Jabra's plug-and-play speakerphone effortlessly turns laptops, tablets and smartphones into fully-fledged conferencing devices. Small businesses could get away with a cheaper, more portable, alternative, but for large meetings this is an easy-to-use performer.
Good audio quality, simple setup, wireless support, compatible with a range of operating systems and communication software
Expensive, some static noise, can't connect to older desk phones
Microphone range: 5 metres
Speakers: 2 x 2in
Cables: USB-A, 3.5mm audio, AC power
Ports: USB 2.0
Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth 4.1
Compatible with: Windows, OS X, iOS, Android
The Jabra Speak 810 loosely resembles a Beats Pill spliced with a Tupperware container, but is actually one of the most modern and forward-thinking teleconference systems around.
Jabra's elongated speakerphone is all about interfacing with smart devices and laptops, rather than acting as a phone per se. The thinking is that anyone who uses a smartphone, tablet or Skype-equipped notebook for work can simply take it into the conference room and plug it into the Speak 810 with no fiddling around.
It's a fascinating idea, and there are no doubt many IT managers who'd prefer this simple do-it-yourself approach over having to install, manage and troubleshoot a traditional conference phone. So we've been testing the Speak 810 to see how well it actually works.
The Speak 810 is intended for larger meeting rooms and is several times bigger than the palm-sized Speak 410 and Speak 510. It measures 360x180x39.5mm and weighs 965g so, while it's not too much of a bother to carry around, it is definitely most at home on a desk, particularly since it's exclusively AC-powered.
Inside are six directional ZoomTalk microphones, so named because they effectively home in on users' voices to avoid picking up background noise, plus dual 2in high-performance speakers. These are housed in a moderately sleek, all-black plastic case, with capacitive touch controls instead of conventional buttons and a classy glass-effect finish around the rim.
The underside features large foam pads that prevent the speakerphone sliding around on smooth tables, as well as loops for the integrated USB-A and 3.5mm cables. These are, along with Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC capability, what gives the Speak 810 its extensive connectivity. The USB cable allows it to easily plug into a laptop, while the 3.5mm jack enables Android and iOS devices to hook up as well.
Speaking of which, one clever addition is a USB Charge Out port on the front side so that a smartphone or tablet can remain charged while it's connected to the speaker, removing the risk of a call being cut short because it used the last of the device's battery. It would have been even better if Jabra had included a USB-to-microUSB cable in the box, though.
The focus on connecting to USB and smart devices does mean that older tech gets left behind. There's no Ethernet compatibility, for instance, so while we have some old-ish Avaya IP phones around the V3 office, we couldn't boost their conferencing capabilities by plugging them into the Speak 810.
Next: Setup, performance and conclusions