The 6 Best Conference Phone Systems in 2021

A group of colleagues participating in a meeting

By Julia Watts | Content Manager | Updated: 31 March 2021

Searching for the best conference phone for your team or client meetings? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to


Amidst all the dazzling technology that surrounds us in 2021, the humble conference phone doesn’t exactly stand out. It’s the faithful friend that sits quietly in the meeting room, enabling us to host conversations with remote colleagues or clients. But memorable, it usually isn’t.

In our opinion, though, conference phones don’t get enough credit. Because beneath it all, they’re advanced pieces of kit, incorporating the latest in audio technology and unified communications (UC) to make your meetings clear, convenient, and seamless. Or at least, that’s what our top 6 conference phones do – and in a fast-paced business environment, that’s a huge benefit.

So, which devices would conference phone aficionados such as ourselves pick as the very best to be bought in Australia? Let’s find out.


The 6 best conference phones for 2021

At Expert Market, we’ve been helping businesses to find the right communications solutions for over a decade. Now, we’ve turned our microscope to the Australian conference phones market, fastidiously researching and comparing the top manufacturers, and the best models they have to offer.

As a result, we can reveal the 6 best conference phones for today’s businesses:

Conference phoneBest for…Price (inc. GST)
Snom C520 WiMiBig conference rooms$415 to $480
Jabra Speak 710Small conference roomsFrom $385
Poly Trio C60Easy call controlAround $1,200
Yealink CP960Sound quality$900 to $1,100
Cisco Webex Room PhoneCollaborative meetingsUnclear (but we suspect around $2,500)
Konftel EgoMeeting from home$170 to $270

All pricing is accurate as of March 2021

All of these conference phones boast HD audio quality, and most come with some form of background noise elimination – whether that’s a noise-blocking AI (to be found on Poly’s conference phones) or echo cancellation (looking at you, Cisco and Konftel).

They can also be integrated with a variety of VoIP phone systems and other business communication tools. And, of course, UC is a huge trend in telephony at the moment, and these conference phones all tap into that by enabling you to bridge other devices (such as smartphones and headsets) into calls via bluetooth or USB.

So, without further ado, let’s find out a bit more about these exemplary models.

Or, if you’d prefer to gather tailored, no-obligation conferencing quotes quickly and directly from the right providers for you, head to our quick questionnaire to tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll match you up with those providers.


A group of colleagues participating in a meeting
The right conference phone will make your meetings clearer and quicker

Snom C520 WiMi

Best for big conference rooms

Recommended number of participants: Not specified

Recommended meeting room size: Any

Snom says its C520 WiMi conference phone is suitable for meetings of any size (which we wouldn’t dispute), but we do recommend it specifically for large meetings in big rooms. Why? Well, that’s thanks to the C520’s two additional wireless DECT microphones (included as standard), which can be detached from the base unit and placed elsewhere in the room. The result? Someone who’s 50 metres from the base unit – but in range of a microphone – can still be heard, crystal clear. And for even more range, you can couple up to three Snom wireless C52 loudspeakers (at an extra cost) with your C520 to create a formidable conferencing system for your biggest rooms.

Price: $415 to $480

Conference phone features:

Mic pickup range50 metres (164 feet)
Maximum volumeNot specified
Audio qualityHD audio
Background noise elimination?Dynamic noise cancellation
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes, up to two devices

What is it compatible with?

Snom doesn’t share a list of all the VoIP and other communication systems that the C520 is compatible with, but it does say that it’s “interoperable with all major IP PBX platforms”.

Pros:

  • Incredibly affordable for a device that can comfortably handle your biggest meetings
  • Boasts the biggest mic pickup range we’ve come across
  • The detachable speakers have 12 hours of battery life

X Cons:

  • We don’t know how loud this conference phone can get, so whether your entire meeting room will be able to hear it is another question
  • We can’t advise on whether it’s compatible with your current systems or not

Did You Know?

Conference phone manufacturers don’t tend to share their product prices publicly – usually, they ask that you get in touch directly for a quote, or buy your conference phone bundled as part of a full phone system from a phone system supplier.

