We’re back, with another hardware review! Up for today is our newest acquisition (and already our favorite conferencing tool): the Jabra SPEAK 410-USB speakerphone.

The Jabra SPEAK 410-MS.  Photo courtesy of Jabra.com.The Jabra SPEAK 410-MS. Photo courtesy of Jabra.com.

There are two variants of the SPEAK: The 410 and the 410-MS. The 410-MS is optimized for use with Lync 2010, and that’s what I’ll be reviewing.

The SPEAK is basically a big conference speaker, with call controls built into its surface and a USB connection. The call controls are similar to Jabra’s headsets (clockwise from left side):

  • Volume Down (-)
  • Mute
  • Volume Up (+)
  • Hang Up (Red Phone)
  • Make Call (Green Phone)

Uses for the SPEAK: Calls on Speaker, Conferencing

I like Jabra’s definition – that of a “portable conference room.” Use it to make one-on-one or conference calls through Lync. No need for a headset; just talk.

(You can plug a headset into the SPEAK’s microphone port though. If you REALLY want to.)

To test the voice clarity, I ran 3 tests.

  1. Make a call from one Lync user (myself) to another
  2. Add a third contact to the call
  3. Make a call from a Lync user (me!) to a non-VoIP phone (cellphone)

Tests #1 and #3 were pretty much identical. Neither I nor my co-worker had any trouble with call disruption or hearing each other clearly.

Test #2 revealed one potential concern for conferences – volume consistency. The third person was not in the same room, and told us she couldn’t hear us well. We couldn’t hear her too well either.

Both of us raised volume to handle this (we tapped the SPEAK’s Volume Up almost to max). That helped a lot. But it gives a caveat for Lync conferences with the SPEAK: Turn up the volume on BOTH sides if someone’s having trouble hearing.

How to Start Using the Jabra SPEAK in Conferences

Setup? Just plug it in. That’s all you have to do.

I’m on Windows 7. Windows installed the SPEAK 410, Lync auto-recognized it and set it as primary device for calls. It shows up as “Speaker Phone: USB Audio Device.”

To start a call, tap on the green phone and select a number. Or start calls like you normally do in Lync; either way you’ll have it on speaker. The SPEAK’s call controls are touch-based like a smartphone screen, so they’re very sensitive. Don’t mash down!

(I accidentally started two calls, just while picking it up and putting it back down!)

Final Verdict: Excellent Conferencing Solution

The Jabra SPEAK 410 is another excellent product for communicating through Lync Server. We had a PolyCom phone in our conferencing room for making conference calls via OCS. Now that we have the SPEAK, we replaced the phone.

MSRP for the Jabra SPEAK 410 is $159. It’s available through any of these Jabra Distributors & Resellers.

 

Have you used the SPEAK 410? Which do you prefer, headset or speakerphone?

 

Jabra SPEAK 410 Speakerphone: Instant Lync Conference Call (Review)
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