Microsoft Modern USB-C Teams Headphones Review: Optimizing Conference Calls

Source: Windows Central

Microsoft is now shipping a range of “modern” accessories designed to enhance your work life, whether it’s at home or in the office. We’ve already reviewed Microsoft’s modern speakers and webcam, and now we’re reviewing Microsoft’s modern USB-C speaker designed for Teams conferencing.

The modern USB-C speakerphone is a small, portable conferencing device designed to enhance the Teams calling experience with better sound, dedicated call answering and volume controls. It’s small enough that it comes with a carry bag included, which protects it from the elements while traveling.

I’ve been using the modern USB-C speaker for the past month in several daily business meetings, testing all of its functions and capabilities as well as testing how good the microphones are. Here is my review!

Microsoft Modern Usbc Se . Speaker

Modern USB-C Speaker

minimum: Microsoft’s modern USB-C Speaker is a simple, elegant, and portable conferencing device designed for work teams, but it’s missing some add-ons like Bluetooth.

The good

  • Compact and elegant.
  • USB-C connection.
  • Dedicated teams controls.

bad

  • Very informal.
  • No bluetooth support.
  • Not battery operated.

Modern USB-C Speaker: Price and availability

Microsoft Modern Teams speaker, underside

Source: Windows Central

The Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker is available directly from Microsoft for $99, but can now be found for only $80. This is what you get:

category Microsoft Modern USB-C . Speaker
the color glossy black
Materials Fabric + silicone
Dimensions (LxWxD) 138 mm (5.43 in) x 70 mm (2.756 in) x 29 mm (1.142 in)
Weight 191 grams (0.426 lbs)
Frequency response 200Hz-20KHz for music
300 Hz – 10 kHz for conference
microphone Two omnidirectional
Loudspeaker 50mm full range driver
Length of the wire 680 mm (26.9 in)
input USB-C
Compatibility Windows 11
Windows 10
Windows 8/8.1
Mac OS X 10.15
Mac OS 11 and later
Microsoft Teams certification Pass 1.5 meters meeting room specifications
Buttons / Controls Microsoft Teams button, mute button, volume up button, volume down button, toggle hook button

Modern USB-C Speaker: What do you like

Microsoft Modern Teams speaker buttons

Source: Windows Central

Once you take the device out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice when setting it up is the compact nature of this conference speaker. It’s small enough to be able to hold a palm, and the carrying case attached to it means it’s super easy to toss in the bag to bring with you on a busy meeting day. In fact, the included carrying case is really nice. It’s sturdy, feels good, and will protect the speaker from sharp objects while on the go.

The speaker itself is well designed, featuring mesh covered fabric around the outside, complete with a rubber base and a small control panel with buttons on top. The rubber-covered bottom has a flange that houses a USB-C cable that can be unscrewed when you need to connect the speaker to your computer. When the cable is not in use, it is hidden from view. very great!

The buttons on the top feature a dedicated Quick Launch button for Teams, a button for answering incoming calls, a volume up and down button, and a mute/unmute button. The Teams and mute/unmute buttons light up when pressed, with the mute button turning red when mute is enabled. Easy to press buttons with satisfying feedback.

Now, onto the meat and potatoes. How is the sound quality? Let’s start with the listening experience, which I might call quite remarkable for its size and purpose. It features a 50mm woofer that honestly surprised me with its bass output. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t rock the world around you, but for a conference speaker, this thing does have some impact.

Usbc headphones app

Source: Windows Central

As a result, this provides a great listening experience that sounds surprisingly rich, compared to many other conference devices that often skimp on audio quality because most conference calls use a lower quality bitrate or microphone setup anyway. Given how good the speakers are, you can get away with listening to music with this thing, although I wouldn’t buy it just for that.

On the other side of the audio experience, how are the microphones? Microsoft says the modern USB-C speaker has omnidirectional speakers that pick up sound from everywhere well in the medium to large conference room settings we tested. Plus, the microphones have built-in noise reduction, which is supposed to help filter out noises like air conditioners, projectors, and other conference room devices.

The companion app allows you to tweak a couple of settings. You can configure the mute button to act as a toggle to unmute the microphone, which is good for people who prefer the “push to talk” setting. You can also turn on and off the prompt tone, which is a sound that plays when the microphone is muted and unmute.

Modern USB-C Speaker: what you don’t like

Microsoft Modern Teams Speaker Hero

Source: Windows Central

I would say there are very few downsides to this conference speaker if you are buying it for its intended use. The audio output is fine for conference calls, and while you can get away with listening to a bit of music with it, it’s not a device meant for listening to music. They will do when necessary, but you can find better dedicated devices for listening to music for less money in this range.

I’ll also note that the built-in mics sound a little worse than the built-in mics you can find in modern laptops, at least in my testing. This is likely because loudspeakers are designed to pick up sound from everywhere, in medium to large meeting rooms, so they need built-in long range microphones which are often less crowded. Not a big deal for conference calls, but if you’re hoping to record high quality audio with this device, it won’t.

In addition, unlike other amplifiers on the market, this one does not have a built-in battery, and therefore can only be used when powered via the built-in cable. Additionally, there are no wireless audio options, which means no Bluetooth support.

Finally, just as with other “modern” Microsoft peripherals, you can’t program a dedicated Teams button to launch another app if you’re not using Teams, which greatly limits the audience this product was built for. While you can use the speakerphone in other apps like Slack and Skype, the dedicated buttons for answering calls and launching Teams are exclusive to Teams.

Modern USB-C Speaker: Contest

Lenovo conference speaker

Source: Lenovo

The market is full of meeting speakers, many of which actually offer more features than the Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker. The Lenovo 700 meeting speaker, which is battery-powered and has built-in Bluetooth connectivity, is a great option for those who may not always be able to connect the speaker via a cable, even though the price of this speaker is much higher than Microsoft’s. At $150.

There’s also a slightly cheaper $130 Anker PowerConf speaker that’s also battery-powered and features Bluetooth connectivity. Compared to the Microsoft Modern USB-C Headset, which doesn’t have a built-in battery and lacks Bluetooth, but comes in cheaper at $80. In addition, Microsoft is the only one with dedicated Teams buttons.

Modern USB-C Speaker: Should you buy it?

Microsoft Modern Teams speaker case

Source: Windows Central

You should buy this if…

  • You need a modern, portable speaker for meetings.
  • You find yourself in Teams calls every day
  • You want convenience with dedicated mute and Teams buttons.

You should not buy this if…

  • You want something battery or bluetooth powered.
  • You are not using Teams.
  • You want to record high quality audio.

I would argue that Microsoft’s modern USB-C speakers are one of the most stylish and portable conference speakers you can buy right now. It is compact and well built, suitable for conferences and listening to casual music if needed.

3.5
from 5








If you find yourself in Teams meetings all day, and also working between the office and home some days, I think the Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker is a great buy because it’s designed to be portable, and easily connects to a single USB-C cable. You can use it at home or in the office, and it will work just fine.

Microsoft Modern Usbc Se . Speaker

Modern USB-C Speaker

minimum: Microsoft’s modern USB-C Speaker is a simple, elegant, and portable conferencing device designed for work teams, but it’s missing some add-ons like Bluetooth.

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