July 24, 2014
By Danny Hayasaka
When it comes to Speakerphones for mobile devices, there are a variety of options available. I personally have used Jabra, Plantronics, Logitech and recently Sennheiser’s speakerphone solutions for mobile devices.
Why would you need speakerphone for mobile? Better audio quality. Like most folks, all contacts are stored on my mobile phone. It’s easier and more convenient to just call from mobile device for ad-hoc conf call. The issue is the audio quality of the speakers and mic from most mobile devices is poor. If you have two or more folks who need to participate in call, it’s a good idea to have speakerphone that can enhance the audio quality.
To keep this blog short, I’ll concentrate on just the smaller speakerphones by Plantronics, Jabra, Logitech and Sennheiser that are great for two to four people. Polycom, Konftel and ClearOne also provide solutions for mobile devices.
Plantronics, Jabra and Logitech provide Bluetooth connectivity to mobile device where Sennheiser offers 3.5mm plug audio cable connection. Logitech also supports NFC (Near Field Communications).
This unit offers dual connectivity to PC (via USB dongle) and Mobile device (via Bluetooth). It is a rechargeable wireless device with up to 7hrs of Talk Time with up to 5 days of standby time and includes neoprene carry case. I do have a concern with this unit. You have USB cable and AC Wall Charger option however those items don’t fit in carry case. They do offer a little slot on the underside of unit to slide USB dongle into for storage.
The Jabra Speak 510 and 510+ models both offer dual connectivity PC (via USB dongle) and Mobile device (via Bluetooth). They are also rechargeable and wireless with up to 15hrs of Talk Time. Both the 510 and 510+ include a hardwired USB cable that conveniently wraps around base for storage and portability. The 510+ includes a USB dongle for wireless connectivity to PC and neoprene storage case.
This unit has some cool features that some may appreciate. In addition to Bluetooth, the Logitech P710e also supports NFC (Near Field Communication). You must be connected via USB cable to use with PC but that’s ok as it also has nice USB cable management system on the underside. It does include rechargeable battery and provides up to 15hrs of Talk Time. The P710e has unique feature none of the other speakerphones offer which is a device stand for your mobile phone or tablet. At first, most will wonder, “Why?” I have a couple reasons: 1. Stability when doing video call with smart phone or tablet. 2. Great stand when watching movies via mobile device. Also includes neoprene carry case.
The Sennheiser SP Series are the latest additions to the personal/small group speakerphone space. Please note currently neither SP 10 or SP 20 models support Bluetooth or NFC. Only the the SP 20/20 ML variants offer mobile device connectivity via 3.5mm plug. Both SP 10 and SP 20 models connect to PC via USB. The SP 20 offers USB and 3.5mm audio cable management around the base of unit for easy storage. Also includes a neoprene carry case. It also has rechargeable battery for wireless use with mobile device and provides up to 20hrs of Talk Time.
But which sounds the better?
Based on my own personal testing, I’m going to rank them in order of best to okay as none were horrible when it came to audio quality, it’s just some stood out. Additionally, I’m ranking in terms of both speakerphone audio quality during call as well as streaming media audio quality.
Ranking for Audio Quality via Call
- Jabra Speak 510/510+
- Sennheiser SP 10/SP 20
- Plantronics Calisto 620
- Logitech P710e
Ranking for Audio Quality for Streaming Media
- Sennheiser SP 20 (Hands down, no contest. Sennheiser SP 20 has sound-enhancement profile that makes streaming music sound awesome)
- Plantronics 620
- Jabra Speak 510/510+
- Logitech P710e
Again, these are just my rankings based on personal use with Microsoft Lync, iPhone and iPad.