fbpx
Tech

The best speakerphone for work from home – Jabra VS Poly

5 Mins read
  • Buy a speakerphone that is designed for optimizing voice quality
  • Bluetooth is nice, but a solid USB connection is a must
  • Noise cancellation will make your work life a lot more pleasant

Why do I need a speakerphone?

Let’s face it, laptop makers have been skimping on audio quality in their machines for years now. This wasn’t as big of an issue when face-to-face meetings were the norm. But now that online conference calls are dominating our time, being more deliberate about audio quality should be top of mind. This is both for your benefit and for your colleagues! That’s why today we are going to figure out what is the best speakerphone for work from home.

The speakers in laptops are just not good enough in the vast majority of machines. They use very small, budget drivers that sound tinny at the the best of times. So upgrading to a proper speakerphone will help a lot in what your hear on your side of the conversation. A good speaker will also allow you to dial back the volume on your calls in many circumstances, leading to a less grating experience for you and loved ones in the same living environment.

But, probably even more important is the audio that your colleagues get on the other side. If the speakers on laptops were bad, the microphones included are usually absolutely brutal. The resulting voice from your end usually ends up being a garbled, low-volume, or noisy affair. When you are on conference calls for the majority of your day, people will actually get actively annoyed with your audio quality. And who wants to be the source of co-worker annoyance?

In a nutshell, investing in a good quality speakerphone for your work from home setup is an investment in both your, and your colleague’s mental health. But what should you be looking for in a good speakerphone and what is the best on the market?

Best speakerphone: Jabra Speak 750

Our favorite speakerphone right now is definitely the Jabra Speak 750. Its mix of audio quality, attractive aesthetics, and flexible connection options make it a great choice for home office users. There are larger and fancier options out there, but most of their features will be lost on a normal work-from-home employee.

Wired VS Bluetooth

There are two main types of connections in the at home speakerphone game right now. USB (wired) and Bluetooth (wireless). But we recommend looking for a speakerphone that includes both! USB is a great to have feature when you just need the device to work with little fuss. If ports are at a premium in your setup or you want to control clutter, then Bluetooth is an excellent choice. In our experience USB connections seem to work a bit better in our testing with less bugs and issues. But when you have Bluetooth included you can feasibly use your speakerphone with your phone as well, making your speaker multi-functional and useful in other rooms of your house.

I have a great Jabra speakerphone that I will even use to play music on Youtube Music and Spotify from my phone when I am not on calls.

Noise-cancellation

The best speakerphones on the market will have some kind of noise-cancelling or echo cancellation (or both). These technologies have become popular in headphones recently but the idea actually originated in the office communication industry originally. Essentially the speakerphone will employ the use of an array of microphones that pick up ambient noise in your environment and dampen or suppress it when you are on a call. The result is a call where your colleagues hear your voice as opposed to your air conditioner or echoes coming off your walls. In my opinion, this is a necessary feature for anyone buying a dedicated speakerphone.

The reason we love the Jabra Speak 750 so much is because its echo-cancellation is so good on calls.

Sound quality for voices VS music

So what’s the difference between a speakerphone and a good Bluetooth speaker? Well, they actually share a lot of the same DNA. Speakerphones will, however, skew towards voice quality on their speakers and their microphones will be higher quality. But now we are seeing speakerphones on the market that also cater to great music listening. The Jabra Speak 750 has actually been tuned to also deliver a great music listening experience without distortion. And you can even add a second unit for stereo listening!

But don’t buy a speakerphone just for its music performance. First and foremost this should be a device that is designed to get the most out of human voices on meetings.

Number of people

Speakerphones will generally come in two main applications: single person (or small group) or conference room style. This impacts the size of the unit and how many speaker drivers and omni-directional microphones that are included in the system. For the vast majority of folks buying a speakerphone for their home office, I recommend smaller, personal units like the Jabra Speak 750.

Portability (battery)

For those of you that tend to move between rooms in your house for a change of scenary, there are speakers with Bluetooth that have built in batteries. This means you are not at all tethered to your home office. These units will also double nicely as music speakers around the house or outside in a pinch. Our favorite unit in this category has to be the Poly Sync 20+ which is has 20 hours of battery life and can even charge your other USB devices! It is also right up there in sound quality for online meetings on Teams, Zoom, or Google Meet.

Aesthetics

You are going to looking at this thing every day so you should probably buy something that looks good right? Gone are the days of mundane and frumpy looking conference call tech. Now you can get a truly decent-looking speakerphone that looks at home next to the nicest of work from home setups. Both the Poly Sync 20+ and the Jabra Speak 750 look really good and would not feel out of place on your desktop. Again, another area to consider is whether you want to forego a USB cord altogether by buying a Bluetooth equipped unit. Then you can be very flexible about where your speaker sits on your desk and keep your setup as minimal as possible.

Compatibility with conferencing software

In the old days this wasn’t even a thing. You would just plugin an 3.5 millimeter audio jack and hope for the best. Now, the best speakerphones are equipped to work in tandem with your conferencing software of choice. For example, Microsoft Teams certified units will be able to actually mute yourself in the Teams app with a physical button on the unit. This is really handy so you don’t get your software mute out of synce with the physical button on the speakerphone. You will find units that are certified for Microsoft Teams, Skype (people use that still?), Zoom, and Google Meet to name only a few. It is worth spending a little extra on these units if your life revolves around one of these conferencing solutions.

Our picks: Best speakerphone for work from home

There are really two main leaders in the industry right now: Jabra and Poly. That is why we recommend the following units:

Best all around speakerphone: Jabra Speak 750

Our favorite speakerphone right now is definitely the Jabra Speak 750. Its mix of audio quality, attractive aesthetics, and flexible connection options make it a great choice for home office users. There are larger and fancier options out there, but most of their features will be lost on a normal work-from-home employee.


Runner up: Poly Sync 20+

An amazing speakerphone with extended features for those of you that are on the move. The Poly Sync 20+ builds on years of Poly’s research and innovation in microphone tech and adds in some modern flourishes like a 20-hour battery and USB accessory charging.

54 posts

About author
I have worked from a distance for many years with colleagues overseas but only recently got a taste of full-blown 100% working from home. And I love it! I can stay way more focused and sneak in the odd cat pet…
Articles
Related posts
9.2
TechTips

Keychron K8 review - Why it's my favorite mechanical keyboard

6 Mins read
Over the years I have tried a lot of keyboards. Everything from a basic Microsoft cheap-o keyboard to a top-of-the-line mechanical one….
TechTips

Herman Miller Aeron VS Cosm - Is this really an upgrade?

9 Mins read
When Herman Miller first announced the Cosm chair, I saw it as a sort of evolution of the Aeron. But after actually…
9.0
TechTips

Long term review: Lorell Tempered Glass Chair Mat

5 Mins read
I honestly had no idea that one of my favorite purchases of 2020 was going to be a chair mat… Seriously, what…
It's time to breakup with the office

Get work from home tips, job-hunting resources and more...

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

×
Tips

5 work from home playlists to keep your focus and sanity