six or fewer.
- Palm-sized design
- Context sensitive light display
- Collaborative tools intergration
- USB/Bluetooth connection
- Omnisound with HD audio
- Battery powered
- 3.5 mm headphone port
The Cisco 7832 is aimed at smaller offices, with a range of around 7 feet when speaking at normal volume. It boasts four internal microphones and 360 degree coverage, meaning that no corner of the meeting room should go unheard.
The setup is simple and the interface on the device itself is straightforward, with a large mute button front and center to enable some quiet time when you want to take the discussion off air.
In terms of features, this model doesn't do much beyond what you'd expect, but it is a good, honest entry-level conference phone for small businesses.
- Entry-level cost
- 360 degree microphone
- HD audio
- Duplex speakerphone
- 4 internal microphones
- Monochrome LED display
Why You Need a High Quality VoIP Conference Phone
Conference phones face a unique set of challenges that are different from mainstream phone technology. For one thing, regular phones are not designed for people talking several feet away from the microphone in rooms with an echo.
The technologies used in advanced conference call systems have developed well ahead of the audio technology used in the mainstream mobile and telecom industry. The best conference phones today provide HD voice and use specialized high quality microphones. They can handle echo cancellation, noise reduction, and full duplex, resulting in clear audio from conference phone speakers.
A well-designed conference phone system will improve productivity and the quality of decision making. Participants can focus on the meeting, and won't be distracted as they struggle to hear what is said, which will minimize the risk of misunderstandings. During important meetings with customers, it is easier to detect subtle cues or changes in tone of voice if the audio quality is excellent.
A hundred conference calls lasting an hour each with four of your staff will cost more than $10k (if they make $60k/year). The cost of good VoIP conference phones is minor compared to the salary costs of time spent in meetings.
Different Types of Conference Phones
There are three types of conference phones: regular speakerphones, standalone conference phones, and installed systems throughout the room. The units can either use traditional analog voice, or be VoIP conference phones.
Traditional speakerphones are basically desktop telephones with an incorporated speaker. They usually have no echo cancellation, and only one microphone. They are designed for a single user sitting directly in front of the phone who sometimes uses it for hands-free calls.
Speakerphones are not built for group discussions, and if several people sit around a speakerphone, the sound quality from the conference phone speakers is often very poor.
A conference phone is a single unit designed to operate in an open-air environment. It is a standalone device, but can be supported by extension microphones. They are as easy to use as regular phones, and are built to cover an entire room and all the people in it.
Conference phones incorporate echo cancellation and noise reduction – together with other advanced signal processing technologies – in order to reproduce clear sound. Wireless conference phones are easier to move around, but must be recharged. The market has developed enormously in the last 15 years, and there are many models which are suited to different needs.
An installed conference system is built into the room. There are a number of microphones and speakers throughout the room, and some of them can be moved to accommodate different situations. Each component is controlled by a very sophisticated system that adjusts speaker outputs and microphone gain levels, as well as the other variables required to maximize audio quality.
The installed system’s advanced signal processing can eliminate problems that often occur in a larger room, including loudspeaker zones, feedback, multiple echo, and other difficult noise problems experienced by conference phone speakers. These systems are often integrated with video conferencing equipment, and the installation is usually done by a system integrator or A/V consultant.
Finding the Perfect System for your Conference Room
The optimal type of conference system for you will depend on the size and layout of your conference room. When selecting a conference phone, a lot can be achieved by improving the acoustics in the room before installation. Large windows or glass walls generate more echo, while carpeting, acoustical ceilings, curtains, or wall hangings will improve the acoustics.
Small Conference Room
In a small room which seats up to four people, the size forces the participants to sit close to the conference unit. This provides an optimal conferencing experience.
If a regular office is used, furniture and clutter will often improve the acoustics in the room. Conference phones designed for small rooms usually provide 5-7 feet coverage.
Best Conference Phone: Grandstream GAC2500
Traditional Conference Room
A mid-size conference room which seats between 6 and 12 people is more challenging than a small room. Participants are further away from the microphones, which makes echo and noise more problematic.
If you're in need of a medium-ranging solution, make sure it has the microphone and audio features to manage a larger setup.
Best Conference Phone: Avaya B100 Series
A boardroom is often designed more for looks than for acoustics, which can make using a business conference phone setup difficult. That is, if you don't have the right one.
There are installed systems that will get the job done, but some tabletop conference phones will work, if they have the right features and audio quality.
Best Conference Phone: Polycom RealPresence Trio
Benefits Of Conference Phones For Business
Sound Quality – It’s of primary importance that your meetings can be conducted efficiently, and without confusion caused by poor sound quality. All the models we have selected on this page are from manufacturers renowned for quality design and the integrity of their sound reproduction for conference phone speakers, and for each one, satellite speakers can be connected as necessary to extend the listening range for larger meeting rooms.
Minimize wasted time and travel costs – With phone conferences, you can quickly gather colleagues together for the meeting regardless of where they are geographically. Your colleagues working remotely can use a video conferencing app, computer, or regular phone to dial in and join the discussion, then those in the office can all jump straight back into other tasks directly afterwards. No more unnecessary travel costs, missed flights, or traffic jams to contend with!
Be spontaneous and agile – With audio conferencing, you can quickly pull people together for ad hoc meetings with minimal prior scheduling. Respond and collaborate efficiently as business developments unfold.
Fast ROI – You’ll find that a conference phone for your business will very quickly pay for itself, especially when factoring in resulting reduced travel costs and minimized wasted time.
Conference Phone Features
Conference phones come with a wide range of features, and they can differ greatly from device to device. Here are most important features to look for when selecting a conference system.
The quality and pickup range of the microphones is particularly important. Directional microphones will discard noise and echo coming from behind them, while cheaper omnidirectional microphones will pick up noise from every direction.
If you've got a loud office, or just want to make sure you enjoy crystal clear audio every single time, you're going to want to make sure your conference phone has some kind of noise reduction technology built in. Advanced signal processing for suppressing pickup of unwanted sounds is crucial.
Full Duplex Sound
Full duplex is another important feature. It will enable the participants to speak at the same time without cutting one another off. This ensures that the conversation can flow naturally without interruptions. It's far from a vital feature, but if you want to communicate effectively, it's a bit of a must.
Get Set Up with a Conference Phone System
Now that you have all the information you could possibly need to make an intelligent decision about your conference phone system, the next step is right around the corner: finding out the price!
With our handy quotes form, you'll be able to get an accurate, customized price for your business. Join the thousands of businesses we've helped get set up with a conference phone system by grabbing a quote today.
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