With this post, I will continue my call conference hardware exploring in search of the best equipment for call and video conferences. As I’ve already guided you through call conference software, headsets, and video conference cameras, today I will try to pick the best conference call speaker.
A Bit of Relief for Your Ears
Currently, I spend most of my working time on video calls with people around the world. A headset is always my first choice audio device (I wrote about it in my article about the best conference call headsets) but after long hours of wearing this on your head, comes a moment when you feel that your brain is about to explode and you need to give your ears a bit of relaxing. This is when I reach for the speaker.
Today I will list 5 devices from top call conference speaker producers. My picks are the best players on the market like Logitech, Anker, Jabra, Sennheiser, and Poly. Each speaker has its own unique feature that you could find among them the one, which will be your best conference call speaker.
Call Conference Speaker Parameters
Before I started to collect speakers for my list, I came with the main features and characteristics which are important from the user point of view.
The main parameters which helps me to find best device are:
- Weight – that’s quite important if you want to carry the speaker with you. In this case, the more light the device is, the better.
- Size – same as above, if you want to carry it, you have to find the right size to fit in your bag
- Call control buttons – intuitive and well-located call control buttons can make the difference as well as the type of these buttons (capacitive touch buttons or physical ones)
- Connectivity – how do you want to connect to the speaker? Is it wireless or through the cable? Is this USB-A or headphones jack? These are crucial questions.
- Audio features – clear and rich sound is a value
- Mic features – features like 360 degrees coverage, noise, and echo cancellation or long mic’s pickup range, are making the difference between a good and perfect sound for your callers.
- Battery life – it’s good to forget for a while about recharging your speaker. That’s why long battery life is a value.
- Extra features – special features which you will find only in this particular model.
- Price range – speakers are classified into three categories: budget, mid-range, expensive
The Best Conference Call Speaker
These are my 5 picks for the best conference call speaker. If you want to know more about the speaker you are interested in, just click “more” at the bottom of the column in the table.
(12,2 x 12,2 x 3,8 cm)
(12,5 x 12,2 x 4 cm)
(12 x 3,3 cm)
(11 x 3 cm)
(11 x 11 x 2.5 cm)
Logitech P710e – Best Conference Call Speaker for Video Calls
Logitech is one of the leading brands in conferencing hardware. Therefore, on my best conference call speaker list, I couldn’t miss Logitech P710e – a small, pocket-size speakerphone with many cool features.
Logitech P710e will do the job on any call, especially when you have more people around you. It’s small and delivered with a zippered neoprene carrying case what makes it also a perfect travel buddy.
The device has wideband audio which delivers good quality sound. The microphone is equipped with echo cancellation and noise-canceling that enables the device to handle the noisy surrounding. Some users report problems with the microphone in rooms with echo where the device has some difficulties to distinguish your voice from the echo.
This speaker is one of the best for video calls as it has a built-in stand for your mobile phone or tablet what makes video conferences much more comfortable. To answer or end your calls you can use built-in what is always an advantage.
Logitech P710e connects with your devices via USB or Bluetooth what is rather a standard. The Bluetooth connection can be established pretty fast via NFC just by bringing your phone to the speaker.
Finally, the battery lasts for 15 hours of talk time what is quite a good result. You can recharge the battery using a USB connection to your laptop or AC charger.
To summarise, Logitech P710e delivers great sound quality, has a phone/tablet stand, and a good battery. As long as you don’t have your conferences in a cave or other similar place with a lot of echoes, Logitech P710e is a good choice for you.
Where to Buy?
- Buy on Amazon: Logitech P710e
- The more advanced solution from Huddly with intelligent framing: Huddly IQ (check on Amazon)
- Single user HD camera from Logitech wit 78-degrees FOV and built-in with privacy cover: Logitech Webcam C920S (check on Amazon)
Anker PowerConf – Best Conference Call Speaker for Road Warriors
Anker PowerConf is an excellent solution for various users. You can use it for your business call conferences, home office work, and kids will love it in the online classes. The device is not that small as it’s almost 5 x 5 inches and weighs 340 grams. It’s delivered with a lightweight travel case in case you would like to take it with you on business trips. The design is simple and operating is intuitive and easy thanks to the control buttons in the middle of the speaker.
