The increased focus on working from home, or WFH for short, has been the biggest change in our lives over the last couple of years. While some of us love our home comforts, the need to be able to talk to our colleagues over our computers has put a great emphasis on having the best audio devices to be able to talk.
Options exist both as headsets, which are for individual use, as well as speakers, which can be used for both individual scenarios, but can also be used with multiple people in the room.
Please find a list of some of our favourite devices that we have tried in the last two years:
Headset: Poly Voyager 4310 UC
The Poly Voyager 4310 UC will connect to your PC or Mac using its Bluetooth connection. Features include:
- Bluetooth connectivity, and Bluetooth adapter is included in case your device doesn’t offer it.
- Comfortable adjustable padding
- Twistable microphone to allow both left eared and right eared use
- Available as a dual headset as well
- Available with charging stand as well
- Embedded noise cancelling within the microphone allows you to talk in noisy environments.
- Mute button on microphone to allow for easy muting and unmuting.
What I really loved about this is how easy it is to use and pair. Not everything works as well with Macs, so I have been very pleased with this. You can also walk and talk, and I quite like the one-eared setup as it means I am aware of what is going on, whether I am in the office with colleagues or am home and keeping an ear out for delivery drivers!
It is fairly comfortable, and will easily last you an hour or two in a meeting, but you might need a break after.
More information can be found on the Voyager website, and it can be bought from the likes of Amazon. At the time of writing, it starts from around £125.
Headset: Anker PowerConf H500
The Anker PowerConf H500 takes things up a notch. Not only does it offer AI powered noise-cancelling, it also includes a transcription service which allows all your meetings to be transcribed. The service comes as a free trial for a week, and you’ll have to pay after, but it is a fairly cool feature to have.
You can buy this with or without a charging stand, much like the Poly Voyager above.
You can also pair it with multiple devices, meaning you can shift from phone to phone or from phone to PC/Mac as needed.
My favourite feature though, is the smart mute. If you’re in a call, and somebody speaks to you, it automatically mutes you if you lift the earpiece from your ear for over 2s. That means that you can have internal conversations with your colleagues, your house mates, your kids, or your pets, without slipping anything awkward into a meeting!
Comfort is another bonus here, and the 24 hour of battery life means you hardly have to worry about the battery running.
It can be bought from the likes of Amazon, and costs just over a £100.
Headset: Apple AirPods Pro
My other favourites are the Apple AirPods Pro. They are more expensive and they work best with Apple Devices, but the build in Noise Cancelling, and clever shifting from device to device makes them rather convenient devices to have for your meetings. The fact that you can go from Noise Cancelling to Transparency mode also helps.
These cost nearly £200, and are available from lots of places online including Amazon.
Speaker: Poly Sync 20
Not everyone wants to be attached to a headset or have earbuds in their ears. Sometimes there are more than one of you on a meeting, or you just need a good device because your laptop sound system doesn’t quite cut it.
Whatever your reason, the Poly Sync 20 has you covered. The clever microphone cuts out background noise and keeps its focus on the speaker(s) near it, and when you’re done, you can use it to listen to music or whatever takes your fancy.
Connectivity comes via Bluetooth or direct connection, and you can even use it to charge your phone.
With a talk time of up to 20 hours, this is truly portable and ready to take on any meeting.
More information can be found on the Poly website. It retails for around £110 and can be bought from the likes of Amazon.
Speaker: Anker PowerConf S330 USB Conference Microphone
If you don’t mind plugging something into your computer, then the Anker PowerConf S330 might just be the device for you. With 4 microphones tracking in all directions, this device offers smart noise cancellation, focusing only on the speaker. It also allows multiple speakers, meaning it can be used for yourself, or in a small meeting room with multiple people.
Excellent sound means you can easily hear the people on the other side, and being compatible with everyone makes it the simple easy choice.
At only £54, it also makes it the budget choice out of all the options we have presented.
It can be bought via Amazon.