Desk Phones Are Better Than Smartphones at One Very Important Thing

Desk Phones Are Better Than Smartphones at One Very Important Thing

This is an important point to make so we’re cutting to the chase: your desk phone offers far better voice quality than your smartphone, and when it comes to representing your business, that matters.

People have been predicting the end of the desk phone ever since mobile phones made it possible to do business, well, mobile. And it’s certainly true that your smartphone has a lot of great things going for it—making calls and accessing the Internet from anywhere makes a lot of things possible. But the one thing your smartphone doesn’t have going for it is high definition voice, also called HD voice. Lots of desk phones do have HD voice, and we’d say it’s their best feature. Anyone who promises you all the best features of a desk phone on your smartphone is distorting the truth.

We hear about great new smartphone features all the time. But when was the last time a smartphone was sold on having great quality of a voice call? We asked Primus Product Manager Christopher Millar that exact question, and this is what he told us: “The focus is on screen size, resolution, and quality. Camera resolution and lens quality. Processor speed and data storage. Recently Apple and Motorola have been advertising their speakers, but only in terms of music playback, not the speaker and microphone used for phone calls.”

Consumer Reports must have been wondering the same thing. They tested over 100 smartphones, and none scored higher than ‘good’ in voice quality, with a large number only being rated as ‘fair’. By contrast, the sound quality you get out of a desk phone is excellent.

So are smartphones so challenged in the voice department? Three big reasons.

First of all, smartphones aren’t designed to be specific to voice calls. As Millar tells us, “In fact, smartphones are being used less and less for voice and more and more for messaging, data, internet, and application functions - even games. So in order to do all of those things, they need to make trade-offs to fit everything in a small package.”

Secondly, the signals smartphones need to decipher face lots of obstacles. When you talk into a smartphone, your voice is cut up into small packets of information which travel via radio frequency signals and multiple diverse network segments to be reassembled by the phone of the person whom you’re calling. Keep in mind: those signals don’t travel an easy path. As they jump from cell tower to cell tower, they’re interrupted by buildings, trees, weather, and everything else filling the air. Signals get split up into multipath signals, which results in many copies of packets hitting your smartphone at different times. Sometimes portions of the signal need to be retransmitted. Your smartphone needs to make sense of all these packets arriving in real-time, but sometimes voice quality suffers.

There’s a third reason voice quality suffers on smartphones. A smartphone may allow you to work remotely, but ‘remotely’ can get pretty loud. Traffic, children, pets, weather—it all makes for a noisy phone call.

So why do desk phones have excellent voice quality? According to Millar, “Desk phones were specifically designed to be a desk phone. Their microphones and speakers are, on a good quality phone, designed to give the best call quality possible, (for example, the Polycom VVX series with HD voice), along with ability to connect a headset. And again, high quality headsets will have quality microphones and speakers to produce good sound and provide noise cancellation, to provide crystal clear audio quality, without extraneous and background noises.”

So here’s the bottom line: desk phones have excellent voice quality and smartphones don’t. If you want your business to make a good impression on customers, they need to be able to hear you with crystal clear quality. And that’s something you just can’t get on a smartphone.