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HARDWARE

Three New Conference-Room Speakerphones
 

We tested three new speakerphones to see if they can improve the quality of conference calls.

From Left: Polycom SoundStation IP 7000, AT&T TL86109, Panasonic KX-NT700 V2

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Conference calls are notorious for poor volume and lousy sound quality. These new speakerphones have features designed to solve those problems. We called in to meetings remotely to try them out. Here are the results.

PRODUCT
NAME
POLYCOM
SOUNDSTATION IP 7000
AT&T
TL86109
PANASONIC
KX-NT700 V2
COOL FEATURES This VoIP phone, designed for groups of 12 or fewer, levels out the volume of everyone in the room, no matter where people are sitting. A low-cost option for groups of six or fewer, this analog phone smooths out calls when more than one person is talking. This phone, also designed for small groups, has both analog and Internet connections and a button that slows down fast talkers.
CALL VOLUME It was easy to pick out the primary speaker in a room of 12 people during our test, even when several people were talking at once. During our test calls with six people in a room, we could hear everyone speaking, including a soft talker sitting in the corner. Even with the volume cranked, one person sounded faint during our test with five people. We could also hear a noisy fan in the background.
SOUND QUALITY Calls were crisp and clear. The phone also removed background noises such as a vacuum in the hallway and an air conditioner. Calls sounded fuzzier than with the other models we tested, most likely because of the phone's analog connection. Internet calls were clear, but we heard static during analog calls. The slow-down button made a fast talker sound like Darth Vader.
COST $1,339 $170 $1,108
IMAGE: Courtesy Companies
Last updated: Oct 1, 2010

JOHN BRANDON is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.
@jmbrandonbb




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