This means that the prices we’ve cited in this article can’t be exact – instead, we’ve scoured reputable reseller websites to find an average price (or a price range) for each conference phone that’s as accurate as possible (as of this writing in March 2021).

The exceptional manufacturer on this list is Jabra, which does share its prices outright – and so the prices we list on this page for Jabra’s Speak models come straight from the horse’s mouth.


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Jabra Speak 710

Best for small conference rooms

Recommended number of participants: Up to 6

Recommended meeting room size: Small

As fans of its headsets and headphones will probably tell you, Jabra’s a bit of an unsung hero in the audio world. But unsung it shouldn’t be, because its devices are sleek, innovative, and reliable. The Speak 710 is no different, with a 360-degree mic that picks up sound from all around it, and simple, easily accessible button controls that make it a breeze to use. Designed for portability, the Speak 710 is wireless and lightweight, so you can take it from room to room (or building to building). Uniquely, multiple Speak 710s can be wirelessly paired to boost the range of your mics and run larger meetings, giving you an easy way to expand your conferencing system as your business grows.

Price: From $385. But Jabra also sells cheaper, more basic Speak models for small teams – namely the Speak 510 (from $264) and the Speak 410 (from $220).

Conference phone features:

Mic pickup rangeNot specified
Maximum volumeNot specified
Audio qualityHD Voice
Background noise elimination?Not specified
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes, up to two devices

What is it compatible with?

According to Jabra, the Speak 710 is compatible with pretty much any web and softphone app straight out of the box, as well as over 10,000 desk phone models. Specifically, Jabra says the Speak 710 is compatible with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Amazon Chime, as well as systems from:

  • Avaya
  • Cisco
  • Mitel
  • 8×8
  • Unify
  • Google
  • Fuze
  • Dialpad
  • RingCentral

Pros:

  • Awesome compatibility – works with all softphone and web apps and over 10,000 desk phone models
  • Weighs just 298g, and comes with a free travel pouch
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • Can stream music and other media when not being used for a meeting

X Cons:

  • A little pricey for such a compact model
  • Doesn’t appear to come with background noise eliminating technology
  • You’ll have to choose whether you want it to be optimised for Skype for Business, or for other unified communications platforms

Poly Trio C60

Best for easy call control

Recommended number of participants: Eight or more

Recommended meeting room size: Any

Poly (formerly Polycom) says the Trio C60 conference phone is “built for simplicity”, and we believe the company has held true to that intention. In particular, the Trio C60’s five-inch colour touch screen makes it really easy to control calls – and you can start or jump into a call with a single tap, shaving important seconds off the time you spend sorting meetings (it all adds up). Helpfully, the device’s volume and mute buttons are located separately just below the touch screen, so they’re always visible and accessible. Plus, if you decide to go the whole hog and adopt a Poly video room solution too, the Trio C60 can act as a hub from which to conveniently control those video meetings. 

Price: Around $1,200

Conference phone features:

Mic pickup range6.1 metres (20 feet)
Maximum volume92 decibels
Audio qualityPoly Signature Audio
Background noise elimination?Yes, with NoiseBlock AI
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes (number of devices not specified)

What is it compatible with?

The Poly Trio C60 can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom, as well as systems from:

  • Alcatel Lucent Enterprise
  • Metaswitch
  • Vonage
  • Comcast Business
  • Ribbon
  • RingCentral
  • 8×8
  • Cisco
  • Avaya

Pros:

  • Very good compatibility – it can work alongside a variety of systems
  • Boasts clever, AI-driven noise blocking tech for cleaner audio
  • Has the loudest maximum volume on this list (of those that are specified)

X Cons:

  • One of the more expensive conference phones we’ve come across (but you do get a lot of bang for your buck)

Yealink CP960

Best for sound quality

Recommended number of participants: Up to 20

Recommended meeting room size: Mid to large

If you’re looking for crystal clear conversation with absolutely minimal background noise, you can’t go wrong with the Yealink CP960. That’s thanks to the company’s ‘Noise Proof Technology’, which works to reduce background noise during conversations, and also automatically mutes your mics if nobody’s speaking – so gone are the days of deciphering voices over incessant typing or whirring fans. Yealink also promises “dead-zone free pickup”, with 360-degree microphones that pick up voices from all around. And if you want to expand that pickup range from 6.1 metres to 23, you can purchase Yealink’s wireless DECT CPW90 mics to pair with your base unit and place elsewhere in the room.

