Quite recently Dave Michels penned a review of the Konftel Ego for the UCStrategies blog. I like Dave. I especially appreciate his no-nonsense approach to things. If he says something is good, it’s probably worth a look.
Konftel’s Ego is a portable, personal speakerphone device with both USB and Bluetooth connectivity. I see that the Ego is listed under $100 on Amazon. Given Dave’s recommendation, and an attractive price, I may need to give it a try. My past experience with the larger Konftel 300 was quite good.
That said, I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of a very firmly held belief. If you truly care about how you sound to the people at the far-end…if their experience truly matters…you’ll choose a headset over any kind of speakerphone or conference phone. When the quality of experience delivered to the other party is paramount, a good headset trumps all else.
A good headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone, takes the acoustics of the room completely out-of-play. It eliminates any possibility of noise, echo, or reverberance, delivering your message as clear as possible to your audience.
No amount of engineering wizardry can make up for sub-optimal microphone placement. Period.
Conference phones and speaker phones simply cannot deliver a comparable experience. You always trade quality of audience experience for your own convenience.
Yes, a headset…When you care enough to sound your very best.
There’s quite a list of items here queued for review. It only just occurred to me that there are three different conference phones that have accumulated; the Konftel 55W, Grandstream’s Android-powered GAC2500 and the Revo Labs FLX UC 1000.
Some of these have been in-house for quite some time. As a lone-wolf in a home-office my requirement for conference phones is considerably less than in years past. Although I have been deploying a number of conference phone in support of ZipDX activities.
There has been something of a shakeup in the conference phone space. For a long while Cisco sold an OEM version of the Polycom’s SoundStation IP7000. That model, now quite vintage, has been my benchmark for many years. In 2013 Cisco replaced the IP7000 with something from Revo Labs, who are a subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation. Their FLX Series has been growing steadily.
Grandstream‘s GAC2500 is their first conference phone offering. I participated in their beta program last fall, prior to the launch of the product. OnSIP have written a glowing review of the device, which tempered my own sense of urgency.
It may be that one of these newer models has a chance at taking the crown.
Over a period of years I’ve used quite a number of these portable USB attached speakerphone devices. A while ago I summarized my experienced with them, but as a couple of new models have recently emerged so I find that they have my attention yet again. These new devices, if I should be lucky enough to try them, will be the focus on some future posts. For the moment I have another observation to share based upon a recent experience.
All of these portable speakerphones I find well suited to individual use. That is, they work well enough for an individual who sitting at their PC and doesn’t like to wear a headset. They’re also sufficiently portable to please a road warrior. One of the nice things about this kind of device is that they often support HDVoice when paired with a suitable soft phone.
Continue reading “USB Speakerphones: An Observation”