Having a new toy to play with is always fun. Today I am putting a Jabra Speak 510 together with Lync 2013 to see how things go. The “official” description of this device is:
Jabra SPEAK™ 510 - A personal Bluetooth® and USB speakerphone to call and multitask on your terms – at the office, at home, or on the go.
Getting this thing out of the box took like 5 seconds – sort of like Christmas – I just ripped it open. Minus the reams of safety warnings and other government dictated stuff, all that comes out of the box is a nice carrying case, and the unit. The cord for connecting this to your favorite computing device is neatly coiled around a provided-for-this-purpose gap around the unit’s base. The cord itself is a usable 24 inches or so long. Long enough to allow positioning the 510 somewhere other than in your face, but not so long that coiling the cord becomes an issue. A note on the one piece of documentation that was non-government-regulated: There are only four pages for any language. However, four pages pretty much covers all the instructions you need to operate this device. If you are seriously stuck, you can get the official Jabra unit documentation here. Size-wise, the Speak 510 is about the size of your hand and maybe an inch thick. For a good estimate, here is the 510 next to my laptop.
According to Jabra’s website, the intent of this device is to “turn any room into a conference room” and the 510 (in our case the 510 MS) is “Microsoft optimized and seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Lync.” Let’s find out.
It took my laptop (Windows 7 Ultimate) about 15 seconds to load up some USB software and then I was informed that it was ready to go. There is a light next to the power button, and the battery has a red LED next to it – a quick check of the documentation showed that this is as expected for the first time plugging the 510 up to your computer.
I did absolutely nothing special to use the Speak 510, it just worked properly. I did not have to setup Lync for it, nor did I have to play with any settings – other than to turn the volume down. Wowzer! this thing can fill the room with sound.
I thought the controls were intuitive to use – they are touch-sensitive and provide visual and aural feedback. For instance, increasing the volume lights up a ring of lights…more volume, more lights. Nice. Bluetooth pairing went as described in the manual…right down to having spoken instructions! Perfect for someone like me who is slightly brain dead at times. During my testing with Lync 2013 client, I never heard any squeal or feedback unless I forced audio interference. I also managed to initiate an outbound call using the unit to take my Lync off-hook and then entering a PSTN number with my computer keyboard. Nice.
Here is the unit with the volume turned up to a setting that you could hear very comfortably from across the room.
Speaking of Bluetooth, you can connect this device to your phone or your headset. I had a pairing with my iPhone in very quick order – complete to Pandora playing from my phone through the 510. Zippy.
After playing with this unit for several hours (I am easily amused) I come to the conclusion that this is a very nice piece. I could find no defects in the manufacturing and it did everything I was told it would do. The claim of “seamless” integration with Lync 2013 is completely justified. The sound quality was very good, the microphone pickup was good even from across the room, and the controls/ease of use were spot on. And it fits easily into my backpack. A great addition to my mobile office.