Bluetooth audio system are often made for listening to music with, however you may also use them as hands-free speakerphones for calls when related to your smartphone or laptop. Curiously, the wi-fi speaker I am reviewing right here works fairly otherwise to mainstream choices, in that it is not centered 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 system 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 is 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 laptop. Is that this fascinating wi-fi speaker well 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 complicated 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 swap and USB Kind-C port for charging are on the again.
Among the controls – quantity, microphone on/off, Bluetooth, and microphone route mode – are seen always, whereas the decision reply or reject management and microphone route indicators illuminate solely when receiving a name and when on a name. You’ll be able to go away the Beyerdynamic Phonum on standby and take calls with it as they arrive, or flip it on once you want it.
Utilizing the Beyerdynamic Phonum is straightforward sufficient; it pairs to a supply system utilizing Bluetooth, and prompts its on-device controls when in use, relying on whether or not it is in standby or energetic. You may also join it to a pc utilizing the included USB Kind-C to Kind-A cable, which units up a wired connection between the 2 and in addition expenses 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 might detect voices coming from any route across the speaker. You’ll be able to cycle via the modes when in use, and select the one which fits the aim greatest. Repair mode tracks a single speaker in a hard and fast location; Observe mode directs the monitoring on the energetic speaker in a gaggle; 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’s a 2,600mAh battery within the Beyerdynamic Phonum, which ran for round 9 hours when enjoying audio repeatedly. 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 cellphone calls, and infrequently enjoying music.
Beyerdynamic Phonum efficiency
Not like many of the wi-fi audio system I’ve reviewed, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is firmly centered on the expertise with voice calls. Whereas I did use this speaker for infrequent music listening, I largely had it related to my iPhone and on standby in the course of the work day, inserting and receiving cellphone 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. Moreover, connectivity was secure 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 residence workplace desk. Adjusting the amount 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 capable of decide 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. Whereas callers reported that it did sound as if I used to be talking on a hands-free system 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 completely misplaced, and the sub-bass could not actually be heard. It’d work for some vocal-centric tracks, however usually, the Phonum is greatest averted 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 supplied 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.
Elevated dependence on working from residence has made for some fascinating improvements within the gadget area, and the Beyerdynamic Phonum is one such system. It is pitched as a speakerphone for calls, and does that very nicely whether or not related utilizing Bluetooth or a USB cable. It might additionally come in useful in a convention room, the place its wonderful Gecko microphone system can optimise voice pickup from any route.
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; follow its core performance and you may rapidly develop keen on it, as I’ve.