Even in an age of rapid technological advancement, sometimes you can´t beat the tried and tested. In the world of conference phones, analogue still stands strong against the IP alternative thanks to its cost-saving potential and familiarity with users. Whatever the reason for your loyalty to analogue, check out our top 10 to find the perfect fit for your professional needs.
The Polycom Soundstation 2 NE Conference Phone is an ideal solution for audio conferencing in medium sized rooms for up to 10 people, with full-duplex and excellent audio voice quality thanks to Polycom’s Acoustic Clarity technology.
Another analogue conference phone from Polycom that comes highly recommended is the versatile Soundstation Duo, which is ideal for use in small-to-medium-sized rooms but can be used for calls of up to 20 participants if its capacity for expansion microphones is used. The adaptability of the device is demonstrated further by its ability to connect to both IP and analogue networks, making it ideal for offices in transition from one to the other.
Perfect for use in large meeting rooms for up to eight people, the Konftel 250 not only boasts audio quality as good as any of its counterparts thanks to its omnidirectional, full-duplex microphone, but is also packed full of handy features including a recording function via an extractable SD card (to be purchased separately) and a built-in conference guide which allows up to 50 individual contacts to be saved, grouped and called back at the touch of a button.
Next up is the Polycom SoundStation 2, which is designed for use in small-to-medium-sized rooms with around 10 participants up to 10ft away from the phone. It also has tonnes of sound-enhancing elements loaded inside, such as Polycom´s Acoustic Clarity technology and intelligent voice detection, which help to deliver impeccable audio quality. In addition, the Soundstation 2 has an accessibility that belies its superior sound thanks to its traditional phone interface and mobile phone connection facility.
The impressive Konftel 300 is perhaps the most versatile conference phones out there; with a ´line mode´ that allows you to connect it to your PC or mobile via USB cable, as well as the regular analogue connection. Moreover, it´s got all the same market-leading audio components as its predecessor, the Konftel 250, and now its omnidirectional microphone is capable of catering to the conversational needs of up to 10 participants – or even more if its facilities for expansion microphones or PA system connectivity are utilised. The conference guide and recording function are still there too, making this a great conferencing solution for those important boardroom meetings.
The ClearOne™ MAX Wireless is a conference phone with total flexibility; plug in the base unit to your analogue connection and turn any room, up to 150 feet away, into a conference room. This wireless conference phone comfortably accommodates up to 8 people and is expandable to up to 4 units. It has 3 built-in microphones with 360⁰ full-duplex audio pick up from up to an impressive 12 feet.
This smart-looking device comes with several audio-enhancing features that make it one of the finest in terms of call quality: Digital Signal Processing, for example, digitally equalises audio from outgoing and incoming calls to create a more natural sound, while Automatic Gain Control further refines the quality of its four directional microphones. A single Spider MT502 is perfect for use in small-to-medium-sized rooms, although its notable ´daisy chaining´ capabilities allow the simultaneous connection of up to 14 units – enough to fill any conference room.
At number eight is the Alcatel Conference 1800, with its full-duplex technology, superb sound quality and dynamic noise reduction. Alongside the two built-in microphones, the four integrated DECT detachable microphones provide added customisation potential to enhance audio input depending on the participants´ positioning. The device is optimal in medium-sized rooms with up to 15 conversation members.
The Konftel 300Wx is gifted with the same market-leading sound quality, conference guide and recording function as the aforementioned 300, but this upgraded version is remarkably versatile. To elaborate, the 300Wx features complete DECT compatibility in its base station, with support for both GAP and CAT/iq. This device really is perfect for those big-room business calls with its 30m² range, omnidirectional microphone and rechargeable battery with 60 hours´ talk time.
Just like the non-expandable version, the Polycom Soundstation 2 EX has exceptional sound quality thanks to its Polycom Acoustic Clarity, dynamic noise reduction and 360º microphone coverage. In addition, the intelligent microphone system is undoubtedly worthy of a mention given its ability to detect the position of the talking participant and adjust microphone sensitivity to optimise the call. This particular model stands out because it can be a great solution for conference calls in large rooms if its facility for two expansion microphones is utilised.