If you need a conference phone that can handle VoIP calling as well as connect to a PC softphone, the FLX UC 1000 will do the job well and has some clever features. It's not without flaws but you won't do much better at the price.
Solid and well-made
Good sound quality
Ease of use
Rubbery buttons on dialler
Requires Power over Ethernet
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Communication can be a major cost for businesses and it's no surprise that many are turning to VoIP solutions in order to keep a tighter rein on their expenditure. Add in increasing trends towards remote working and many businesses have a need for VoIP systems that can handle conference calls.
That's where Revolabs steps in with an IP and USB conference phone in the form of the FLX UC 1000. It's similar to the company's earlier FLX UC 500 but where that was USB only, the 1000 also allows direct connection to a network for use with IP-enabled PABX systems.
What you get is a two-part unit, one box housing the speakers and microphones and the other with a keypad and a display. The speaker unit has twin speakers – a mid-range and a tweeter – and four mics, one at each corner, ensuring it can pick up speech from everyone gathered around the table.
The speaker part is a chunky unit and quite heavy, whereas the dialler part is lighter but it has rubber feet to stop it from skidding around on your highly polished boardroom table. All of the cables connect underneath the speaker which keeps things looking tidy, though the Ethernet cable is a tight fit in the provided recess.
The dialler, control panel or whatever you want to call it, has a keypad and a 3.5-inch colour display, and it's connected to the speaker by a short cable. This has all the functions you need to control the device, although there are buttons on the speaker itself for answering and ending calls, adjusting the volume and muting the mics. The unit uses Power over Ethernet so you'll need an injector if you don't already have one.
For VoIP use it needs to be connected to a call manager, either in-house or hosted. USB use requires you to install a device manager program – it's then supported as an audio device on Windows and Mac devices as well as Chromebooks. It supports Skype and softphone applications including Microsoft Linc and Cisco Jabber as well as conference tools like GoToMeeting.
The FLX UC 1000 supports IP-enabled PBX systems via SIP, and also has a USB connection to support PC communication tools like Skype. In addition it can bridge between the two, allowing participants to take part in calls even if they're using different platforms. There are voicemail and forwarding options as well as an address book to store contacts and a do-not-disturb feature that gives callers a busy tone. There's a choice of six different ring tones, none of which is especially exciting but this is a business tool after all.
You also get integrated echo cancellation ensuring that background noise is filtered out and only the correct audio is transmitted. Furthermore, this is a full duplex system – in other words it doesn't cut one channel when the other is active – allowing call participants to hold more natural conversations.
Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.