The Jabra Speak 510 is a compact, portable speakerphone designed to make setting up conference calls more painless. Similarly to Jabra’s range of business headsets it is available in MS and UC variants and is also available with or without a USB Bluetooth Adaptor (as my PC doesn’t have Bluetooth and we use Microsoft Skype for Business, the model we tested for this review was the Jabra Speak 510+ MS).
We have occasion for conference calls on a semi-regular basis and have trialled various conference units and software over the years to varying degrees of success. So we were keen to find out if the Speak 510 proved a feasible alternative to larger and more expensive options and lived up to Jabra’s claims of painless set-up and great sound quality.
The unit itself is strikingly compact measuring in with a 12cm diameter, and comes with a soft pouch to store it when not in use or being transported (and even includes a Velcro section for the Jabra Link +360). The surface of the Speak 510+ consists largely of the speaker with an in-built omni-directional microphone for 360 coverage that should allow everyone at table to hear and be heard clearly.
Surrounding the speaker are touch sensitive buttons for call control: answer/end call, increase/decrease volume, mute, Bluetooth, and battery status. There is a 3.5mm headset socket in the side should you wish to take or continue a call in private. And the USB cable
This was the first important hurdle for the Jabra Speak 510 to pass, and it took it in its stride. Having tested and used Jabra’s business headsets for many years I would’ve been surprised if there had been any issues with this. Even for the biggest technophobe in your office I really can’t see this speakerphone causing any problems:
We tried setting up the speakerphone via USB first and it couldn't have been more straightforward. The drivers installed automatically as soon as I connected the Speak 510 to my PC and it was ready to use within seconds. As soon as I opened Skype there was a message registered that a new audio device has been detected and prompted me to select whether or not to use it.
Although I didn’t experience this problem, depending on what software you’re using you the Speak 510 might not appear automatically. If this does happen then you will need to go into the “Audio” settings and select it. Alternatively, you could download the Jabra Suite Audio software (available for PC and Mac) to help set up and manage the device.
Depending on the variant of the Jabra Speak 510 Series it may come with a Jabra Link 360 Bluetooth USB adaptor (pictured below) so you can connect it to an older PC or laptop that doesn’t have Bluetooth. As soon as the dongle was plugged in and the Speak 510 was switched on they paired automatically and again I was prompted on Skype to use it.
To connect via Bluetooth without the link 360 dongle you need to make sure that Bluetooth is switched on and your device is visible. Hold down the Bluetooth icon on the Speak 510 for two seconds and voice prompts will guide you through what to do. I tested on an iPhone 5S and LG G4 without any issues.
Now on to sound quality – certainly one of if not the most important quality that I was going to be judging the Speak 510 on. For such a small unit I was interested to find out how it would perform compared to some of the larger conference units we've used in the past.
The clarity of calls exceeded our best expectations
The clarity of calls when connected via USB exceeded our best expectations, and was incredibly for a speakerphone of such compact proportions. I tested the Speak 510 with three others and the omni-directional mic picked them up clearly despite the obstacles of having it in a cluster of desks. On that basis the Jabra Speak 510 is a winner for me, and would gladly use it for small to medium sized conference calls (no more than 4 or 5 people).
The USB cable is only 75cm long so there may be times when it would be more convenient to connect via Bluetooth so you can use the Speak 510 wirelessly. There was a discernible difference between the sound quality on calls via USB and via Bluetooth on Skype, which uses Wideband as the Jabra connects via Narrowband when paired using Bluetooth. I was still impressed with sound quality when using the unit wirelessly and the unit is A2DP enabled so you can stream music in exceptional quality if you want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker.
The Jabra Speak 510 is an excellent product especially for the price and could save a lot of time, hassle, and money for anyone who needs to make regular conference calls. Set-up is as easy as Jabra claim, which is one of the major drawbacks to other conference units and the sound quality exceeded our expectations.
- What we liked: For ease-of-use alone the Jabra Speak 510 has to be one of the best options for any business who's looking for an affordable conference unit, and the sound quality makes this exceptional value for money.
- What we disliked: The call quality over Bluetooth doesn't match the clarity of the USB connection.
Overall, we were very impressed – so much so that we’ll be using the Speak 510 ourselves from now on!