Price: $900 to $1,100

Conference phone features

Mic pickup range6.1 metres (20 feet)
Maximum volumeNot specified
Audio qualityHD Voice
Background noise elimination?Yes, with Yealink Noise Proof Technology
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes (number of devices not specified)

What is it compatible with?

We’ve actually been unable to find reliable information on the VoIP and other communications systems that the CP960 is compatible with – if you’re interested in using the device alongside your current system, you’ll need to double check with Yealink (or whichever company supplies you with the device) to make sure it can be done.

Pros:

  • Its sleek touch screen user interface is intuitive and easy to use
  • Pairing with additional DECT mics can free you up to move around and make presentations during meetings

X Cons:

  • Additional CPW90 mics are sold separately, unlike the Snom C520’s
  • We can’t advise on which systems the CP960 is compatible with, so you’ll need to check it can work alongside yours

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Cisco Webex Room Phone

Best for collaborative meetings

Recommended number of participants: Not specified

Recommended meeting room size: Small to medium

Boasting cloud-based VoIP calls, dedicated cameras for video meetings, interactive whiteboards, and more, Cisco’s Webex suite is truly at the forefront of conferencing innovation. The Webex Room Phone works seamlessly as part of this wider system, but can also be used as a standalone product. Uniquely, this conference phone is geared towards collaborative work – it makes it easy to share content and view it together on a HDMI-connected screen, so you and your meeting participants can contribute to tasks and projects as a group. While this conference phone may be more expensive than the others on this list, you’d certainly get a lot of bang for your buck if you chose to invest in Webex.

Price: It’s been difficult for us to source solid pricing information for this device, so you’ll need to get in touch with Cisco for a truly accurate quote. That said, we did find one reseller website listing it at just under $2,500.

Conference phone features:

Mic pickup rangeNot specified
Maximum volume89 decibels
Audio qualityHD voice
Background noise elimination?Acoustic echo cancellation and noise reduction
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes (number of devices not specified)

What is it compatible with?

As with Yealink’s CP960, Cisco doesn’t share a list of the other systems that its Webex Room Phone is compatible with. What we do know, however, is that it works at its best alongside the Webex suite of products.

Pros:

  • Use the Cisco Webex Control Hub to track and monitor conference phone use, troubleshoot problems, and more
  • Boasts a beautiful six-inch colour touchscreen
  • Joining a meeting is easy and code-free – owners of scheduled devices can simply press one button

X Cons:

  • Likely the most expensive conference phone on this list, especially considering it’s designed for smaller rooms
  • You’ll also need to pay for a monthly Webex subscription to access the best features
  • You’ll need to check that it’s able to work alongside your existing communication systems

Konftel Ego

Best for meeting from home (or anywhere!)

Recommended number of participants: Up to six

Recommended meeting room size: Small

And now for something a bit different: the Konftel Ego, a portable speakerphone that lets you jump into HD-quality meetings while on the go. Battery-powered and weighing in at a compact 230g, the Ego can be used basically anywhere: it would particularly suit a home office, a hotel room, or a small meeting room, which is ideal if you’ve got team members working from home in the wake of COVID-19. Plus, it’s cheap enough that you may be able to buy one for each of your most senior staff members (or those who’re in meetings most often). And, if your team prefers face-to-face collaboration, the Ego can be paired with Skype for Business or the Konftel Cam20 for 4K video meetings.

Price: $170 to $270

Conference phone features:

Mic pickup rangeNot specified
Maximum volume87 decibels
Audio qualityOmniSound with HD audio
Background noise elimination?Automatic echo cancellation and noise suppression
Bluetooth connectivity?Yes, one device

What is it compatible with?