The device is plug and play and you can connect it via Bluetooth or USB C-type cable with your computer. The problem is that only one device can be connected to the speaker at a time and when you operate via USB cable, it’s not possible to use Bluetooth in parallel.
6 speakers will collect the sound from all the call participants around the table in a huddle room. However, some users share complaints about the loudness of the microphone. On the other hand, the speaker’s sound is clear and loud.
6700 mAh battery is the strong point of PowerConf as it enables up to 24 hours of calls and if your phone will run out of the battery, you can use PowerConf speaker as a power bank and charge your phone. That makes a perfect solution for road warriors.
My final word about PowerConf is that it’s a great piece of equipment with a strong battery, intuitive, easy to use and for the reasons mentioned above, will work perfectly as a speaker for business travels.
Where to Buy?
- Buy on Amazon: Anker PowerConf
- A cheaper version of PowerConf without Bluetooth dongle: Anker PowerConf (Check on Amazon)
Jabra Speak 510 – Best Conference Call Speaker for Small Meeting Rooms
Jabra is one of the market leaders for this kind of product, therefore it could not be missed on my list. You can find 5 variants of Jabra Speak (410, 510, 710, 750, and 810), but I’m going to focus on Jabra Speak 510 as this one is the most popular and brings the best relation price/value.
This small (hand palm size), lightweight (just 195 grams) portable speaker is perfect for meetings in small teams and huddle rooms. It can easily handle meetings with 4 people in a comfortable way. It’s easy to carry it in your bag as it’s delivered with a soft protective bag.
The control buttons on the front side of the device are capacitive touch – that looks nice, but I prefer physical buttons. The mute button seems to have problems in some units as you can find user reviews with reports about random mute/unmute.
It connects with any device (Computer, Mobile device, Softphone) via Bluetooth or USB type A. The Bluetooth range is a strong side of the device as it’s 100 feet (30 meters). I like the cable management in Jabra Speak where a built-in cable guide on the side of the speaker enables wrapping around the USB cable preventing you from having tangled wires in your bag.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology enables crystal-clear sound without echoes or distorted sounds even at the max volume level. Jabra Speak 510 offers high-quality audio together with omnidirectional microphones covering 360-degree with impressive noise cancellation and pick up range.
Battery enables 15 hours of talk time what is pretty decent time for speaker. I like the idea of non-detachable USB-A cable which you can plug into any USB port to recharge your speaker – no more searching of charging cables.
To wrap up, Jabra Speak 510 is definitely one of the best conference call speaker for small rooms in this price range. It will also be a good travel companion due to its size and lightweight. If you are looking for something more advanced, you can check Jabra Speak 710.
Where to Buy?
- Buy on Amazon: Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- A cheaper alternative but without Bluetooth is Jabra Speak 410: Jabra Speak 410 Corded Speakerphone (Check on Amazon)
- More advanced and great design Jabra Speak 710: Jabra Speak 710 MS Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Check on Amazon)
Sennheiser SP 20 ML – Best Conference Call Speaker for Devices with Audio Jack
Sennheiser is a well known audio company specializing in the design and production of a wide range of high-end audio products, including conference speakers. That’s why Sennheiser SP 20 ML could not be missed. What is special about this device is that it’s the only speaker on my list without a wireless connection.
Sennheiser SP 20 ML is a typical round shape speaker with 4.3 in diameter and a weight of 210 grams. It’s delivered with a carrying case in order to protect the device while traveling. Like Jabra Speak 510, SP 20 has also a cable guide on the side of the speaker enabling the right cable management. Controls at the front of the speaker are physical buttons with functions like call and volume control, as well as a mute button located in the center of the speaker.
As it was written earlier, Sennheiser SP 20 ML is offering wired connectivity with USB Type-A or 3.5 mm mini-jack cable. This makes it way easier to connect with your tablet or smartphone as Bluetooth pairing is not required. On the other hand, more and more new smartphone models come without a headphone jack. So before you will decide to purchase SP 20 ML, check if you have a headphone port on your mobile device.
