Whether you telecommute, travel for work frequently, work for a company with multiple locations, or just need to connect with your colleagues regularly when you’re not in the office, chances are good that you’re spending more time on conference calls these days than ever before.
If you’re doing so with your phone glued to the side of your head, though, you’re doing it wrong. A good set of headphones can make all the difference between suffering through laborious conference calls and—well, still suffering through them, but at least with a little more comfort and a lot less frustration.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a good pair of headphones for conference calls, because the criteria aren’t the same as when shopping for a good pair of headphones for music. True, you’ll still want to focus on sound quality, comfort, build quality, and reliability when it comes to conference calling, but a few other considerations become equally important.
- It should go without saying that vocal clarity is paramount, so you’ll need to make sure that your new headphones have a good microphone. Most do these days, but if the microphone is on the in-line controls of a cable, make sure it doesn’t get buried in your clothing and muffled.
- The headphone or earphone’s microphone location is another important factor to consider. The closer the mic is to your mouth, the better you’ll sound while speaking. Speaking toward the mic also helps emit a clearer sound and better listening experience.
- Which brings us to another point: no matter where your fall on the wired-vs-wireless headphone debate, when it comes to entertainment, a good pair of wireless headphones is nearly essential for teleconferencing. You never know when you might need to charge your phone, after all, and many modern mobile phones use the same port for charging and physical headphone connectivity. Of course, wireless headphones must be charged, too, so you’ll want to make sure whatever pair you pick has exceptional battery life.
Put that all together, and it makes Phiaton’s BT 390 on-ear, foldable headphones pretty much the perfect pair to take a little sting out of being tethered to your office telephonically. It features Bluetooth 4.1 wireless technology for enhanced range and improved battery life, which, combined with its Li-ion battery and optimized power management, means you’ll get up to 29 hours of talk time in between charges. A handy dedicated Call button also means you won’t need to remember some esoteric button combination to pause your music and answer an incoming call. And when the conference is done, a simple tap of the same button will resume your music or podcast right where you left off. Its padded ear and head pads offer a comfortable fit all day long and Everplay-X allows you to continue using the headphones even if the battery runs out or the audio device is not Bluetooth compatible.
Perhaps the most convenient thing about the BT 390, though—especially for frequent fliers—is its elegant fold-and-go design, with a handy hinged headband that allows you to easily squirrel it away in your backpack or carry-on.
If frequent travel isn’t in your future and you find yourself hopping from conference call to conference call unexpectedly throughout the day, you might find that a good neckband headphone is more up your alley. This innovative new design is especially convenient because it keeps your headphones right there where you need them, when you need them, connected via retractable cables to a comfy collar that can be worn all day with no discomfort.
For longer calls, the wireless BT 150 NC also offers Everplay-X via the supplied audio cable, and its power saving sensor automatically powers off the active noise cancelling when the earbuds are retracted to help prolong battery life.
BT 150 NC also has an extra ace up its sleeve in the form of CVC (Clear Voice Capture) - a Phiaton technology that combines background noise suppression with noise cancellation to ensure that everyone on the other end of the line can always hear your voice with crystal clarity.
Of course, that means you probably can’t get away with muttering under your breath about how pointless and unproductive your current conference call is anymore. But hey, that’s what snarky group text messages are for.
By Dennis Burger