The 10 Best USB Speakerphones
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Boasting impressive audio capabilities, these USB speakerphones provide an efficient way to make conference calls whether you're in or out of the office. They utilize one or more microphones, in addition to advanced technology, such as echo elimination and active noise reduction, to ensure everyone involved in the conversation can hear and be heard clearly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best usb speakerphone on Amazon.
GrandStream IP Phones These are not your average end-user devices; these are powerful, commercial-grade systems meant to work flawlessly for full-time use, no matter how demanding your industry is. Some of them have USB connectivity, and some do not, plus they're all remarkably expensive, so you'll probably want to contact the manufacturers and have a chat about which will perfectly fill your needs. grandstream.com
Polycom Conferencing After merging recently with telecommunications giant Plantronics, Polycom has even more of claim to the teleconferencing throne. They have a vast selection of devices available, almost all of which are certain to be of very high quality. One of the only drawbacks is that you may need to have your IT person spend a few days getting everything set up. polycom.com
December 24, 2019:
First off, if you're looking for something that you can install easy in your vehicle for hands-free calling, head over to our list of bluetooth speakerphones, many of which are designed for exactly that. Alternately, if you won't be using it terribly frequently, many of the most popular Bluetooth speakers have built-in microphones and serve well as speakerphones in a pinch.
But if you routinely make important conference calls, a dedicated USB speakerphone may be in order. The Jabra Speak 410, Plantronics Calisto 610-M, and Sennheiser SP20 are all reasonably priced and perform very well, though they may struggle with groups of more than 6 or 8 people. The eMeet M1 is in the same price range but boasts Bluetooth wireless technology as well as a powerful 7-mic array that promises to both pick up voices and cancel environmental noise. The BeyerDynamic Phonum is a bit more costly than those mid-range options but has an impressive level of sound quality. The ClearOne Chat 170 has an even larger price tag, but does offer some of the functionality that commercial use requires. At the other end of the spectrum are the eMeet M0, which is a bit quiet, and the Kaysuda SP200U, which is surprisingly reliable and high-performing for a $50 device.
We also highlighted a couple high-end options for the most demanding users. The Phoenix Spider MT503 offers exceptional input and output quality and can be combined with many other units to provide entire massive rooms with powerful conferencing abilities, while the Owl Labs Meeting Owl Pro combines a speaker, microphone, and Full HD camera, as well as powerful automated focusing and media processing, to provide a streamlined and easy-to-use videoconferencing system.
Why USB Speakerphones Are So Useful
The most common environment in which a USB speakerphone is liable to find consistent use is in the office.
If you've ever been on a marathon phone session, you know that after a while your ears can begin to hurt from all that pressure. If that phone session happens to have coincided with any activity that required the use of both of your hands, then you probably held the phone up to your ear with the help of your shoulder, which undoubtedly left you sore and fatigued on that side of your body.
The speakerphone was designed to solve this problem, freeing up your hands without having to burden your shoulders, neck, and ears. Today, a lot of our phone conversations take place on mobile devices. These conveniently have speaker phones built into them, but that doesn't nullify the usefulness of a USB speakerphone. If anything, the growth of these and other technologies has created more reasons than ever to own and use a high-quality USB speakerphone.
The most common environment in which a USB speakerphone is liable to find consistent use is in the office. Small offices in particular rely on free services like Skype to conduct meetings and interviews when face-to-face interactions aren’t possible. In these instances, relying on the microphone or speaker built into a computer may result in poor quality audio on both ends of the conversation, and high-end conferencing hardware is prohibitively expensive.
One of the ways that USB speakerphones improve audio quality is with ambient noise cancellation technologies. These allow the units to effectively cut out a variety of background noises created in the office environment that might make you more difficult to hear on the other end. Good USB speakerphones also have superior speakers to those built into small laptops, tablets, and cell phones, so you and anyone else in the conference room will have an easier time hearing the other caller.
These features can greatly benefit home users, as well. Just because you don’t run an office doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the leisure of a hands-free phone conversation, especially if you’d like to conduct that conversation while performing other tasks around the house like washing dishes, taking notes on the conversation, or just enjoying a little bit of food. They're also a great way to gather the family around for a conversation with an elderly loved one who might not be technologically savvy enough to get her Skype or Facetime working.
How To Choose The Right USB Speakerphone For You
It would be easy to think that the purchase of a USB speakerphone would come down simply to whichever model is the loudest and the cheapest. While both volume and price are important considerations, there are a few things to look into when evaluating one USB speakerphone against another that will help you find a product that satisfies all your calling needs.
It’s important that these cables be long enough to serve your purpose, but in general they are not advisable.
In all likelihood, the most important consideration when beginning to evaluate your speakerphone options is connectivity. Obviously, a USB speakerphone is designed to connect via USB to whatever device you use to place a call. If you’re running Skype off a computer with a USB port, that shouldn’t be a problem. Things get a little more complicated when you start to think about using your USB speakerphone with a cell phone or tablet. Depending on the brand of phone you use, you may need an adapter to successfully connect the speakerphone to your device.
As we mentioned above, some USB speakerphones include a noise cancellation feature. If you work or use your speaker phone in an environment that suffers from anything like ambient air conditioning hum or the chattering of coworkers or family members, you’re going to want a unit with this feature.Even if your environment is usually quiet, this is a good thing to have. You never know when someone is going to start running a leaf blower or lawnmower right outside your window, potentially ruining a call.
Other features to look out for when searching for your perfect USB speakerphone include things like cameras, mute buttons, and cable length. A camera integrated into your USB speakerphone will have the obvious advantage of providing video along with your audio signal in conferencing software or over programs like Skype. Mute buttons, especially those prominently placed on the speakerphone, will allow you to quickly cut off the audio signal to anyone on the other end of the call if you need to have a private conversation with your partners.
Finally, some speakerphones come with USB cables hardwired into the units. It’s important that these cables be long enough to serve your purpose, but in general they are not advisable. A hardwired USB cable will result in a less reliable unit, as you’ll have to replace the whole thing if that cable should ever fail.
Other Personal Office Essentials
Office life in particular can be grueling. Endless meetings, uncooperative fax machines, and intolerable bosses are just some of the miseries you may endure daily. The speakerphone was conceived of as a way to make life a little easier. A good USB speakerphone can make your day go by that much more smoothly, but it isn’t the only thing that you can add to an office environment to create a greater sense of ease.
It’s also a good idea to think critically about the office space itself.
Anything ergonomic is usually a smart edition. Whether it’s a chair to improve your posture, keyboard to help prevent repetitive strain injuries, or a standing desk to keep you from spending too much time on your rear, items that take care of your body will ultimately improve your mood and performance.
It’s also a good idea to think critically about the office space itself. This can apply to anything from the art you choose to hang on the walls to the color you choose to paint those walls themselves. Certain colors and patterns have been shown to increase productivity and lighten people’s moods, but make sure you stick with a decor that you find most pleasing, even if the eggheads warn against it. After all, it’s your space, whether it’s a corner office or a little cubicle.
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