Bluetooth audio system are often made for listening to music with, however you may also 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 in another way to mainstream choices, in that it’s not targeted on the music listening expertise in any respect. The Beyerdynamic Phonum is a wi-fi speakerphone made particularly for voice communications – whether or not cellphone 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 assessment.
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 delicate and complex look. The spherical physique has a flat, grippy base, with a narrower part simply above that you need to 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 course mode – are seen always, whereas the decision reply or reject management and microphone course indicators illuminate solely when receiving a name and when on a name. You may depart the Beyerdynamic Phonum on standby and take calls with it as they arrive, or flip it on if you want it.
Utilizing the Beyerdynamic Phonum is simple 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 energetic. You can even 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 in addition fees the battery of the Phonum.
The Beyerdynamic Phonum makes use of the corporate’s Gecko microphone know-how, which has three modes of voice monitoring and may detect voices coming from any course across the speaker. You may cycle by way of the modes when in use, and select the one which fits the aim greatest. Repair mode tracks a single speaker in a set location; Comply with mode directs the monitoring on the energetic 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, computerized 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 repeatedly. When used as a speakerphone system, I used to be in a position to get round 16-17 hours of battery life in complete, switching between standby mode, taking some cellphone calls, and sometimes taking part in music.
Beyerdynamic Phonum efficiency
Not like many of the wi-fi audio system I’ve reviewed, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is firmly targeted 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 cellphone 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 cellphone 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 rapidly faucet the decision reply button on the Beyerdynamic Phonum to choose up with out interrupting my workflow at my dwelling workplace desk. Adjusting the quantity was additionally straightforward, though I did not usually want to do that in a quiet room, and solely bumped it up if I additionally wished another person within the room to listen to what was being mentioned.
The Gecko microphone system is each bit nearly as good because it sounds, and was in a position to decide 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 because of the notion of distance between the individual talking and the microphone, my voice was nonetheless clear. Calls weren’t affected by the everyday 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 fully misplaced, and the sub-bass could not actually be heard. It’d work for some vocal-centric tracks, however typically, the Phonum is greatest 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 robotically, 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 inexpensive push.
Elevated dependence on working from dwelling has made for some attention-grabbing improvements within the gadget area, 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 wonderful Gecko microphone system can optimise voice pickup from any course.
Though costly at round Rs. 25,000, this speakerphone places Beyerdynamic’s experience to good use. It does not sound too good with music, however that basically is not what the Phonum is made for; persist with its core performance and you may rapidly develop keen on it, as I’ve.