As Sennheiser is famous for perfect audio products, the speaker sounds really great, and echo-canceling technology with an omnidirectional microphone does the job of delivering clear sound to your audience on the other side of the call. According to the producer, the speaker is certified for small huddle meetings in groups of 6-8 people.
Battery life in Sennheiser SP 20 ML is above the average in this range of products and it’s enough for 20 hours of talking time. Battery level indication in the center of the speaker is a useful feature. The charging time is about 2,5 h.
Sennheiser SP 20 ML is a really good proposal if the wireless device is not a must-have feature. In return, you get a robust, user-friendly speaker with intuitive controls and clear sound.
Where to Buy?
- Buy on Amazon: Sennheiser SP 20 ML
- Sennheiser speaker with wireless connectivity option: Sennheiser SP 30+ (check price on Amazon)
Plantronics Calisto 7200 – Best Conference Call Speaker for the Beach
The last speaker on my list is Plantronics Calisto 7200. Initially, that was a product of a company Polycom, which was acquired by Plantronics in 2017, and in 2018, Plantronics changed its name to Poly.
Calisto 7200 is a 4,33 inches squared box, 0,98 inch thick, and weighs 13.1 Ounces. It’s delivered with a carrying case. The USB cable has a built-in locking mechanism that protects the device against theft. What’s unique in this type of speakers, Calisto 7200 is rated with IP64 dust and water resistance what makes it perfect for calls on the beach 🙂
The controls on the top of the speaker are touch-sensitive with the most important functions like answer, end, mute, and control volume. On/Off and Bluetooth pairing buttons are physical ones and are located on the side of the device.
Plantronics Calisto 7200 connects with your PC via USB and with mobile devices through the Bluetooth connection. The Bluetooth version is 4.1. USB connection offers better audio parameters than the Bluetooth connection.
The full-duplex audio offers a clear and loud sound. Four microphones provide 360-degree horizontal pickup up to 10 feet (3m). NoiseBlock and reverb rejection technology guarantee that all noisy background distractions will be removed.
The weakest side of Calisto 7200 is the battery life. It’s just 6.5 hours of talk time. That’s the worst result from all speakers on my list. On the other hand, when did you had last time a 6 hours call? If the answer is “I can’t remember”, then maybe 6,5 hours of battery life is good enough for you.
To summarize – Plantronics Calisto 7200 is a premium speaker with great audio quality and suitable for a small group conference room for up to 6 people. Additionally, its IP64 dust and water resistance makes it a great choice for travelers.
Where to Buy?
- Buy on Amazon: Plantronics Calisto 7200
- A cheaper product from Poly with a different design and only USB connection: Plantronics Calisto 3200 (check price on Amazon)
- Another one from Poly with USB and headphones jack connection (no Bluetooth): Plantronics Calisto 5200 (check price on Amazon)
Before I will summarize the “Best Conference Call Speaker” list, I’d like to recommend to you some more articles about video conferencing:
- How to pick the best video conference software.
- As I said – my first choice for calls is to go with headphones, so here is the post on how to pick the best call conference headset.
- And finally, to deliver your image to your audience in a perfect way, you should use the best video conference camera.
To conclude this post, I’d like to give you some final advice on how to pick the right conference call speaker
- Think about how you will use this speaker? Alone or in the group? This will tell you if you should search for a device that is certified for huddle rooms.
- How often you will use this? What is the average length of your call? Answering these questions will tell you if battery life is a crucial factor for you.
- Will you carry your speaker or will it rather lay on your desk? If you need a more portable speaker, then you should take into account the weight and size.
- How are you going to connect with your speaker? Via Bluetooth? Or maybe with cable? Connectivity is an important factor.
- Think about any other requirements like dust and waterproof?
I hope my call conference speakers review will help you to make the right choice in your search for the best conference call speaker.
Stay tuned for my next article about conference calls’ survival.
Featured image source: equipment manufacturers & Lucas