Bluetooth audio system are normally made for listening to music with, however you too can use them as hands-free speakerphones for calls when linked to your smartphone or laptop. Curiously, the wi-fi speaker I am reviewing right here works fairly otherwise to mainstream choices, in that it’s not centered on the music listening expertise in any respect. The Beyerdynamic Phonum is a wi-fi speakerphone made particularly for voice communications – whether or not telephone calls or Web-based audio and video conferencing – and connects to a supply gadget utilizing both Bluetooth or a wired USB connection.
Priced at round Rs. 25,000 in India, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is an costly however purpose-built speaker designed to allow you to take calls with out taking your fingers off your keyboard. It is meant for use for work calls, whether or not you are at dwelling or on the workplace, and works equally properly with a smartphone or laptop. Is that this attention-grabbing wi-fi speaker definitely worth the value? Discover out on this overview.
Beyerdynamic Phonum design and specs
Most mainstream wi-fi audio system are designed with portability and climate resistance in thoughts, so the Beyerdynamic Phonum stands out for its refined and complicated look. The spherical physique has a flat, grippy base, with a narrower part simply above that you should use to wrap the cable round. The grille faces upwards, though the speaker fires downwards, and the contact controls are throughout it. The bodily energy change and USB Sort-C port for charging are on the again.
A few of the controls – quantity, microphone on/off, Bluetooth, and microphone route mode – are seen always, whereas the decision reply or reject management and microphone route indicators illuminate solely when receiving a name and when on a name. You possibly can depart the Beyerdynamic Phonum on standby and take calls with it as they arrive, or flip it on whenever you want it.
Utilizing the Beyerdynamic Phonum is straightforward sufficient; it pairs to a supply gadget utilizing Bluetooth, and prompts its on-device controls when in use, relying on whether or not it is in standby or lively. It’s also possible to join it to a pc utilizing the included USB Sort-C to Sort-A cable, which units up a wired connection between the 2 and likewise costs the battery of the Phonum.
The Beyerdynamic Phonum makes use of the corporate’s Gecko microphone expertise, which has three modes of voice monitoring and might detect voices coming from any route across the speaker. You possibly can cycle by way of the modes when in use, and select the one which fits the aim finest. Repair mode tracks a single speaker in a hard and fast location; Observe mode directs the monitoring on the lively speaker in a bunch; and 360 mode picks up voices from all instructions.
The speaker has a 2-inch down-firing driver, a frequency response vary of 120-10,000Hz, automated echo and noise cancellation for the microphone, and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. There’s a 2,600mAh battery within the Beyerdynamic Phonum, which ran for round 9 hours when taking part in audio constantly. When used as a speakerphone system, I used to be in a position to get round 16-17 hours of battery life in whole, switching between standby mode, taking some telephone calls, and sometimes taking part in music.
Beyerdynamic Phonum efficiency
In contrast to a lot of the wi-fi audio system I’ve reviewed, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is firmly centered on the expertise with voice calls. Whereas I did use this speaker for infrequent music listening, I largely had it linked to my iPhone and on standby throughout the work day, putting and receiving telephone calls as and when wanted. I additionally used it with my MacBook Air for Zoom convention calls on a number of events.
The tuning of the Beyerdynamic Phonum is, expectedly, suited to voice. Output was sharp and exact, and the voices have been loud and distinct sufficient to be clearly heard from as much as 3m away in a quiet room. Moreover, connectivity was steady so long as the telephone remained inside round 3m of the speaker.
I discovered it significantly straightforward to make use of the controls; I might look at my smartphone to see who was calling, and shortly faucet the decision reply button on the Beyerdynamic Phonum to select up with out interrupting my workflow at my dwelling workplace desk. Adjusting the amount was additionally straightforward, though I did not usually want to do that in a quiet room, and solely bumped it up if I additionally needed another person within the room to listen to what was being mentioned.
The Gecko microphone system is each bit pretty much as good because it sounds, and was in a position to choose up my voice exactly from inside round 60cm from the speaker. Environmental noise cancellation and echo cancellation additionally labored properly to make sure that my voice was picked up clearly. Whereas callers reported that it did sound as if I used to be talking on a hands-free gadget as a result of notion of distance between the particular person talking and the microphone, my voice was nonetheless clear. Calls weren’t affected by the standard readability points that individuals face when utilizing hands-free units.
Music is not the best use case for the Beyerdynamic Phonum, and as indicated by its frequency response vary and voice-focused tuning, audio tracks sounded a bit awkward on this speaker. The highs have been solely misplaced, and the sub-bass could not actually be heard. It would work for some vocal-centric tracks, however usually, the Phonum is finest averted for music listening.
Wired connectivity naturally sounded lots higher than Bluetooth on the Beyerdynamic Phonum, providing a extra steady and clear sound expertise than merely utilizing my laptop computer’s personal audio system. When plugged into my MacBook Air, the Phonum was detected routinely, and MacOS supplied two equaliser modes by way of its sound settings – Voice and Music – which labored as I anticipated to optimise the equaliser for these functions. The Voice mode gave the mids an affordable push.
Elevated dependence on working from dwelling has made for some attention-grabbing improvements within the gadget house, and the Beyerdynamic Phonum is one such gadget. It is pitched as a speakerphone for calls, and does that very properly whether or not linked utilizing Bluetooth or a USB cable. It might additionally turn out to be useful in a convention room, the place its glorious Gecko microphone system can optimise voice pickup from any route.
Though costly at round Rs. 25,000, this speakerphone places Beyerdynamic’s experience to good use. It would not sound too good with music, however that actually is not what the Phonum is made for; stick with its core performance and you will shortly develop keen on it, as I’ve.
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