The Konftel Ego can be used alongside Skype for Business, as well as systems from:

  • Cisco
  • Avaya
  • Alcatel Lucent Enterprise
  • Mitel
  • Atos Unify

Pros:

  • Really affordable – it’s the cheapest conference phone on this list
  • Compatible with Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, Avaya IX Workplace, and more
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • The lightest conference phone we’ve come across

X Cons:

  • The exact mic pickup range isn’t specified, so we can’t advise on how far away from the phone you and other participants can sit
  • The user interface is more basic than others on this list
  • Not compatible with as many systems as the Jabra Speak 710

Expert verdict

The range of conference phones we’ve explored here are the very best that we found on offer in Australia. But each made the cut for different reasons, so the one that’s right for you will depend on your team and your priorities.

If you’re looking for a solution for small meetings, the Jabra Speak 710 is our top pick, while we recommend the Snom C520 if your business tends to run large conferences. If you want a device that’s intuitive and makes advanced call controlling easy peasy, the Poly Trio C60 won’t steer you wrong, but if crystal clear sound quality’s more your thing, the Yealink CP960 is our top shout. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Webex Room Phone makes collaboration and teamwork simple, while the Konftel Ego will enable you to run meetings from anywhere (a quality that isn’t to be sniffed at in the wake of COVID-19).

Of course, it’s always our advice that you should seek out as many quotes and compare as many models as possible before buying your conference phone. We can help with that. Just answer a few questions about your business’s comms needs (be sure to tell us you want conferencing capabilities!), and we’ll match you up with trusted phone system providers that can cater to your unique needs.

Those providers will then get in touch with you directly to offer no-obligation quotes for you to compare, and give you advice and answers to your questions. It’s free, and the quickest and easiest way to zero in on and compare the right options for you and your team.


FAQs

How do conference phones work?

Conference phones enable three or more people (or three or more groups of people) to talk over one phone call. Put simply, a conference phone can answer several calls at once, and bridge them together into one call – making it possible to chat to multiple people with multiple phones.

You can initiate a conference call in one of two ways. The first, known as ‘MeetMe’ conferencing, involves sending participants a link or a code – generated by your conference phone software – that they can click on or enter into their phone to join the call themselves. The second, known as ‘ad hoc’ conferencing, simply involves dialling all your participants’ phone numbers from your conference phone (or conference phone software) to get them involved.

Pairing a device, such as a smartphone or headset, to your conference phone – whether via bluetooth or USB – lets you take part in conference calls privately and with more mobility, using your paired device to listen and talk instead of the conference phone itself.


What’s the best bluetooth conference speaker?

That really depends on what you’ll be using it for. All the conference phones on this page come with bluetooth connectivity – the one that’s right for you will depend on the size of the conferences you’ll be using it to run, as well as the level of audio quality you’re looking for, how portable it needs to be, the level of functionality and compatibility it comes with, and – of course – how much you’re looking to pay for it. You can explore all these factors in this article.

That said, when we’re talking about speakers in particular, the two models that spring to mind are the Jabra Speak 710 and the Konftel Ego. These devices are primarily conference phones, but they also double up as speakers that can stream music and other media when you’re not using them to make or join calls.


What's the difference between a VoIP and an analog conference phone?

VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol, and it’s a technology that lets you make and take your phone calls over the internet. In comparison, analog phone systems use the traditional network of phone line wiring. The core difference between these two devices, then, is that VoIP conference phones make calls via the internet, whereas analog conference phones make calls the traditional way.

Moreover, VoIP conference phones come with a variety of benefits that make them better than their analog counterparts. VoIP calls are much cheaper, for a start. VoIP conference phones are also more portable, because their software (the brains behind the physical phone’s brawn) is hosted in the cloud, and they’re not reliant on phone line connectivity. 

The best hosted VoIP systems also tend to boast features that traditional systems just don’t, like call analytics and cross-platform integration. In case you hadn’t guessed based on our waxing lyrical on the subject, all the conference phones listed on this page are VoIP compatible.

Of course, we don’t exactly need to convince you – in 2021, VoIP is less of a choice and more of a compulsory tool, especially now that the government’s national broadband network (NBN) has been completely rolled out across Australia. Next up are plans to replace the country’s old phone line wiring with full fibre to the premises (FTTP) by 2023 – at which point, you won’t get far without VoIP.


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Julia Watts Content Manager

Specializing in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.

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