BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR
I work for a small company and as a small business, we try to conduct our conference calls the best we can — on our laptops. Thus, we often struggle with the quality of voice calls and as a result, our business meetings suffer. In our company’s case, we use a variety of conference calling solutions based on who we’re meeting with, including WebEx, Zoom, UberConference, Microsoft Teams and Amazon Chime — and also GoToMeeting and the like.
We also call each other directly when meetings are between smaller groups. It’s comical because, typically, we huddle around one person’s laptop, which is unfortunate for the person we’re calling because they can’t hear people who are sitting a few feet away from the hosts’ laptop. Thankfully, this is why Poly has conference calling phones that make everyone’s phone collaboration easy and so headache-free.
Poly’s Trio line of conference phones brings a robust variety of features, capabilities and options for businesses and conference rooms of all sizes. Today we’ll take a look at the Trio 8300 conference phone, which is intended to be a smart conferencing solution for small meeting rooms.
Features and Overview
The Poly Trio 8300 is the least expensive Poly conference calling solution aimed at small meeting spaces or huddle rooms aimed at calls with 2-5 people. The conference phone features noise-blocking technology, adeptly called NoiseBlock, Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with video conferencing solutions including Zoom, Skype for Business, WebEx and more.
Let’s peek at the Trio 8300’s features:
- Three microphones designed to pick up voices up to 12’ away
- NoiseBlock noise-canceling capability
- WiFi connectivity for cord-free collaboration
- A useful on-screen display for call management
- Color LED lights that indicate call and mute status
- Support for up to three phone lines
- Full call management including call forwarding, waiting, do-not-disturb and more
- Dimensions of 13.3” x 14.1” x 3.5”
Opening the Box
The Poly Trio 8300 is an attractive UFO-looking device that is designed to fit nicely in your huddle or conference room’s desk setup. As expected, it’s 3-star shape is designed in a way to pick up voices, as this is a conference-calling phone.
In the box, you’ll find the Trio unit itself along with a power adapter and an ethernet cord. Simply remove the plastic and attach the physical cords, and your Trio 8300 will boot up, assume an IP address on your local network, and you’re ready for provisioning and set up.
Setup on SkySwitch
Once I had the Poly Trio 8300 unboxed and on the network, the conference phone boots up for the initial set up.
Setting up on SkySwitch’s network is easy — simply find your device’s MAC address on the onscreen menus and migrate to the management dashboard to add the Trio to your organization’s account. If the Trio 8300, or any Poly device is ordered via the SkySwitch Store, it comes auto-provisioned. Zero-touch provisioning is clearly the way to go, but as this 8300 came direct from Poly, I set it up.
In just a few minutes, I simply navigated to the Admin settings, then Network Configuration, then Provisioning Server, changed the Server Type to HTTP and set the server address to http://sipcfg.io/cfg —- then, the Poly Trio 8300 power cycled itself and the phone came back ready to use!
One last step I had, after the reboot, was enabling Wi-Fi on the Trio 8300 according to the setup in our conference room. To accomplish this, I followed Poly’s instructions. Note: you’ll need to know your organization’s Wi-Fi Network type, SSID and passcode. For example, our network is WPA2-PSK – I had to set that preference in our Trio 8300’s menu.
Performance and Real-World Usage
I’ve placed calls on the Trio 8300 in our conference room, which is sized appropriately for the unit. We have a conference room with brick on one side and a small amount of background noise (because the room isn’t totally noise-isolated), so it’s a good testing place for this conference calling phone.
In a word, the Trio 8300 has performed marvelously. It is so nice to be able to have a conference call with as many as 5 people, and for all of us to be fully audible to our callers. With a laptop-based phone call, we’re asked 10-20% of the time to repeat ourselves and we have trouble hearing the other party.
I tested the range of the Trio 8300 by stepping around 10 feet away from the unit and asked callers how I sounded. They reported that I, of course, wasn’t as audible as I was when I was 2-4 feet away, but they could hear every word.
Also, Wi-Fi performance has been strong on the Trio 8300. With this unit on our office’s Wi-Fi, we have had no dropouts, garbled audio or performance issues at all. In fact, performance is so fantastic that it’s not noticeable at all that this unit is using a wireless, not a hard-wired, connection.
The Poly Trio 8300 is an effective and affordable conference calling phone/solution for your small business that’s aimed to keep small teams in close connection. It performs very well, even in a wireless-network based environment.