Bluetooth audio system are often made for listening to music with, however you can even use them as hands-free speakerphones for calls when linked to your smartphone or pc. Interestingly, the wi-fi speaker I’m reviewing right here works fairly in another way to mainstream choices, in that it is 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 telephone calls or Internet-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 arms off your keyboard. It’s meant for use for work calls, whether or not you are at residence or on the workplace, and works equally nicely with a smartphone or pc. Is this attention-grabbing wi-fi speaker definitely worth the worth? Find 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 complicated look. The spherical physique has a flat, grippy base, with a narrower part simply above that you should 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 Type-C port for charging are on the again.
Some 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 can go away the Beyerdynamic Phonum on standby and take calls with it as they arrive, or flip it on whenever you want it.
Using 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 also can join it to a pc utilizing the included USB Type-C to Type-A cable, which units up a wired connection between the 2 and likewise costs the battery of the Phonum.
The Beyerdynamic Phonum makes use of the corporate’s Gecko microphone expertise, which has three modes of voice monitoring and may detect voices coming from any course across the speaker. You can cycle via the modes when in use, and select the one which fits the aim greatest. Fix mode tracks a single speaker in a set location; Follow 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, automated echo and noise cancellation for the microphone, and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. There is a 2,600mAh battery within the Beyerdynamic Phonum, which ran for round 9 hours when taking part in audio constantly. When used as a speakerphone system, I used to be capable of get round 16-17 hours of battery life in complete, switching between standby mode, taking some telephone calls, and infrequently taking part in music.
Beyerdynamic Phonum efficiency
Unlike a lot of the wi-fi audio system I’ve reviewed, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is firmly targeted on the expertise with voice calls. While I did use this speaker for infrequent music listening, I largely had it linked to my iPhone and on standby throughout the work day, inserting and receiving telephone calls as and when wanted. I additionally used it with my MacBook Air for Zoom convention calls on just a few 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. Furthermore, connectivity was secure so long as the telephone remained inside round 3m of the speaker.
I discovered it significantly simple 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 select up with out interrupting my workflow at my residence workplace desk. Adjusting the amount was additionally simple, though I did not usually want to do that in a quiet room, and solely bumped it up if I additionally needed another person within the room to listen to what was being stated.
The Gecko microphone system is each bit nearly as good because it sounds, and was capable of choose up my voice exactly from inside round 60cm from the speaker. Environmental noise cancellation and echo cancellation additionally labored nicely to make sure that my voice was picked up clearly. While callers reported that it did sound as if I used to be talking on a hands-free gadget as a result of 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 folks face when utilizing hands-free gadgets.
Music is not the perfect 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 may work for some vocal-centric tracks, however on the whole, the Phonum is greatest prevented for music listening.
Wired connectivity naturally sounded rather a lot higher than Bluetooth on the Beyerdynamic Phonum, providing a extra secure and clear sound expertise than merely utilizing my laptop computer’s personal audio system. When plugged into my MacBook Air, the Phonum was detected mechanically, and MacOS provided two equaliser modes via 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.
Increased dependence on working from residence has made for some attention-grabbing improvements within the gadget house, and the Beyerdynamic Phonum is one such gadget. It’s pitched as a speakerphone for calls, and does that very nicely 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.
Although 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; follow its core performance and you will rapidly develop keen on it, as I’ve.