Desktop, soft or mobile phone …which VoIP device is right for you?
Among the many advantages of a modern VoIP business solution is that you get a choice of devices with which to make or receive phone calls. But hard-or desktop phones have different pros & cons than soft phones. And what about mobile and smartphone options?
We find that these VoIP telephone device choices are not mutually exclusive but all generate great value in different situations and for different business applications. Here’s a rundown of your device options:
Most people are familiar & comfortable with the look, feel and use of desktop phones, and for conventional telephone needs prefer to have one at their work station.
The better IP phones come pre-configured, and are therefore incredible easy to set up for the first time: just plug them into the LAN port, wait a few seconds, and the phone connects and gives you a dial tone.
In general, voice/audio quality in desktop phones is better than on soft phones as they come with a built-in voice processor with echo cancellation and similar features.
Function buttons are easy to see and understand, always present and always in the same position. And with a little training and practice, become second-nature.
In comparison to soft phones or mobile phones, desktop phones don’t require turning on or off or battery charging, don’t go to sleep, and rarely ever crash. Build quality means they have a much longer life than a conventional headset.
Of course, the cost is somewhat higher than an equivalent softphone. And while a conventional desktop phone may not be the most mobile option, you can in fact unplug it and take it with you, maybe to work from home…all you need is internet and a LAN port to resume normal operation from anywhere.
A softphone is a program or app that you download onto your PC, laptop or mobile device. Conventionally, you will also use a hands-free headset (headphone & microphone) to make quality phone calls. These are most useful in a setting where a high volume of calls must be handled, and the users’ hands must be kept free to take notes or enter data on the computer screen, such as in a call or customer service center.
Depending on which soft phone program you use, the interface may have a similar layout to a conventional phone, but some additional features too.
Softphones can also offer better mobility as you can use them anywhere with an internet connection and access the same telephone on different laptops or devices.
Another obvious advantage is a cheaper price compared to desktop phones, but keep in mind headsets have a much shorter lifespan than desktop phones.
You may want to compare the voice quality of different solutions though, or get some expert advice first: headsets can pick up a lot of unwanted background noise (breathing, office chatter etc…). Softphones also use the same computing power with your other applications, and share LAN or Wi-Fi bandwidth, which can also affect sound quality.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make or receive calls on your regular business phone number on your mobile or smartphone when you are out and about?
One simple solution for inbound calls is to simply forward incoming calls to your landline number to your mobile phone…the simplicity and flexibility of a modern VoIP system makes this super-easy.
Another solution, which is becoming increasingly popular, is the use of a dedicated smartphone app, which is essentially a softphone program optimized for smartphone use. This means you may not only receive but also make calls from your smartphone using your standard business telephone number, from anywhere with an internet connection.
In many countries, including Thailand, sales reps and agents in the field still prefer a SIM-based mobile number to communicate with their customers and contacts, as opposed to a landline number with an extension. However, using a separate mobile number outside of the VoIP system means the many value-creating benefits of VoIP cannot be exploited (cheaper call rates, central control, etc…).
The good news is: VoIP-connected SIM card & mobile numbers are now becoming available from reputable solutions providers, for a complete and well-rounded VoIP device coverage for any imaginable business telephony situation.
Regarding the best VoIP device, there is no right or wrong, better or worse. Each option, whether desktop phone, softphone, smartphone app or VoIP-integrated SIM card, works well in different situations or different applications.
Often, they are complimentary, and many organizations use a combination to great effect. Your trusted VoIP solutions provider should be able to offer all of these options and help you understand them, as well as plan for getting the most value of the VoIP telephony system.